Evidence-Based Entrepreneurship

You’ve heard it before – 90% of all businesses fail. If you’re thinking of starting your own venture, that’s a sobering statistic. Think about it – given stunning advances in technology, access to market research, big data sets, and entrepreneurial training from high school through graduate school, that statistic hasn’t changed over time. Why do we continue to get it so wrong?

I’ve coached entrepreneurs for years. I especially love working with new entrepreneurs. But conversations about their market and customer need often leave me empty. Not for a lack of information, but confirmation – How do you know? Usually, they don’t. They infer from experience and make assumptions based on very limited knowledge. Unfortunately, they’re the norm.

Now the 90% failure rate starts to make sense.

The Lean LaunchPad methodology powering the I-Corps curriculum shatters the startup model as we’ve known it. How will you know about customer need, market opportunity, and a business model that works? You’ll ask.

You’ll talk to 100 potential customers and users over 10 weeks. Your assumptions will dissolve quickly. Expect your concept to pivot several times as new assumptions make contact with new customers. Soon, you’ll know if you have a market opportunity and a business model that works.

Three outcomes are likely. All are positive!

  • You’ll confirm some version of your original product/market fit
  • You’ll find a better fit in a different market
  • You’ll discover no market opportunity exists at this time

It’s wonderful if you find a viable market opportunity. It’s highly valuable to learn quickly and cheaply if your concept will fail. Maybe you’ll decide that a startup isn’t for you just now.

Whatever your decision, your next steps as an entrepreneur are far more likely to be successful, because you’ll execute based on evidence – not guesses.