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Increase your development success rate with a Lean start-up

Full stack and start-up engineer in Deloitte
・5 min read

personal development that fails.

I've made a number of products in the past as a personal development hobby.
I wanted a lot of users, and hoped to monetize them eventually, but unfortunately, they were only used by a small number of people for a short time, and we couldn't envision the future.
We tend to do things in personal development like "I had a good idea, so I just started making it" or "I just made it without a customer". I think it's a common mistake to end up with no one using your idea or customer because you didn't pack it in the first place.
That's fine in terms of developing a hobby or improving your skills, but if you have a desire to turn it into a business, you may need to rethink it.
If you're attacking an area that no one else sees as an issue, or if your solution isn't attractive enough for users to pay for, you're not going to be able to retain users, much less monetize them.
One of the methodologies for increasing the success rate of a product is the Lean Startup.
I would like to enumerate the things you should do before actually developing it with reference to it.

What is Lean Startup?

Lean means "waste-free and efficient," and Lean Startup is a methodology for eliminating the waste of time, effort, resources, and passion that comes with developing products and services that are worthless to customers in the minds of business owners. It is characterized by a minimum cost and a short cycle to find out the needs of the user by repeatedly testing the hypothesis.

What should you do before you develop a product?

1, Find a customer.

If the customer doesn't exist first, the service won't be used. Start by finding your customers. You need to find out where your customers are.
Decide on your target customer segment and make sure you can actually contact people in that segment, even if it's just a few people.

2, Find out what the customer has to do (JOB)

The customer has something to do (JOB). That's why needs arise because we are in need of something or want something.
Since the customer's needs are mostly in a non-verbal state, you need to explore them through interviews.
It's straightforward: "Is there anything you want? or "Will this solution I have in mind help you? If you ask, "What do you need?", you may not be able to properly understand your needs.
So the interview starts with understanding the client's **JOB

  • What are the challenges?
  • Does the issue matter? Why do you think that?
  • How much opportunity loss, increased costs, stress, etc. are caused by it?
  • What solutions are you currently using to meet those challenges?
  • Is the solution appropriate? What other options do you have?
  • What is the satisfaction level of each solution? Hear more about the good and the bad.

By asking questions like the above, you can see what your customers need to do, what challenges they have, and what solutions they are currently using.
This is where we come up with solutions to solve the customer's problems.

3, Do a problem-solving fit

Even if you come up with a solution that solves a customer's problem, it is only a hypothesis as to whether it can actually solve the problem.
If it doesn't make the user want to actually pay to use it, then it's likely not solving the problem.
When you make an offer to a customer, you decide if they will agree to it or not.
The offer will be presented in three parts. First, a one word proposition of what the user is looking for, then a demo of mocks, videos, etc. that actually move the customer's journey forward, and finally a price model.
Repeat the offer presentation with user interviews to determine the actual MVP to be made.

4, Draw a business model

After deciding on the direction of the service to be developed, we will draw a business model.
There's a framework called Lean Canvas.

The Lean Canvas fills in the following nine items to get an overall picture of your business model.

  1. Subject.
  2. Customer segment 3、Unique value proposition
  3. Solutions
  4. Channel (how to approach the target)
  5. Revenue stream
  6. Cost structure
  7. Key Indicators
  8. Overwhelming superiority.

5. Actual production (product market fit)

Now that we've gotten this far, let's finally start developing the service!
This development phase is called Product Market Fit.
The purpose is the phase** of demonstrating whether a "service that customers are willing to pay for" actually produces money.
However, it is not always the case that if you don't actually generate money here, it is a failure. Some business models convert advertising costs and user-generated content into monetary value, which can only happen if you have a certain number of users.
Therefore, it is acceptable to use other alternative indicators. You can see if your service is sticking with your customers by, for example, conversion rates from landing pages to membership signups and user retention rates.

You don't need a lot of users to validate your business model. Therefore, there is no need for extensive publicity. When a new machine is installed in a factory, it is not suddenly put into full operation. Initially, we do a few tests and when we find that it works, we gradually increase the production volume.
Apparently, Facebook initially launched only at Harvard University instead of going global. By limiting the scope of their launch, they focused on improving the product and added more universities to use it one by one.
In this way, once we have confirmed the reproducibility of the product's market fit phase, we can expand our services in this way.


I used to innocently think that if you create something interesting, you will get buzz and be a big success, so when I came across this Lean Startup methodology, it really opened my eyes.
Currently, I'm personally working with one designer and two engineers on a service for travelers "Travel Through", and I'm reflecting on the fact that I created the product at a stage where the business model and customer development were rather lax.
From now on, I would like to turn around, find the issues of the customers, and recreate the business model from scratch.
Let's do some fun personal development for reference!

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