When we started Nimbus Health, we knew we were making some assumptions, but there were a few things we knew too:
- A launch customer is ready to use our product
- We know how much they’ll pay
- There are 50+ companies just like our first customer
- Our first customer is influential and will refer us to those customers
Of course, each of these things that we “knew”, turned out to be assumptions as well. Bonus! They were all wrong.
- Our customer was ready to use the product, but it wouldn’t matter. There was another decision maker involved (their customers) who would make the final call. Almost none of them did.
- “Our pricing isn’t just cheaper than your existing solution, it’s easier to understand!” They didn’t want cheaper or “easier to understand” – they wanted “easier to pass onto their clients.”
- That the 50+ other companies “understood” the pain we were solving was true. That they felt is so badly they’d be willing to pay for a solution was not.
- Referrals, HA! Half the other companies are competitors and those that aren’t don’t really get along that well anyway.
So, wtf? How are we going to be able to do anything if even the things we know to be true, turn out to be false? Enter the Lean Canvas.
Lean Canvas = Assumption Destruction
Lean Canvas is technically a morphing of Alexander Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas by Ash Mauyra, but what really matters is that it is a single sheet of paper that makes it obvious which of our assumptions are wrong.
I haven’t filled one of these out before, so we’ll be learning together. Here’s how I’m thinking it’s going to work (btw, you should follow along fill one out for your business too):
- We fill out each of the section of the canvas
- Recognize that every single thing we’ve written down is a hypothesis
- Call out each of the experiments we’re doing to test these hypotheses
- Iterate on our canvas until we’ve got a business model we’d bet our mother’s retirement on
Like you, I don’t have a lot of time to waste on documentation, so I didn’t. Here’s what I come up with in half an hour for Bounce:
If you want to see how I went about filling it out:
Fwiw, the most helpful thing so far was to really call out my problem statement. That has really helped to drive a lot of clarity into my customer value proposition. Now I’m looking forward to coming up with experiments to test these hypotheses.