At Cow-Shed we are huge fans of the Lean Startup methodology and apply it to all the startups we work with. There are 3 main principles
a) Your business model demonstrates how you will create value for your customers
When you start you will have some good guesses about how your business will go - a series of untested hypotheses. There is no point in writing a detailed business plan with 5 year projections at this point - it is far more sensible to summarise your hypothesis in a 1 page Lean canvas business model showing what problem you are solving for your customer and how this will create value for them. You need your customers to recognise the value you have created for them so they can pass some of that onto you.
b) You need to talk to your customers
Lean is all about failing fast - if your business model doesn't work its much better to learn that quickly and see how to pivot it so that it does work. The key to this is feedback from your customers and if you aren't out there talking to them, you aren't going to learn which parts of your business model you need to revise.
This iteration never stops. You need to get feedback on your updated business model and learn which assumptions you need to update, and then make further small adjustments. If your adjustment needs to be sustantive then you need to pivot.
c) Life is too short to build something nobody wants
Create a Minimum Viable Product that you can get in front of customers quickly and get their feedback so you can continually refine it. Whether its a food truck to test out your new restaurant, a basic version of your ultimate product, or a single workshop when you want to create an interior design course, you need to get up and running quickly to see if you are building something your customers really want.
Our Cow-Shed Business Model workshop will show you how to apply Lean to your business.