Feedback, Criticism & Pinches of Salt
"There is only one way to avoid criticism: Do Nothing, Say Nothing, Be Nothing." ~ Aristotle, Greek Philospher & Scientist.
After a week treading water in the deep-end; our Young Entrepreneurs gathered early on Monday morning to pull together their final Group Presentations - based on findings from their final round of Customer Development interviews held on Friday and the weekend.
2 Groups were receiving feedback for the first time for not meeting their target of 5 interviews per person on the afternoon and evening before Friday's pitch. This time groups were tasked with conducting 10 interviews per person to enable them to present, at least 50 per group.
Our Entrepreneurs learnt quickly and all groups did enough interviews to present (even if some group members did more than others). But did they add any value? The feedback loop is fundamental to the lean startup and is made of three critical activities: Building, Measuring & Learning.
Learning was evident in all four groups, with one claiming 81 out of 83 interviewees as potential users for their mobile app - making it difficult to argue against their value proposition.
Another group received mixed feedback from their diffefrent interviews but ended up holding onto a model very similar to their initial hypothetical solutions to a national problem made last week.
The third underwent a complete overhaul as they pivoted from a product-based solution to one of service and maintenence in a more commercial space. All due to interviews and focussing on customer development.
Finally, the last group was able to confirm that their problem did exist and have a potential market. And although they didn't quite manage to perfect their product in time for the presentation, they certainly learnt enough in preparation for their own business models; beginning with a two-day IDEA LAB with SynNovation on Thursday and Friday!
At the end of the day, any decisions you make on your business model are utimately exactly that, yours. What makes the difference is how you measure and learn from your feedback before building in another change to go out and test.
An idea is nothing without action. Feedback and criticism are direct results from getting out there. Embrace them, or take them with a pinch of salt.
NOTES FROM THE FIELD:
To recap and add some perspective, it is important to define a lean startup as a temporary organization designed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model.
1. Before wasting too much time planning and writing the perfect Buiness Plan, create a set of hypotheses you feel are a good enough to instigate a conversation with a potential customer, supplier, key partner or even competitor.
The less precious you are about your guesswork from the beginning, the better.
2. You are not going to learn anything inside so "Get out the building" and test if your assumptions are true. Ask them questions about your product features, pricing, distribution channels, and whether it actually solves a pain of theirs.
Listen well, and make the necessary iterations (small) or pivots (big) to your guesswork.