Background Note | HBS Case Collection | November 2011 (Revised August 2012)

Customer Visits for Entrepreneurs

by Frank V. Cespedes


Provides practical guidelines for conducting customer visits to explore and validate demand for an entrepreneurial offering. Reviews conditions under which visits will yield superior insights, compared to other research methods. Describes criteria for selecting visit sites; how to plan for visits; how to conduct them most effectively; and how to debrief after visits. The note is therefore relevant to MBA, Executive Education, Field Study, or project contexts where the focus is startups, entrepreneurial management, new product development, business development, or innovation.

Keywords: Customers; Entrepreneurship;


Cespedes, Frank V. "Customer Visits for Entrepreneurs." Harvard Business School Background Note 812-098, November 2011. (Revised August 2012.)