No business plan survives first contact with customers, so get out!
By Karen Hilhorst on 15 November 2012
Gyro Gearloose gets it and gets out!
(source: Twents Techniek Museum Heim)
According to Roel Raatgever, Director of UtrechtInc, we must go outside instead of sitting behind our desks writing our innovative business plans. During his workshop on ‘Business Modelling and the Lean Method’ at the Utrecht Innovation Day on October 31st he presented the participants a new perspective on the Business Model Canvas in addition to its general use. In short, the Business Model Canvas is a strategic management and entrepreneurial tool. It allows you to describe, design, challenge, invent, and pivot your business model on the basis of nine elements.
The Business Model Canvas (source wikimedia)
Business modelling has taken a flight since Osterwalder published this model in his book ‘Business Model Generation’ in 2010. Business modelling works faster than writing a good old business plan. However, is it also more effective, and does your business plan actually improve? Not really, says Roel Raatgever. There is more to be taken care of. Roel presented the Lean Start-up Method, a derivative of The Lean Start-up Methodology. Other than the name of the method suggests, the Lean Start-up Method is also very useful for businesses that are no longer in a start-up phase, but want to innovate continuously.
What is the essence of the Lean Startup Method? This is very easy. Just go outside and meet your future customers! Don’t go writing what you THINK your customers value is, ASK them, and test it! First make a hypothesis (what do you think or assume), then built a prototype or design. Test it amongst your (future) customers and adjust your hypothesis according to the outcome of the test. It is as easy as that: test your value proposition in a continuous lifecycle of innovation. With the outcome of the lean method you can fill in the items at the Canvas model more effective and provide the optimal service or product to your costumers.
In summary, Roel gave us some very useful take home messages that I don’t want you to refrain from when being in the midst of a creative business modelling process:
- never start with writing a business plan;
- the business model Canvas is a good tool, if used properly;
- your ideas will not grow to a success in your office or lab;
- what you have in mind may not be true in the real world;
- if you want to realize your idea, you need to do it yourself;
- and get out!