Start-ups Article 4: Validating Your Business Idea

Now that you have a business plan, you will need to validate your business idea with real life customers.  The Customer Development Model, created by Steve Blank*, can help you do this.


The model consists of four steps — customer discovery, customer validation, customer creation, and company building. Because each step is recursive, you may remain in each for any duration of time, refining and repeating the processes involved.


  1. Customer Discovery

Target potential customers and determine if the problem your product solves is important to potential buyers.

  1. Customer Validation

Develop a sales process that successfully sells your product.

  1. Customer Creation

Build on the sales accrued during customer validation and begin to put money into marketing your product.

  1. Company Building

Transition the company from an informal development team into a formal entity.


*For additional information on the Customer Development Model, consider reading The Lean Startup by Eric Ries and The Four Steps to the Epiphany by Steve Blank.