– slide from cofounder of WatrHub Inc. (who spoke last week to our class about market discovery)

John D. Rockefeller: “Move with shocking speed and minimum fanfare. Act with total confidence, but turn on a dime if new facts warrant… March in service of a sweeping vision, but pay obsessive attention to the details.” Rockefeller’s words are ideals to live by, both professionally and personally.

Steven Blank writes in Four Steps to the Epiphany that “startups don’t fail because they lack a product; they fail because they lack customers and a proven financial model”. A new business should focus on understanding their clients’ problems, “discovering a repeatable roadmap of how they buy, and building a financial model that results in profitability”.

However, most new businesses lack a process for discovering their markets, locating their initial customers, and validating their assumptions. The new businesses that succeed understand the customer development model, as shown below.


Understanding the pain points of the customer is crucial to any new business’s success.

When developing legal services for our customers, we should envision the workflow for our clients by answering the following questions:

  1. What does their day look like at home or in the office?
  2. When is legal advice needed?
  3. Do they require legal services only at a particular time of year or life event?
  4. What benefits does the client derive from the legal service? Some benefits may be hidden. For example, part of the reason that Nespresso took off was because of all the benefits associated with its use. Suddenly, people could make complicated drinks at a press of a button without ever having to leave their house.
  5. How will they find you?
  6. What will the client do in the absence of legal advice?

Lawyers help clients most by giving them peace of mind. Peace of mind that their problem is being taken care. Peace of mind that they are on the right side of the law.

Clients are not interested in buying time. Rather, they want to buy a certain result. It is important that we ask “what exactly does winning look like to you?”. Not every client defines a win in the same way. Part of being customer-centric is seeing the legal issue from our client’s eyes, seeing all of the emotional and intellectual aspects to the problem. Sometimes people just want to feel heard.

This is a sponsored post on behalf of University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies Certificate in Entrepreneurship program; however, the opinions provided are my own. 

Follow #StartUpEdu@HeatherSDouglas, @entrepreneurSCS on Twitter to join in on the entrepreneurship conversation.