Process – a series of actions to achieve a result
Transforming an idea into a successful businesses is a difficult process. We’re going through the process as we speak and documenting our actions as we strive to achieve product market fit.
Before starting a new business it’s important to align your personal goals with your goals for starting a business. Understand what you’re getting yourself into. Why are you starting a business and what do you hope to get out of it?
- Simply want more freedom and control of your time and money?
- A lifestyle business might be a good choice.
- Want to change the world or revolutionize an industry?
- Be ready to commit at least 5 years of giving 110% and be comfortable giving up large portions or potentially control of your company.
- Is your boss not utilizing you to your full potential? Think you can do better on your own?
- Don’t be so quick to start an agency, you’ll be happier doing consulting work.
- Where do you want to be 5 years from now? 10 years from now?
- What are your strengths? Will you be leveraging them?
- What makes you happy? Will the work you’ll be doing make you happy?
- What do you want to do? Will you be able to do it?
Once you what you’re trying to achieve with your new business you can select an idea that fits. Ideally, your new idea provides a solution to someone’s problem. Here’s a great framework for coming up with, organizing, and selecting an idea for a company:
- Quora – Dan Lewis’s answer to: Startup Ideas: What are the best ways to think of ideas for a startup?
Company/Product Name helps Target Customer Solve This Problem by The Secret SauceSee:
Who is the ideal customer for your product or service? There may be a few (which represent different customer segments) but start with one. Give them a name so you can refer to them every time you make a business or product decision. “What would customerX do in this situation?”.
Where does your target customer hang out? How are you going to reach them? Make a list of every possible user acquisition channel and select a few channels which you can use to test your hypotheses and assumptions during the validated learning stage.
So you’re ready to start building the product!? WRONG! Don’t waste your valuable time or hard earned money building anything until you’ve validated as many of your assumptions as possible. Talk to potential customers to ensure you’re on the right track before getting into product mode.
Minimum Viable Product
Your MVP is the first version of your product or service and serves a unique purpose. The MVP contains the fewest amount of features required to test validate your biggest assumptions about your product. It tests the stuff that Customer Development couldn’t and acts as a starting point for Validated Learning.
This is the feedback loop we use to iterate on our product. Build refers to making changes to the product, pricing, positioning etc. We will use tools like Google Analytics, A/B Testing and Surveys/Questionares to measure the impact our changes are making in a structured way. What we learn from each iteration will steer the project towards our goal of Product Market Fit.
Product Market Fit
Check out the Product Market Fit Checkpoints by Brian Balfour to know when you’ve reached PMF.
Automate & Delegate