Bringing a concept to profit as a start-up is very similar to driving a speed boat through a storm. Things happen fast in an inherently chaotic environment, and the only rudder that the enterprise has is its dynamism. Be flexible and welcome change… cautiously.
Characterising start-ups in one line is difficult, but essentially they are organisation designed to search for repeatable and scalable business models. The business plan, by its very nature requires flexibility. The initial business plan targets a particular customer segment based on market research and gut feeling. The next step should always be consumer validation.
On our list of commandments, hanging in the office is “Customer validation is not customer acquisition”. We advise start-ups to get validation of their minimum product before starting a process of customer acquisition in earnest. However entrepreneurs often get spooked with itchy feet and begin the process of customer acquisition too early, resulting in an early and damaging plateau. The golden rule is that the business must be based in customer need. Customer and market validation is important proof to the organisation that the idea has strong potential, and it enables the enterprise to identify and tweak the product accordingly.