Start a Startup? Learn this 1 Model!

Startup – what a glamorous name for a business. If you ask the fresh graduates or the new workforce, I believe some of them want to work in a Startup. Just take Grab Singapore for an example, it has an extremely beautiful working environment, with the so-called startup working culture and a booming business. I would want a job there, feel like I could be so proud until my head could look upward more (lol, if you catch what I mean).

Ambitious people with entrepreneurship dreams would want to have their own startup. Who knows the idea in the head can lead to billion dollars business, just like Uber, Facebook, Airbnb, and others.

What does startup mean? According to Eric Ries, Startup is defined as an organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty. I love this definition, take note on “New” and “Extreme uncertainty”. So if you have an incredible idea (proclaimed by you) which you think is new and might (extreme uncertainty) create a big bang, your execution and company can be called startup. Remember that no execution = nothing would happen.

So if you want to start a startup, this will be the one important model that you need in your execution plan! This is called Build-Measure-Learn loop, introduced by Eric Ries in his best selling book – The Lean Startup.

The Lean Startup – Build, Measure, Learn Loop

First of all, WHY do we need this Build-Measure-Learn loop? WHY not just build the product and sell it? The reason behind is simple, it prevents your dream to be trashed in the drain. Do you agree, a lot of startups/businesses fail because they “think” their products are the most incredible and highly demanded things users/people desire. Unfortunately, the world is “dark and full of terror” (Sorry, Game of Thrones fans here). Low reception, low interest, and low purchase from customers lead the startup to a dead end (Loss of money, loss of time, loss of hope).

This simple Build-Measure-Learn loop is definitely the effective way to kickstart the startup. The process is;
Turn ideas into products (BUILD),
Measure how customers respond (MEASURE),
Learn whether to pivot or persevere (LEARN).

Take the new startup or new initiative as an experiment, pre-set a couple of assumptions, and carry our several tests to validate the hypothesis/visions before committing everything to that idea. A Minimum Viable Product (MVP), which is a basic product with a key feature, is exactly what we need to test them out.  Validated learning is the key to success to build a sustainable business.

Let’s condense all these into one single example. For instance, you have an idea of second-hand textbook selling platform for your economy faculty in the university. Assumptions/Hypothesis here will be;
1. Your faculty mates will sell their second-hand textbook.
2. They will use a platform to do the selling.

Alright, you BUILD a Minimum Viable Product (i.e. application/website) for this purpose. Launch it and introduce to all your faculty mates. From their response, collect all necessary data and MEASURE the performance, meanwhile asking feedbacks from the users. According to the measured data and useful feedbacks, pick up all the lessons LEARNed. Praise the Lord, the idea works, most faculty mates love and use it, assumptions are affirmed. Question is pivot or persevere? Of course, persevere. Next idea is to expand to the whole university, again, use the Build-Measure-Learn loop to roll it out. Boom! All are validated, proceed to the next idea which is allow users to sell all sort of second-hand things on the platform! Anyway, this is roughly how CAROUSELL strikes a success 🙂

As you can see from the example, on the journey of the startup to success, the simple BUILD-MEASURE-LEARN loop has been applied repeatedly. However, if the assumptions are wrong, pivot quickly before committing too much to the idea. Rapid testing to validate the idea helps a lot!

So if you have an idea in mind and want to execute it, remember this Build-Measure-Learn model, it will help you tremendously to achieve your goals. To understand more, read The Lean Startup by Eric Boris.

Share with me your experience if you have applied this in your startup and business. All the best.

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