What’s your growth strategy?

How are you creating growth in your business?

Lean thinking, customer development and business model innovation frameworks are transforming how new products are built and how growth strategies are developed.  These help organisations design products that customers need.

Lean offers ways to cut work time and eliminate waste whether you are an established or an early stage business. Customer development takes a customer-centric approach to understanding customer needs and problems.  The term ‘business model’ means the design of a business.  Business model innovation (BMI) looks at how a business reinvents itself in order gain competitive edge and stimulate growth. An important part of business design involves being customer-centric.

Many businesses focus on products and solutions versus understanding the problem they are solving for customers.  Competition is not just about your products but understanding your customers’ needs and your business model.

Steve Blank, the father of Lean start-up, talks about the big idea, which is really simple: “Get outside your building and talk to customers”.  This framework is called customer discovery.  Talking to customers is nothing new and is a simple concept, but we don’t do enough of it to validate and find new opportunities.  Too many assumptions are made about customers needs.

These frameworks have different stages and characteristics including:

–        Understand what is the problem you’re solving and for whom

–        Establish a series of core hypotheses
 and validate assumptions

–        Determine the product/market fit

–        Build a minimum viable product

–        Feedback, insight and rapid iterations based on data and metrics are key

In practice, talking to customers is hard.  There is a big difference between what people say they do and what they actually do. Customers may tell you they are excited about your product, but their buying behavior might be different.  Actions speak louder than words. Customers don’t always know what they don’t know, so it’s through observation that ‘insight’ is gained. Customers asked Henry Ford for faster horses but created the car.  He applied ‘insight’.

The path for longer-term business survival will be in understanding how you develop growth strategies in your business model.  Hence, embracing methodologies like lean, customer development and business model innovation are important.

What’s your growth strategy?

If you would like to know more email me on mary@thousandseeds.com or keep in touch through twitter @marylcronin @thousandseeds.