Leveraging Lean for Your Startup

This article is written by Munira Hussein, a Contributor Author at Startup Istanbul.

Jake Disraeli is a coach running accelerator programs at the university level. He creates scalable sales systems to drive growth to startups. He creates and launches his own crowdfunding campaigns.

Kyra Davis works in the government. She has invested fashion. She is the director of academic and government relations, Launchpad Central.

They were speaking at the StartupIstanbul Conference in Turkey.

Ideas are brilliant to have but often times dulled by wrong execution methods. You might have ideas that you think are viable only to find out they will never be. With all this confusion on what idea to run with, you need strategies on how to leverage your ideas.

Carry out a market research, listen to customers and what they want. Don’t marry your idea. Most times, the initial idea ends up being totally different from what will work in the market. Marry the process of listening, adapting and changing your idea based on the market needs. Assess the viability of your idea.

Changing Rules of Innovation

Business plans replaced by business model canvas. The canvas depicts how a business is created, how it delivers and how it captures value.  It is not static, it adapts and it is flexible to the dynamics of your business. When starting up or releasing a new product, pay attention to value prepositions and customer segment. This will help track how the product is doing and how to increase value.

Customer development during product development is another rule that has been helpful in the success of most startups. It is the process of testing and validating your business model hypotheses through interactions with potential customers.

Linear execution has no advanced to pivoting, iterating, testing and validating. This means that the traditional plans and projections of your business are discarded and replaced with a more practical method of creating value.

When designing customer development experiments, focus on the following questions:

  1. Which hypotheses will you be testing? Since you can’t test every hypothesis, focus on the most important one.
  2. How will you test them? Find out which assumptions are likely to kill your business if you got them wrong.
  3. What will you measure?
  4. How will you determine success or failure?
  5. Rinse and repeat.

The other way to get leverage for your business idea is interviewing customers. Here are five best practices for conducting customer interviews:

  1. Identify your goals and important assumptions to test in advance.
  2. Ask open ended questions and five why questions.
  3. Get psyched to hear the things you don’t want to hear.
  4. Search for behaviors and patterns. Observe for body language and reactions.
  5. Never pitch. Beware of confirmation bias. Ask questions that will lead people to talk more.  

Customer interview in action

  1. What are your company killing assumptions?
  2. Who do you need to talk to test these assumptions?
  3. How will you gather information and how will you quantify success?
  4. What are the three interview questions that you will use?

These looks like a long process but taking time to get this information might save you years of time and investors’ money going in the wrong direction. Carry out an intense research, go out into the field. Leave the building, talk to your potential clients and create a valuable product that can actual impact your customers.

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