How to Overcome the ‘Startup-Killer’

Customer Interviews

In the previous article, we have written about a curious insight from the ClimateLaunchpad Moldova digital Boot Camp regarding the main reasons why startups fail. Based on the Analysis of 101 Startup Post-mortems by CB Insights, the strongest and surest ‘startup-killer’ is the lack of market need and customer for the business idea that an entrepreneur has in his/her mind.

In response to this ‘reason of doom’ for early-stage startups, our Boot Camp trainer Israel Griol Barres have also given our participating startup teams a number of very useful and practical suggestions on how to overcome this obstacle.

ClimateLaunchpad Moldova digital Boot Camp

So, here are some pieces of advice on how to find the customer’s ‘pain’, which that your idea could address, and how to determine the market need for your product or service properly:

  • Quantify your entrepreneurial ‘dream’ in terms of what you want to achieve with your startup, why you want to do it, and what resources you need for it. This will help you in narrowing down on a concrete customer segment and market niche better. Quantified entrepreneurial ‘dream’ will also guide you in estimating the necessary cash supply and in deciding upon the necessary team capacities for your startup.
  • The entire world is NOT your customer. Segment your target market into specific niches and then try to achieve TGDIYCMN: Total Global Domination In Your Chosen Market Niche. In this niche, find the customer segment with the highest level of ‘pain’ that your idea promises to solve and focus on that particular segment. This customer segment, called ‘beachhead market’ is going to be your ‘door’ into the greater market and your possible business domination there.
  • Before immersing yourself and your team into developing your product or service, take the time to do customer research & discovery and to validate the problem-solution fit of your business idea. You may think you have the perfect solution for your target customer’s needs. However, the reality is likely to be that the customer does not need your solution, as the level of his/her ‘pain’ is not so significant and/or he/she may already be solving the problem with own means. Therefore, instead of directing all your energy, time, and efforts into building a solution that may not find its customer and market, channel some of these efforts into interviewing people from your beachhead market and learning about their behaviour with regard to the problem you aim to address. It is very likely that you would learn a lot about your business idea from these interviews.

In fact, the participants of this year’s edition of ClimateLaunchpad Moldova are now practicing that last piece of advice. Particularly, they continue benefitting from online trainings, workshops, and coaching meetings of our programme and at the same time began conducting interviews with their beachhead market customers.

Soon we will see what results and insights our startup teams would get from these interviews. We are also curious whether any team decides to pivot its business idea to a new problem / customer / market niche this month. Stay tuned to our updates regarding ClimateLaunchpad Moldova 2020!

GreenTech Rangers and Partners

GreenTech Rangers and ClimateLaunchpad Moldova are organized by MEGA and Generator Hub and supported by the GEF Small Grants Programme implemented by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).


Published by MEGA Generation

MEGA Generation is a research-training-and-consultancy organization that explores ways to practice nature conservation and sustainable development, educates both individuals and organizations about those ways, and thus empowers new generation to create eco-innovative projects, businesses, and solutions to the most pressing environmental issues in the world.

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