There seem to be a ton of products starting to emerge for developing business model canvases, and running lean customer discovery experiments. This one in particular caught my eye:
This great story takes us through Trevor’s efforts at launching a business focused on getting people to ride around on Vespas. Here are the headlines:
- Trevor tried to launch a vespa resale business on campus. He managed to score 1 customer in 6 months. He kept trying but it just didn’t work
- A while later, Trevor tried out the validation board to test out some key assumptions. After just 2 days he had a validated value proposition and 50 paying customers in just 2 hours of posting his launch page…
And here are the assumptions he busted using the board as a tracking mechanism:
- Assumption 1: people care about the environment and want a vespa because it uses less oil
- Assumption 2: commuters will want one…if only they knew someone else who had one
- Assumption 3: commuters will rent one for a bit and try out the hipster thing [YES…50 paying customers in 2 hours! dowser, this is what I call validation]
For me, this nice story brings out a couple of really important features of this approach. Firstly, the focus is on the value proposition…not the entire business model, just the core proposition of what the heck customers want. Second, Trevor uses a Minimum Viable Product to test out his assumptions, in this case a single web page with a submit button taking users to a “coming soon” page. And most importantly, during the test phase, Trevor gets out of the building to talk to his customers. He observes the environment and comes up with some real insight as to what customers want. He isn’t sitting behind a desk making guesses about what else might work, he is going to subway stations and talking to people.
It’s difficult leaving the comfort of your own space and getting in front of people. And it’s difficult to challenge yourself and move from one idea to the next in the face of evidence and customer feedback…especially when that feedback is vague. But when you have a value proposition that works, boy does it work. Great work Trevor. A really nice example of fieldwork and persistence.