An Introduction to Startup Methodologies

There are a handful of startup methodologies that every entrepreneur should familiarize themselved with. These concepts, widely accepted amongst tech startups, were developed by seasoned entrepreneurs to help fellow entrepreneurs avoid common mistakes.

The Business Model Canvas, developed by Alexander Osterwalder, is a framework for analyzing the different components of a business – it’s essentially a substitute for the traditional business plan, a long document that nobody will ever actually read.

The Customer Development methodology, developed by Steve Blank, is a scientific approach that can be applied to startups to improve the likelihood of their product success by developing a better understanding of the customer.

The Lean Startup method, developed by Eric Ries, was built on top of the Customer Development methodology, specificically with tech startups in mind. It focuses on testing hypothesis and quick iterations of product.

Take This Free Online Course

If you’re unfamiliar with the above concepts, the best place to start is Steve Blank’s Udacity course, How to Build a Startup. This course covers both the business model canvas and the customer development methodology.

Another great free course can be found on Udemy called Build. Measure. Learn. Lean Startup SXSW 2012. These are recordings from the Lean Startup Track at SXSW Interactive 2012 with Eric Ries, Dave McClure, and other great startup founders.

Check Out These Books

You can learn more about the Business Model Canvas by visiting the website, where you can purchase the book and download the Canvas for free. Every entrepreneur should go through the process of filling out a the Business Model Canvas at least once!

If you’re going to read one book on Customer Development, it should be Steve Blank’s book, The Startup Owner’s Manual: The Step-by-Step Guide for Building a Great Company. It’s a more detailed and readable version of his first book, The Four Steps to Epiphany.

Check out the Lean Startup website, where you can learn about basic principles and check out some great case studies listed. You should also purchase the book, which many would tell you is a must read for any technology entrepreneur.

In-Person Learning

There are a few in-person courses designed to help you apply these principles to your business. The Lean Startup Machine is a three-day workshop that’s been going on for a while. SW NEXT is a similar course that meets once a week for 5 weeks, developed in conjunction by Startup Weekend, Steve Blank, and Udemy. Both courses force you to “get out of the building” and talk to customers, which can be difficult without a little push.

For a more casual opportunity to connect with people, check out the Los Angeles Lean Startup Circle Meetup. You might as well know name Patrick Vlaskovits, our local “Lean Expert”, co-organizer of the LA Lean Startup Circle, and co-author of the books The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Customer Development and The Lean Entrepreneur.

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