What exactly have the Fusion Founders been doing over the last month on the program? Sam Mead, program director put together this blog to give a quick recap on the broader subjects that were covered in June.


Customer Validation

We opened up the program talking about customer validation. Validation works on the theory that when you start a company or come up with an idea for a new product, all you have are assumptions about your business model and your customers.

It’s through the process of customer validation that you test these hypotheses, to make sure you are building a product or service that your customers will actually pay you for.

In short, your product needs to either solve a customers problem, or create real value. Preferably both!

For more, watch these videosread this book, and review my slide deck.


Market Opportunity

In short, do you have a viable business? This isn’t about taking a top down view of the market size and stating that you don’t have any competitors.

You do have competitors: maybe not direct competitors, but people out there are somehow trying to solve the problem your company is focused on. If they aren’t, you’re probably not solving a big enough of a problem to build a viable business around.

Solution: take a bottom up approach to analysing your market opportunity. How much money do you want to make from your customers? Use this toolto understand your price points and the number of customers you need. Are the numbers realistic?


Business Models

A business model is a top down, one page summary of your business. It’s not very detailed, but it contains all of the important information about your company.

My favourite tool to examine a business model is the Lean Canvas, created by Ash Maurya, and is an adaptation of the Business Model Canvas.

Time to start filling in a business model. Don’t cheat yourself! It’s not about filling in the boxes as fast as you can. It’s about making sure your product, service, or idea is valuable to your customer, and has a viable financial model.

For a recap, read my slides, and my notes on how to fill in the lean canvas. And here’s a blank lean canvas.


Lean

A lean startup is not a startup doing things as cheaply as possible. That’s a bootstrapped startup.

A lean startup is a startup that is searching for a highly scalable and repeatable business model, by rapidly and repeatedly testing the assumptions they have about their business. If you’re going to run lean, it’s extremely important to fully understand lean, as it is often misunderstood.

Don’t waste time and money building a product nobody wants. If you’re lean, you’ll run experiments to test your assumptions, and you’ll release products that solve your customers needs. The first version might be basic, but it will still be valuable to your customer, i.e., it will at the very least be useful.

Here’s a few quotes that summarise Lean.

For a more in depth education, read The Startup Owner’s Manual by Steve Blank and Bob Dorf, and The Lean Startup by Eric Reis.


Pitching

When you’re pitching your startup, it’s important to always tailor your pitch to the audience. When you’re invited to pitch, there is always a reason for the pitch happening, and there is a specific outcome in mind. If there are criteria for your pitch make sure your pitch fits the criteria!

There are a million articles online about what the perfect pitch should include, and it’s hard to know which is the best advice, but this pitch deck template is a good start.

Here’s a few of my pitch tips, with some bonus ones here:

  • Open with “My name is [name] from [company name] and we allow [target audience niche] to [main benefit of product].”
  • Tell a story. Get your audience to empathise and understand the problem you solve.
  • Demonstrate your customer validation!

That’s a wrap for the month of June!