What’s the truism about the chance of failure for a random startup? 80 percent? 90 percent? It’s a bleak picture if you’d like to start a technology venture. All the effort, expense, and grind of hours for months on end you’re willing to put into pursuing your dream. Yet the statistics say that dream has an excellent chance of being a smoldering lump in a few years.
Believe it or not, there’s no better time to jump start your dream than now.
Your first task? Embrace failure.
Not for its own sake. But without failure, success is more difficult to find.
We’ll work with you to be sure you fail time and again. It’s part of the plan.
The Lean LaunchPad methodology was adopted by the National Science Foundation for the I-Corps program, in part, because the hypothesis testing core to the LLP approximates the scientific method applied to technology venturing. It’s this testing in the form of Customer Discovery interviews with prospective customers, users, and influencers that provides the feedback for your idea to fail. The current term is “pivot”. Consider a pivot to be a complete or partial failure of the original idea.
The week-by-week process of information gathering integral to the LLP process provides a framework for your idea to fail multiple times in a very short timeframe. More importantly, you’ll fail in a way that’s much faster, cheaper, and painless – except to your ego -than pursuing a startup on your own.
Once you embrace failure and the Customer Discovery process, something amazing often happens about halfway through the course. The pivots stop. You begin to hear the same things from people you talk to. Conversations and reactions become more uniform. You just may have something! A value proposition. Product-market fit. The elements of a business model. And a potential path to success.
Or not. But that’s OK. There are usually three outcomes that you’ll discover when you engage with customers about their needs and issues:
- Your original concept works as you thought! (Usually not)
- Your concept can be adapted to solve a customer problem, but it’s a different customer or problem than you expected. (Often)
- There isn’t an obvious market for your concept just now. (Sometimes)
All these outcomes are positive. If your concept has a chance of success, you’ll know quickly and have a much better idea of its market opportunity. If no current market opportunity exists, you’ll know that quickly as well, without the personal costs that normally accompany business failure.
The UCF I-Corps program. Failure spoken here.
Written by Eddie Hill