How to start building customer centric business models with the philosophical principle of “bedrock”

2 min read

As an entrepreneur you are continuously posed with the difficult task of developing business models and go-to-market strategies. For many entrepreneurs this is a task, they feel very uncomfortable and unfamiliar with. Technical founders are experts in developing technology, but they are out of their element, when it comes to developing a sustainable business model and go-to-market strategies.

For many entrepreneurs developing a business model or a go-to-market strategy feels like having to eat an elephant. It is intimidating and they have no idea where to start.

This is where looking for philosophy can help you get off to the right start, by understanding the concept of “bedrock”.

Bedrock is the rock material you find if you keep digging into the ground with a shovel. It is the place where the shovel says “clonk” and you can’t dig any deeper. And equally important, often you must dig deep to get there.

Philosophers are often perceived to ask weird and senseless questions. They seem to try and make your head spin with weird arguments. Or they simply sit unfruitfully and think with no practical output for the value of anyone in society. But this is not what philosophers are, in fact, doing.

Philosophers seek a strong foundation for their ideas – their bedrock – and from there build solid theories on top of that foundation.

That is why philosophers ask so many questions. Philosophers are digging for bedrock through the questions they ask.

They are digging, as deep as they can. They are doing all they can to ensure, that they – or someone else for that matter – have a sustainable foundation before they start building their ideas and conclusions.

They know that otherwise all their efforts risk in the end being wasted. Any major construction build on a foundation of loose soil, is bound to fall apart when faced with a bit of shaking. That is why, in my experience, the way to overcome the daunting task of having “to eat the elephant” for any innovator, is by looking for the right bedrock.

It goes for any philosophical theory, business model, or entrepreneurial venture trying to solve a practical problem: Find your bedrock.

The right bedrock for any entrepreneur or innovator who needs a commercially sustainable business, is serving customer needs and making a profit. That is what a lot of business literature refers to as being “customer centric”. In essence it means founding your innovative product and innovative business models in the needs of the customers. And done in a manner that makes the customers willing to pay you a profitable amount of money for your products and services. That is why a bedrock, for an entrepreneur, should always be a data driven real-life problem for a potential customer. A need felt so badly, customers are willing to pay for having it fixed.

Consequently, to make a customer centric business model and strategy, you first consider all the customer data you can gather, as the bedrock, and then the customer segmentation you create from this data, as your foundation.

If you know the business model canvas, you also know, that the first thing you should fill in, is the customer segments. There is a reason for that.

Finding bedrock through strong and solid customer insights, is the entrepreneurial equivalent to hearing the shovel say “clonk”. Ensure your foundation since everything else will rest upon it. If not, you are at high risk of constructing a poor-quality business idea, which tends to be exposed the second someone asks the right questions. And the relevant investors will tend to ask those types of questions…

As an entrepreneur you are faced very early on with a difficult task. You must develop an entire business idea, including business model and commercial strategy, before you have all the data available. This is a very complex task and for most a very uncomfortable task.

In my experience the philosophical principle of “bedrock” can help with that task – by telling us where to start and why.

Think of your business model and strategy as a construction that needs a strong foundation. That foundation is a clearly defined customer, which has a deep felt need or problem.

Everything in your business model and go-to-market strategy should always refer to a bedrock of customer insights and a foundation of customer segmentation.

If you do that, I will argue, you have started creating the foundation for a customer centric business model and go-to-market strategy. I will also argue that such an approach will massively increase the likelihood of your business model being sustainable and investors finding your investment case appealing.

As I see it, that is why Einstein said: “If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask… for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.” In other words, get your bedrock right, then the rest will follow.

Kasper Linde Krogager Experienced speaker, intrapreneur, entrepreneur, and philosopher. Currently leader of innovation and new business ventures for leading health tech company.

2 Replies to “How to start building customer centric business models with…”

  1. Great article! I also believe in a customer-centric approach to helping customers solve their problems. Unfortunately, they are not always ready to pay for what they need. Sometimes, we need to give them what they want first to lead them to what they need. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Using a customer-centric approach to lay the proper bedrock for a startup is sound advice, although the implementation can be tricky in practice. Performing adequate market research can help zero in on the right questions to ask, and building a landing page or MVP can help evaluate what the market values.

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