Test your Idea

To validate business ideas you need to perform many small experiments. At the centre of any one of these experiments should be a deep understanding of the most critical hypotheses and why you are testing them.

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In the world of Lean Startup, the Build, Measure, Learn cycle is a means to an end to test the attractiveness of business ideas. Unfortunately, some innovators and entrepreneurs take the “Build” step too literally and immediately start building prototypes.

Step 0 — Think

Shape your idea (product, tech, market opportunity, etc.) into an attractive customer value proposition and prototype a potential profitable and scalable business model. Use the Value Proposition & Business Model Canvas to do this. Then ask: What are the critical assumptions and hypotheses that need to be true for this to work.

Define assumptions as to:

·         desirability — market risk: will customers want it?

·         feasibility — tech & implementation risk: can I build/execute it?

·         viability — financial risk: can I earn more money from it than it will cost me to build?

Step 1 — Build

In this step you design and build the experiments that are best suited to test your assumptions?

Step 2 — Measure

In this step you actually perform the experiments. That might be through interviews and talking to a series of customers and stakeholders; by launching a landing page to see if people click on, sign up for, or even buy your (non existing because it’s not yet implemented) value proposition.

Step 3 — Learn

In this step you analyze the data and gain insights. You systematically connect the evidence and data from experiments back to the initial hypotheses, how you tested them, and what you learned. This is where you identify if your initial hypotheses were right, wrong, or still unclear. You might learn that you have to reshape your idea, to pivot, to create new hypotheses, to continue testing, or you might prove with evidence that your idea has legs and you’re on the right rack.

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