Source | LinkedIn : By Drew Eldridge
For an entrepreneur starting a business seems like the equivalent of an artist having a blank canvas. You’ve probably got a great idea and a range of tools to make it happen, but don’t know where to begin.
I’ve never started my own business so I wouldn’t know, but I‘ve worked with a few people who have and been with them at the beginning of their journey. The key at this stage is how to get the best out of an idea as well as put the foundations and structure in place for its best chance of long-term success.
The biggest difference between me and the entrepreneurs I work with is usually that they have committed their entire professional and personal lives to this blank canvas. They have invested totally in the belief that their idea has a significant place in the market, and they have the means (or know people who do) to turn a concept into a reality.
So, where to start?
As a designer, I have to counter every inherent urge to start defining the finished product right away. As soon as I have a general overriding concept, my mind starts going wild with what it could be and how it could look in my hands and in front of my eyes. The problem is that the images rushing through my head are all based on preconceptions from the past — things that have already been, based on a plethora of different facts and pieces that all come together to tell a different story. Someone else’s story.
Recently I helped run a three-day workshop with 3 entrepreneurs who have bravely launched themselves into the unknown and started exploring an idea with a ton of potential and very little baggage. This is a key point as with baggage comes limitations, constraints, and tensions, therefore inevitable preconceptions that we’ve established aren’t helpful at this stage.
The purpose of running a short time-restricted workshop is to define the core business proposition and quickly root out and make decisions around fundamental items the idea needs to get to market and gain small numbers of influential customers (known as early adopters). These few customers will help drive and define the shape of the proposition for the foreseeable future and as the customer base grows and the proposition matures so too will the business. But always with the customer at the heart*.