6 mistakes lean startup entrepreneurs make when validating ideas


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Last month I mentored the second Lean Startup event is Israel. After 3 intense days of working with 10-12 groups, I saw patterns of what caused their experiments to fail.
These are 6 recurring mistakes I saw in those 3 days and how to fix them.

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6 mistakes lean startup entrepreneurs make when validating ideas

  1. 1. Last month, I mentored the second Lean Startup Machine event in Israel (and even wrote a post about it).
  2. 2. Lean Startup Machine (LSM) is a three-day workshop on building a successful business. Participants come into the workshops with ideas for products and in 3 days they validate or pivot from their original ideas, based on the tests and experiments they run. You can read more about it here If you’re not familiar with the Lean Startup Machine…
  3. 3. Mentoring 10-12 teams trying to validate their ideas for 3 intense days can give you some powerful insights into the process they go through and the mistakes they make.
  4. 4. Probably mistakes we all make when validating our ideas. In a startup or in real life.
  5. 5. Assumptions are stories we tell ourselves. 
 We believe certain people will act in a certain way in a certain situation. 
 The problem is that we sometimes persuade ourselves into believing in our assumption so much, that even when it doesn’t validate we make excuses instead of learning from it. 1. Falling in love with your assumptions:
  6. 6. 2. Interview with intention, not an opinion Interviews are an important part of validating your ideas. If done right. Make sure you are asking the right question to learn what you want to learn and not asking questions to hear what you want to hear. Ask questions about their needs and past experiences regarding that need, not your product and how much they will love it.
  7. 7. 3. Don’t judge, iterate Being wrong more than once a day isn’t fun. Failure , despite its significance, it isn’t fun. Progressing and evolving feels great. Always remind yourself that validating ideas is a process and your are not failing but evolving. Embrace a positive approach about your learning process. Don’t judge your ideas, test them and iterate them.
  8. 8. 4. Don’t settle. Interview your real target a audience A great product serves a specific target audience. Anyone else you talk to about it for feedback is far from validating your idea, it just creates more noise that will lead to bad decisions . If you interview the wrong people about your idea, you won’t be validating anything and will simply be miss-informed.
  9. 9. 5. Always be honest with your team If you don’t think the assumption or idea your team is testing is good, if you don’t believe in the method you’re testing, say it. Don’t be grumpy or passive aggressive throughout the process it won’t get you anywhere. If you’re not really into the idea you might be trying as hard to “de-validate” an idea as much as your team mates are trying to validate it. Even if you sometimes don’t even know that’s what you’re doing.
  10. 10. Henry Ford once said: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” The one thing you can take from Ford’s quote in terms of validation, is that in both cases people wanted to get places faster. He validated the “why”, not the “how”. You should too. 6. At first, validate an assumption, not a product
  11. 11. To summarize:
  12. 12. Don’t fall in-love with your assumptions Interview to test ideas not opinions Iterate on your ideas Interview only your real target audience Validate an assumption, not a product
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  14. 14. +972 528387405 roy@roypovarchik.com roypovarchik.com