Many startups these days adopt an agile bootstrap approach. That’s to say they are small or solo boutique enterprises run and funded solely by the owner(s). As a bootstrap startup owner you will be required to wear many different hats and master many differing skills, including idea generation, sales, marketing, finance, product development, support, IT and logistics. No matter what business you decide to go into there is one simple overarching principle you can use to keep you honest throughout the startup process and it’s the concept to cash principle. This popular concept penned by technology guru Mary Poppendieck can be applied as the mandatory yardstick for your new venture. What it means is:
The phases and timeline to value delivery should be as short as possible. As we will discuss later, your initial value proposition is not supposed to be the “all singing, all dancing” fully functional version of your product or service. Your purpose early on is to develop a test model, or a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) as it is more commonly known, that you can get customers using. This enables you to quickly prove value, reduce assumptions and uncertainty whilst testing the validity of your solution from your customers’ perspective. This is the approach agile startups use to gain momentum, traction and revenue so quickly. Remember, become a scientist first; experiment, gather data and validate your ideas before seriously committing and investing your time, money and effort.
Define the quickest path from your initial conceptual idea through to having paying customers.
Agile startup methodologies are very popular, dare I say it fashionable at the moment, but they are a robust proven method for getting started and delivering customer value quickly. Where possible try and adopt this simple strategy into the very fabric of any new venture that you embark on. Remember, anything that reduces risk, complexity and uncertainty is a valuable asset, especially in the initial early stages.