Startup Blueprint – Jump-start the launch process

Sam McAfee – Startup Blueprint – How to jump-start the process of starting your own business.

If someone was going to start a business tomorrow and start exploring a product idea, the first thing that they would want to do is write it all down, okay?

So there are various tools for doing that. The most common in the lead startup community is one of the canvases, business model canvas, or the lean canvas. These canvases are basically just tools of spreading out all of your ideas on the table about the different aspects of your business:

  • What is your customer segment?
  • Who are the groups of people you’re going to try to sell this to?
  • What is the problem you’re trying to solve?

So you want to spread all that out so you can get it out of your head and look at it. You don’t need a fancy tool for this. You can use sticky notes and a Sharpie. You want to get it all out, and then you want to look at the various dynamics and relationships that are implicit in this idea. There’s going to be some exchange of value in the product. And of all the things that are on the table on here, expressing your idea, you want to try to pick out the ones of highest uncertainty.


Which are the riskiest assumptions that you’re making?

And make a list of all those assumptions. Really what you want to do is list all of your risks:

  • Does this customer segment exist?
  • Do they spend this much money on this kind of product or service?
  • Can I even build this?
  • What kind of people am I going to need to hire or partner with to actually pull this off?

All of those different assumptions should be listed in order of highest to lowest. And then that highest risk assumption, the first thing you want to do is devise some test or experiment to validate or invalidate that hypothesis. So if it’s a market segment, you might want to create some landing page, ads according to a landing page, proposing a service that is yet to come, or maybe a survey, having people go to it, and see how much traffic you get. There’s lot of other techniques in all of the books on how to do it. But the point really is getting your idea out of your head and writing it all down in a format that you can kind of play around with and organize, and really attacking it in terms of what are the biggest risk assumptions, and how do I systematically go through those risks and eliminate them as risks? Or are there too many risks for this to be really valuable, and how do I then rethink some of the assumptions on the board, come up a with a slightly different idea based on the feedback.