Leap

For startups, the role of strategy is to help figure out the right questions to ask.

In the beginning, there is a business plan with many assumptions. We assume that our product will be likable by customers, or we assume that the popularity of the product will grow by itself. These assumptions are called leaps of faith because the future of the entire venture rests on them. People make assumptions based on many things, for example on analogies. If company X is using marketing strategy Y, we also can grow exactly like this. It’s just an assumption, and it can be dangerous for the future of the venture, as this assumption might not be true.

In the Toyota Production system, they use a term genchi genbutsu, which means “go and see for yourself”. This method says that if you really want to understand any part of any business, you should get the information by yourself, directly from your potential customers. You don’t get the information from the reports, instead, you go out of the building, and talk to people.

Talking to people firsthand will not get you the direct answers, but those are the basics to understanding your potential customers and what problems they have.

Avoid being a just-do-it entrepreneur, who cannot wait to build his product and get it out to the market. Instead, validate your assumptions first.

Principles to follow