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Details Matter 天下大事,必作于细

—— Luuk Eliens

The number #1 reason why startups fail is because there is no market need for the product or service they are building[1]. By now, this startup maxim is engrained in the brain of whomever claims to know anything on building scalable businesses from scratch.

创业公司失败的首要原因是因为他们试图打造的产品或服务没有实际的市场需求[1]。 这条创业格言已经深深根植在那些想要做出一番大事业的创业者和企业创投人脑海中了。

So how to prevent this from happening to your startup or corporate venture?

那么如何防止这种情况在你的创业公司或企业创投里发生呢?

Typically, the answer given in the countless blogposts, vlogs and lectures on the topic can be summarized in any of the following one-liners:

在我们看过的无数博客文章、视频博客和主题讲座中,关于市场需求给出的答案可以简单概括为以下任意一条标语:

  • “Speak to customers”

    “与客户交谈”

  • “Make sure you build something your customers actually want”

    “确保你创造的是客户真正想要的东西”

  • “Get out of the building”

    “走出办公楼”

    Or my personal favorite:

    亦或是我个人最喜欢的:

  • “Just apply the Lean Startup Methodology”

    “应用精益创业方法论”

After working with +200 Chinese startups, scale-ups and corporations to build new ventures from scratch; after seeing many of them fail and some of them struggle their way towards success, my personal experience certainly confirms that indeed, the #1 reason startup fail is because there is no market need for the product or service they are building.

在与200多个中国初创公司和大企业合作从零开始建立新的业务之后; 在目睹了许多人的失败又见证了一小部分人的艰难成功之后,我的个人经历也充分证实,创业失败的主要原因是因为产品或服务没有市场需求。

However, my biggest frustration working in the field of innovation, particularly in China, is that one-liner such as ‘speak to customers’ will not help any startup or corporate venture to actually make meaningful progress.

然而,我在创新领域(特别是在中国)工作遇到最大的挫折就是,“与客户交谈”这样的口号式标语无法助益任何一家创业公司或企业创投取得有意义的商业进展。

Innovation is hard enough. To properly help young founders, they deserve to be taughtHOW to speak to customers.

创新不是一句空谈。 为了正确地帮助年轻的创始人,我们需要教导他们如何与客户沟通交流。

Startup founders need actionable tactics that they can apply in real-life: Details matter.

初创公司创始人需要能够在真实微观场景中应用的实操策略:细节决定成败

So because the details matter, here is my answer to one of the most pivotal questions for startup and corporate venture founders:

正是因为细节的重要性,接下来我会详细回答这个对创业公司和企业创投人来说尤为关键的问题:

How should you properly apply the lean startup methodology? Or phrased differently, how does the customer validation process actually works in practice?

如何正确应用精益创业方法论? 换句话说,客户验证流程在实践中应该如何操作?

To properly answer this question, let’s first define what customer validation actually means:

To minimize the risk of building a product nobody wants, startups and startup founders should be going through a rigorous process of customer validation. In essence, customer validation is a scientific approach to test hypotheses and either confirm or falsify your belief system in relation to your business.

要回答好这个问题,首先让我们明确客户验证的实际含义:

为了最大限度地降产品最终无人问津的风险,初创公司和创业公司创始人需要经历严格的客户验证过程。 从本质上讲,客户验证是一种科学的检验假设的方法,帮助你证明或证伪一切与你业务相关的个人假设。

Step 1 – Self-Assessment

第一步 - 自我评估

The first step to this process consists of a proper self-assessment to determine where you are in the innovation funnel. Have you sold your product? Are customers using your product on a prolonged basis? Are those customers satisfied? In our experience it makes sense to distinguish between three validation phases:

验证过程的第一步是进行适当的自我评估,以确定你在创新漏斗中的位置。你是否卖出过产品?客户是否长期使用你的产品?这些客户满意吗?根据我们的经验,验证过程可以有意识地细分为三个不同的阶段:

  1. Problem Validation – You are trying to figure out who your customer is, what the problems of your customer are and whether those problems are important enough to be solved in the first place.

    问题验证 - 你正试图弄清你的客户是谁,客户存在的问题是什么,以及这些问题是否重要到需要立刻被解决。

  2. Value Proposition Validation – You are trying to figure out if your specific value proposition resonates with customers and what exact composition of benefits and features is necessary to be able to make customers use and/or pay for your product or service.

    价值主张验证 - 你正试图弄清你的核心价值主张是否能与客户产生共鸣,以及客户愿意买单使用的产品/服务核心优点、具体功能。

  3. Business Model Validation – You are trying to figure out how to capture and monetize the value you are delivering.

    商业模式验证 - 你正试图弄清楚如何从你传递的价值主张中获利。

The first step to applying the lean startup methodology properly therefore is, to determine the validation phase you are in.

正确运用精益创业方法论的第一步就是确定你所处的验证阶段。

Step 2 – Crafting your validation roadmap

第二步 - 制定验证计划

Once you have completed your self-assessment, as a next step you can start crafting your validation roadmap. Like any roadmap, your validation roadmap should be time-bound, actionable and measurable. A simple but effective canvas we use to craft a validation roadmap for and with our clients looks like this*:

完成自我评估后,下一步你可以开始制定完整的验证计划。 与任何计划图一样,它需要有时间限制,可操作性和可衡量性。 我们用来为客户制定验证计划的行之有效的画布如下:

In essence, a validation roadmap is a collection of well-crafted verifiable hypotheses. So, to break things down one step further, this is a good template for such a hypothesis:

验证计划本质上是一个精心设计的可验证假设的合集。因此,为了帮助大家深入理解其中的子集,我们将提供一个假设验证的模板:

“I believe [hypothesis] to verify that I will test [Test] and measure [metric] I am right if [criteria]”[2]

“我相信[XX假设],为了验证该假设我将采用[XX方法],并衡量[XX标准],如果达到[具体量化标准]则证明我的假设成立”[2]

Ideally, you’d like to formulate only a handful of core hypotheses you wish to test. In the early-phase of your business, those hypotheses will necessarily be related to your customer and your value proposition since without customers and without providing value to those customers, you have no business.

理想情况下,在计划中你应该只放入一些最想测试的核心假设。在业务的早期阶段,这些假设势必与你的目标客户和价值主张相关,因为没有客户没有价值,你就没有发展业务的可能。

After constructing your core hypotheses, it’s time to prioritize. After all, as a startup founder you do not have time to test everything at once. To properly determine what to test first, we recommend to ask yourself two core questions:

在构建核心假设之后,接下来就是考虑优先级,毕竟作为创业者你肯定没有时间一次性验证所有假设。为了确定假设验证顺序,我们建议你问自己这样两个核心问题:

  1. How important is it that this hypothesis is true for my business to succeed?

    该假设的成立与否对我的业务成功有多重要?

  2. How quickly can I test this hypothesis?

    检验这个假设需要多久?

Essentially, by asking yourself these two questions, you are assessing early-stage business risk and execution speed.

通过问自己这两个问题,你能大致评估出早期的业务风险和执行速度。

Step 3 – Validation Tool picking

第三步 - 验证工具选择

Finally, and importantly, you should consider how to test your hypotheses. Contrary to popular belief (e.g. ‘just speak to customers’), there are many different ways to test hypotheses. In fact, at XNode Innovation Program we help entrepreneurs get acquainted with up to 18 different validation tools including validation interviews, focus groups, questionnaires, split tests, rapid prototyping and many, many more.

最后并且最重要的是,你需要考虑如何验证你的假设。 与前文中的流行观点相反(例如“多与客户交谈”),我们提供许多不同的方法来检验假设。 实际上,在在XNode的创新项目中,我们帮助初创团队熟悉多达18种不同的验证工具,包括但不限于验证访谈,焦点小组,问卷调查,分离测试和快速原型制作。

In a next post, I will share all the specifics on the 18 validation tools we use and how to apply them in practice. Why?

下一篇文章我将详细分享我们使用的18种验证工具以及如何在实践中应用它们。你可能会好奇为什么我们要用这么长的篇幅细致讲解这些验证工具?

Because details matter.

因为天下大事,必作于细。

contact@thexnode.com

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