You need to have the ability to validate the companies value hypothesis – that customers find the product valuable
For start up’s the role of strategy is to help figure out the right questions to ask.
Every business plan begins with a set of assumptions, because the assumptions haven’t been proved to be true and in fact are often erroneous, the goal of a start up’s early efforts should be to test these assumptions as quickly as possible.
We assume that customers have a significant desire to use a product, acting as if these assumptions are true is classic entrepreneur superpower. They are called leaps of faith. Most take the form of an argument by analogy. The problem with analogies is that they obscure the true leap of faith.
What differentiates the success stories from the failures is that the successful entrepreneurs has the foresight, the ability, and the tools to discover which parts of their plans were working brilliantly and which were misguided, and adapt their strategies accordingly.
A start up’s earliest strategic plans are likely to be hunch – or intuition guided, and that is a good thing. To translate those instincts into data, entrepreneurs must “get out of the building” and start learning.
Start up’s need extensive contact with potential customers to understand them, so get out of your chair and get to know them! Craft a customer archetype, a brief document that seeks to humanise the proposed target customer. (Marty Cagan’s Inspired talks of something similar – Persona’s). The customer archetype can be a hypothesis. The customer profile should be considered provisional until the strategy has shown, via validated learning, that we can serve this type of customer in a sustainable way.
Getting out of the building – customers are breathing, thinking, buying individuals. Their behaviour is measurable and changeable.