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Learn the key ideas of the book by Steve Blank , Bob Dorf

The Startup Owner’s Manual

Transforming a startup into a successful company

A startup cannot be built following a traditional business model: The Startup Owner’s Manual lays out the most reliable process by which any business entity can, in fact, be guided on its search for the model which best suits its needs. For company founders, this is a real step by step user guide which takes us through each phase of the transformation from a startup to a fully-fledged company.

The Startup Owner’s Manual
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The traditional model of starting a company can no longer work because it is based on assumptions

When it is just a seedling, a startup is a pure act of faith. At this stage, it is practically impossible for its founders to know who their customers may be and what needs they might have. Yet, armed with their old-style business plan, entrepreneurs begin to try and launch a product, based on pure supposition.

They also plan a launch event, setting a date that cannot be changed, there is hardly ever any time to make improvements to the product, and this forced pace allows no room for tweaks, taking it for granted that customers are going to show up in droves. But what if they don’t? Startups often find out way too far down the line that they do not have many visitors to their site, that their customers will not form part of a large scale market, and that either the product has a low value, or the costs of distribution are too high.

Everyone working with startups thinks that they should follow the “do it and do it fast” motto, believing that they have been hired for what they can do, and not for what they can learn. But a startup is more like a series of hypotheses, many of which will prove to be wrong: offering a product based on these hypotheses is the best way to sink. Blindly marching on, without knowing what you are doing, is nothing short of criminal!

Since a startup is little more than a research unit, we need to avoid using the classic titles for departments, such as the “sales” department, which is normally a team who repeatedly sells a product to a known group of clients, giving presentations, quoting prices and explaining the standard terms and conditions. By their very definition, startups have few or even none of these clearly defined roles, because they are still looking for them! Before hiring other employees, it is important to be sure of the startup’s success: the cost of making mistakes in this area is pretty high.


The key ideas of "The Startup Owner’s Manual"

The traditional model of starting a company can no longer work because it is based on assumptions
Customer development puts the customer at the centre of all planning right from day one
Customer discovery is the first step on a journey that begins with the initial idea, and leads to the building of a company
Customer validation is a process which facilitates quantitative testing of the entire business model
Optimisation of visitor volume, of the cost to the consumer and of the conversion of passers-by into customers: strategies for digital startups
Take-home message

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