Welcome to the fourth article of our Entrepreneurial Wednesdays series. In this series, I share my thoughts on lean entrepreneurship as I take my first steps in my journey. I will be sharing my lessons learned with you.
This time, I want to make sure, that you know the answers to some of the most important questions when speaking about business. What part of your energy invested into the project is wasted? And on the other hand, what part will bring you what you need and expect from it? Let’s do this.
The core question
This question is the core of The Lean Startup and is thought by the majority to be crucial in the development of a company. By being creative, hard working and effective you want to create a value for your customer. A value that is represented by the product. That is the main goal of the project. It is not revenue. It is not being able to be stable on the market and to sell as quickly as possible. These things ARE NOT IMPORTANT at all! Because what they need is a value that your customers see in your product. And that is the platform to all of the above-mentioned information. Value is the magical element that forces consumers to buy your product and not the product of other companies. If you want revenue, you want to create value. It’s a hard task and you want your progress to be fast. When you are thinking like this, then you know that whenever you feel like you are not creating added value to your product (which you will see thanks to the feedback from the customers and validation) you are probably wasting your time. Value is the key factor to understanding and mastering innovation and on the other hand, avoid time wasting. Keep track of how your potential customers feel about the value your product brings to the market and you keep track of your progress.
Listen when market speaks
As you get deeper into the process of innovation, you start to think how and what should be innovated in order to have the maximum positive feedback on sales and satisfaction of the customers. Obviously, every single case of innovation is individual and needs a specific type of approach. In order to understand the basics of how and what, you have to set the rules for the relation between the customer and the company. What has it got to do with innovation? Clarifying how much you listen to the demands of your customers is extremely important in company’s innovative work. Ideally, you have to try very hard to establish an equal relation with the customers. You listen to them, but from time to time implement an innovation which comes entirely from the ideas inside the company. Most of the businesses simply dictate the game, without listening to their clients, which sometimes leads to the creation of products which are useless and not needed by the market.
Do not break opportunities
Furthermore, to establish equal relation you need to question your customers. Every single market or industry is different. Different types of people, different phrases, different behavior towards new products, etc. Questioning the customers is the easiest way of getting know how to act towards them. Out of the many questions listed in The Lean Startup by Eric Ries, one caught my attention at once. What can I do for today’s customers, that won’t damage my future customers? This is something I have never thought about. What starting businessman does, is trying to get the attention of the highest number of clients as possible in the shortest possible time. But what if that’s not the right way? What if there is a bigger group of customers willing to invest or buy the product, but you close the door to them with your previous actions. Only to get the customers as soon as possible. You just closed the gate to new customers, growth, revenue, and progress. Exceptional entrepreneurs think forward.
With all these things on mind, you are working towards one thing. Being able to continuously handle your business. To make it stable? Yes. Without value? No. The goal of each and every experiment you do inside the project is done because you are searching for sustainability. Stable numbers are a good sign. But not for long. Many startups fail because they were able to make their numbers stable, but couldn’t make them go up after time. Making them stable is different then balancing them. Stability is a sign which says that you are on the right track but DO NOT PAUSE THERE. Keep moving, innovating, experimenting and validating towards the ideal image of the product.