Startups can be wasteful creatures. 75% of startup capital gets lost in a black hole of misguided engineering, marketing, and product development efforts. We fix that.
In a typical startup journey, the road is paved with entrepreneurial passion and great intentions, but also fundamentally misguided product development efforts. It all starts when a team brainstorms and builds wireframes of their startup masterpiece. Little do they realize, the product thus far is rooted in hundreds of untested assumptions. Nevertheless, the team is excited to get started, so they give these requirements to developers.
With requirements in hand, the development team delivers an estimate based on their best understanding of the bloated product provided to them. They likely have very limited knowledge of the market, customer needs, or the actual goals of the product. This leads them to be part of the unfortunate statistics surrounding startup failure.
Top Reasons Startups Fail
- No Market Need
- Ran Out of Cash
- Not the Right Team
- Get Outcompeted
- Pricing / Cost Issues
- Poor Product
- Poor Marketing
- Ignore Customers
- Product Mis-Timed
What happens is, months go by and critical time (and money) gets wasted as the developers uncover previously unforeseen complexities and add new features. What they eventually deliver is a feature-heavy masterpiece that may not even make it out of testing. Often, even if the product does go to market, it doesn't catch on with users organically, and the startup team ends up back at the drawing board trying to figure out why. Worse yet, by this time, the bank account is on “E” so there’s no more room for changes.
We believe startups fail because of this traditional approach, but don’t fret! At our Startup Studio, we apply the Coplex Lean Process to break the trend.
At Coplex, we’re all about eliminating waste in the startup journey by helping to solve the common problems many encounter along the way. The Coplex Lean Process drives how we build using techniques from the scientific method that you learned in high school science class. It helps us ensure we are building the right thing, at the right time, to find product/market fit.
Wait, I may have skipped that class once or twice. What's the scientific method?
“A method of procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses.”
By integrating the principles of the scientific method with lean methodology, we created an expanded “build, measure, learn” feedback loop. This iterative approach helps build successful startups.
Our Process Looks Like This
We start with our Lean Canvas Workshop
Rather than waste time writing the typical novel-length business plan (skewed with hundreds of assumptions about your business model), we take a more simple and efficient route. This method, called the Lean Canvas, focuses on only the most critical components of your business model. We know they’ll evolve as your venture moves through its journey.
Next, we dive into the Persona Definition Workshop
By creating fictitious characters—the consumers of your product—we will begin defining the underlying assumptions around what your customers want and how they will find and use your product. We’ll also explore demographics, pain points, and possible solutions. Soon we will vet the persona assumptions to make sure they’re accurate, too.
Then, it’s time for the Assumption Workshop
To create an Assumption Tree, you work side-by-side with our Startup Studio team to pinpoint assumptions surrounding:
- Customer & Problem (Value Proposition)
- Distribution & Pricing
- Demand Creation
- Market Type
We use these categories to trace back to the core underlying assumptions that, if wrong, undermine the whole business model. Based on the level of severity, we prioritize and formulate hypotheses to test.
Moving along, we enter the Experiment Design Workshop
The benefit of a Startup Studio is that we’ll work together to solidify the hypothesis, test cards, process, and data to track. User acquisition efforts are defined to drive the first cohort of users into your product. With this, we design the initial (or next) product iteration. If it’s your first release, then this is called the Minimum Viable Product, or MVP.
What's an MVP?
Your MVP should be the smallest amount of code and design possible to conduct your first experiment. It helps validate underlying assumptions quickly and therefore keep costs down.
Finally, we review the Experiment Results
After our experimentation window closes, we sit down together to review the feedback from the test. We’ll help process the data and make calculated changes for the next iteration. We see what we got right (and wrong) from real users. That data informs both the product direction and the assumptions we test next. If we got things wrong, we will need to pivot. That’s okay because we didn't waste time or money overbuilding unnecessary features in the first iteration.
For each new iteration, we’ll update your Assumption Tree and carve out a few more assumptions to test. The next experiment will be defined and designed based on the new hypotheses we’ve formed from the new assumption tree. We then build the simplest product iteration to effectively run the next experiment for the next wave of users. Then it’s wash, rinse, and repeat until we find product-market fit.
What it Boils Down To
Every startup that works with Coplex at our Startup Studio goes through a highly collaborative, intensely focused process specifically designed to craft the right requirements for your current iteration. We rely on our process to get your startup to market quickly, and simultaneously help with user acquisition at every step. All this accelerates your journey to product/market fit.
In many cases, we end up with a very different product than the simple MVP we started with. That is the result of the validated learning process. The most successful startups we know today evolved drastically from something uber basic (yes, even Uber started out simple). We’ve found that the Coplex Lean Approach uses techniques from successfully built companies, and it can be applied to your startup, too. Your startup can be just as successful without wasting valuable time or money by teaming up with our Startup Studio.