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Lean Launch Methodology: 3 Takeaways for Entrepreneurs

More than a dozen local women entrepreneurs attended a free Lean Launch Methodology workshop hosted by KIC and led by Cece Gassner, director of economic development at Boise State University’s Division of Research and Economic Development. The Lean Launch Methodology is based on the business model canvas developed by Steve Blank. KIC Executive Director Kathryn Kemp Guylay views this event as an opportunity for KIC, as the hub of the Wood River Valley entrepreneurial ecosystem, to support a robust, year-round regional economy.

Here are three key takeaways from the October 3 Lean Launch Methodology presentation:

  1. Be obsessed. “It boils down to knowing your customers really well,” said Gassner. “Be obsessed over your customer, not your competitors.”

The Lean Launch Methodology uses a combination of hypothesis-driven experimentation, and early customer discovery and acquisition to shorten the product development cycle. It also aims to reduce the amount of start-up capital and risk. The result is a minimum viable product (MVP) based on a unique value proposition to a target market, and continuous testing.

  1. Don’t assume. Gassner emphasized, “Continually ask yourself, ‘What is it that I thought my customer needs and what is it that my customer truly wants and needs?”

Start with the business canvases. Gassner supplied each attendee with two of the methodology’s integral tools or canvases to explore potential business ideas. She challenged each individual, in only five minutes, to think of a business model arising from just two imaginary key resources — a bicycle and $1,000. This exercise gave the group the opportunity to put the canvas elements to work in the process of vetting bicycle business ideas.

  • The Mission/Business Model Canvas allows you to describe, design, challenge, invent, and pivot your business model.
  • The Value Proposition Canvas helps you tackle the core challenges of every business — creating compelling products and services customers want to buy.

Impromptu business ideas included:

  • an urban delivery service serving parents who are homebound the first few weeks after a baby’s arrival
  • local food delivery as an employee benefit
  • subscription-based office supplies delivery
  1. Test and retest. Once you’ve charted your business model on the canvases, the Lean Launch Methodology poses the following seven questions for you to test your business model.
  • What is the cost for your customers to switch from your product to another product?
  • Is every sale a new effort to sell, or does it result in follow-up sales and revenues?
  • Are you earning money before you are spending it?
  • Is your cost structure substantially different from your competitors?
  • How much does your business model get customers or third parties to create value for you?
  • How rapidly can you grow your business model without hiring roadblocks? (Scalability)
  • How much does your business model protect from competition? How easy is it for someone to come into your market and take over?

Other important areas to test are:

  • Interest and relevance. Do potential customers show interest in your ideas?
  • Willingness to pay and ability to pay. Are potential customers interested enough in the features of your product/ service to buy it?
  • Preferences and priorities. What features of your product/service do customers prefer? What do they value? What do they prioritize?

“Similar to Pablo Picasso, you start with a blank canvas and by the time you explore all the aspects of a potential business idea, you end up with something great,” concluded Gassner.

For the PowerPoint Presentation by Cece Gassner and for more on the Lean Business Model Canvas, visit

The Lean Launch Methodology presentation slides and related materials are here.

Check out the KIC events calendar here and connect with KIC here.

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