Customer development

One particular section I found inspiring during the first week of the Balloon Kenya programme was called “Customer Development”. This section focused on the importance of collating evidence based research when developing a business idea.


We were set a task in groups, to think of a new vending machine business in Nakuru. Once we had created the idea we had to take immediate action and ask people in Nakuru what they thought of the potential business.

Initially, the concept of immediately taking a business proposal to the general public, terrified me. The prospect of imminent failure was looming and my group and I were scared of receiving any negative feedback.

In the end, the customer development task was my favourite challenge of the first week. We thought of a business idea and immediately began to ask for feedback on the idea from any locals we could find. After receiving positive comments from street workers to shop workers to even the owner of Gilani’s; we felt completely elated. Knowing that we had evidence that our idea was very strongly fixated in a market reality was a massive confidence boost. Even receiving negative criticism was very helpful; we then had the chance to change the idea to make it more successful even before committing ourselves to investing any form of capital into our business idea.

Written By Nichola McAvoy, Fellow 2013