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Archive | Best & Most Popular Posts by Kevin

Looking for Startup Ideas? First Pick the Market You Want to Serve

Summary: People have many ways of coming up with startup ideas. The most successful for me has been to (1) pick the market I want to serve – then (2) try to find a problem to solve. Not only has this approach made Customer Development more efficient… but serving the customers I want to help makes startup life more fun.

Primum non obturba: The Startup Mentor’s Oath

Summary: With worldwide explosion of entrepreneurship educational programs and accelerators, more and more of us are mentoring startups. In our eagerness to help, sometimes we can distract entrepreneurs from the most critical issues they need to address. Hence the Mentor’s Oath: Primum non obturba – First, don’t distract.

How a 1-Page Business Model Will – and Won’t – Help Your Lean Startup

During my Startup Help sessions with entrepreneurs worldwide I am frequently asked to review a 1-page summary of their business assumptions. Usually the team has filled out Ash Maurya’s Lean Canvas or Alexander Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas. I recommend that entrepreneurs – especially those new to Lean Startup – fill out a canvas. After 3 […]

Don’t Let the Lean Startup Process Ruin the Fun of Entrepreneurship

Summary: Yes, yes, startups are hard. Brutally hard. But one of the reasons we chose this career is because we want meaningful, enjoyable work. While the emerging entrepreneurship management science of being a Lean Startup is our best remedy against failure, process isn’t worth it if it ruins the fun. So take breaks from the process and don’t let it.

How I Make Customer Development Interviews Less Weird and More Natural

Summary: Most people expect us to give them sales pitches about our products. When we instead start asking Customer Development questions about their habits and problems, the conversation can seem really weird to them. I’ve found that framing the meeting by (1) asking for advice, (2) keeping the meeting short, (3) giving them unique industry insight, and (4) framing the background questions all make the conversation more natural.

Accelerate Your Customer Development: How to Quickly Get Dozens of Interviews

Summary: Steve Blank teaches entrepreneurs to test business assumptions by conducting dozens of interviews with prospective customers. At first it took me a huge amount of time, but over the years I’ve developed a process to make it easier. I manage a running list of interview candidates, organize my calendar with help from a virtual assistant, and have a well-crafted intro request email. I hope it saves you time as well.

How $375 and Craigslist Saved Me Months of Customer Development

Steve Blank and others advocate having lots of face-to-face interviews with potential customers. While this approach yields the best possible insight, it also takes a lot of time to get introductions and meet people, particularly for those with a day job who are working part time on their startup. I’ve used Craigslist to successfully recruit candidates with Amazon gift cards and quickly got insight into whether my initial idea had merit. In this post I explain how to do it and share a job template to help you get started.