Since arriving in Halifax last Fall, we’ve been dragged to several events where people and groups are pitching ideas they have developed using the Lean Canvas approach, popularized by Ash Mauraya and Steve Blank, among others.
One of the key elements involves formulating hypotheses and then testing them, ideally by engaging potential customers and other stakeholders in a qualitative discussion (i.e. talking to them) and later by surveying.
Because these are start-ups who have no money and sometimes less than fully formed ideas, they do this themselves.
As someone in the business of providing these types of services, should we be scared? How are we going to make money and eventually retire if everyone is doing this for themselves?
After think long and hard about this dilemma, we have decided that we actually like what they are doing!
Here’s our reasoning:
- People are being encouraged to build businesses based on talking to customers, stakeholders, competitors, financiers…how good is that!
- If they are successful, they now, potentially, have customer understanding built into the DNA of their company…that’s good, right?
- As they get bigger, they will have business management to concentrate on, so they won’t have as much time to spend talking to their customers…what will they do? Maybe they will hire someone to help them! Maybe that someone could be us because we’ve supported them from the early stages?
- Also, as they grow, they become threatening to their competitor, so they can no longer have those conversations. Maybe that’s another place we can help them?
So go lean! And if you have a chance check out the Norman Newman Centre for Entrepreneurship at Dalhousie University!