(2010-08-15) Maurya Documenting Lean Startup Business Model Hypotheses

Ash Maurya offers his template for documenting his Business Model hypotheses (Customer Development and others) for a WebApp-focused Lean Startup. He calls this his Lean Canvas.

He splits them by Product and Market focus, with the UVP (Unique Value Proposition) in the middle.

He thinks about them (and validates them) in this order (I would actually define Customer Segment first, then make sure my 3-top-problems were framed as that segment sees them):

  1. Product: 3 top problems you're addressing.

  2. Market: Customer Segment: Who are the customers/users of this system? Can they be further segmented?

  • He makes a separate Canvas for each target segment.

    • Hmm, if you're building a Market or a Network, do you treat each type of player as a Segment?
  1. Unique Value Proposition: Tag-Line, Positioning Statement

  2. Product's Solution: Minimum Viable Product feature-set

  3. Product: Key Activity: user actions that drive retention and (your) revenue.

  4. Market: free and paid Channels to reach people in your segment

  5. Cost Structure: fixed and variable costs

  6. Revenue Streams, Life Time Value, Gross Margin, Break Even point, etc.

  7. Unfair advantage (cannot be copied or bought): you might not ever have one.

See good comments, esp regarding Randy Komisar's "dashboarding" practice.

Jun'2011: more details on generating alternatives, recognizing biggest risks, testing, etc. I Commented to ask for more detailed stories to complement this abstract process.

Jun20'2011: suggesting that step1 is reviewing your Lean Canvas with a series of advisors, so they question your assumptions. This is more efficient than jumping into Customer Development interviews.


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