No plan survives first touch with customers


  • The last word on startup success.
  • Why writing business plans is NOT done first. It is something different that needs to be developed first and that is – a business model.  A summary of the lessons learned is given below (copied from the original blog of Steve Blank HERE):
  • A startup is an organization formed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model.
  • There are no facts inside your building, so get outside and get some.
  • Draw and test the Business Model first, the Business Plan then follows.
  • Few if any investors read your business plan to see if they’re interested in your business
  • They’re a lot more interested in what you learned

Here is another article on the Financial Times (Read FT Article **). The article discusses the act of pivoting in a startup which refers to making minor changes in the original idea of a business rather than going for a completely new business altogether. It points out that though entrepreneurs start with an idea that looks perfect, it is the feedback from the customer that first triggers a pivot. The more successful you are in pivoting, better are the chances of your startup doing well. The article also discusses how along with many others Facebook and Twitter pivoted and then created history. I guess my previous article on Starbucks (Starbucked)also referred to the same without using the term pivot. I mentioned there that Starbucks didn’t start as a food service concept. Their idea was to sell coffee so that people could make it at home!

One interesting quote from Mark Suster in the FT article:

“Every entrepreneur starts with an idea that they believe makes sense. But then your customers start using your products, your competitors come out with new offerings and your partners decide to launch a similar product rather than working with you. You’re forced to pivot on a regular basis.”

For more from Mark, I suggest you follow his blog which is a must read for any entrepreneur. It talks more than just about pivoting!

** You will need to register for the FT article. Don’t worry, there is a free registration that allows you to see upto 10 articles a month. Trust me, it is a good idea to register free for that! Better still if you can go for a premium membership.

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