The Lean Entrepreneur Program: Recap Week 2

Our awesome Program Instructor John Gray recaps the second week of The Lean Entrepreneur Program! Find out more about the LEP at www.launchacademy.ca/lep The Fundamentals program hit its midpoint last week. Testament to the participants resolve as no one’s yet rushed for the door screaming and questioning our collective sanity. After all, it generally takes a healthy dose of irrational thought and behaviour to venture into the unknown world of entrepreneurship.

There was an overwhelming consensus that getting out of the building and having client discovery conversations changes everything. The idea that sounds good in the head takes on a very different life when in the wilds of a conversation. Suffice to say, “no idea survives contact with the first potential customer.”

No one was discouraged with their efforts. But, processing the reality that turning an idea into a minimally viable product is definitely no walk in the park.

Lessons three and four have run the gamut from the law firm sounding market opportunity sizing acronyms, TAM, SAM SOM. Crunching numbers wasn’t sleep-inducing. Thankfully it also didn’t have anyone believing the claim, “we just need 1% of this billion dollar market” is a winning slide in their investor pitch deck.

Touching on Porters five forces analysis proved to be a good eye opener and discussion about digging deep and wide when it comes to knowing you stuff. No one buys BS, but they do buy into someone who’s done their homework and can back up their numbers with great research.

Nothing like a little storytelling exercise to get this instructor pumped about three hours of talk and working on the fine art of the value proposition. Word games, discovering product gains and pain killers, and putting it all through the imagination blender got everyone thinking about those first core MVP features.

There are more customer discovery conversations ahead. It will be interesting to see how much the lean business canvas is changing for each of our five teams.

With three marketplace ideas (two related to helping people find work, and one making finding rental accommodations easier), a beacon-related hardware/software play, and a mobile app aimed at helping amateur basketball players improve their game all trying to discover if they have a product-market fit, the final two weeks of the LEP holds many good lessons still to be learned.