Startups: Applying lean methodology and business model canvas frameworks

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I’ve been recently asked by many and also I’m seeing similar qns on Quora and coursera entrepreneurship courses.If you are wondering what the question is . Its very simple. It goes along these lines…I have couple of ideas and/or I have shortlisted few of them. Now what do I do?

I was in the same boat multiple times and having been part of multiple startups as early employee and also as someone who failed once before while trying to start a consumer electronics before, I started following this lean methodology framework for my current digital healthcare startup (www.sensoryhealthsystems.com)

1. Download lean canvas ( http://www.leanlaunchlab.com) to understand UVP of your solution. Have only 1-2 strong UVP that is directly addressing the pain points and must-haves
2. Break down your idea into multiple questions and for each qn
a. Talk to atleast 25 people.
b. Get feedback
c. Validate the hypothesis

3. Next download the business model canvas and fill in the whole canvas
a. Next change the customer segment and see how it impacts the cost/revenue stream
b. Keep doing this for all customer segments. You can make some approximations in terms of how much you might want to charge.
c. Repeat the above expt with Distribution channels. For example, if you are making an app that is downloadable via app store or google playstore, then you have give away 35% of what you make..web version you dont give any..so figure out how the distribution channel affects your revenue
d. Figure out who you want to partner with and what the partnership costs are

4. Next depending on whats your customer demographics , figure out the below by running mkting/ad campaigns
a. User acquisition costs (CAC)
b. Figure out the life time value (LTV)
c. Make sure LTV > 3 x CAC at the min
d. Figure out what the funneling looks like and how long does it take to convert a single user to paying customer
e. Figure out how you plan to retain customer and how much does it cost over the life time value of the customer..

5. Build up MVP and iterate it by constantly getting feedback from your prospects…try to sell them and see if they would be interested…if they are not interested, dig deeper why they dont want to ..is it not addressing the pain point directly, they dont see much value for the price you are offering , usability of product sucks or steep learning curve, trust etc….

6. Get some informal medical advisory team who is expert and understands the value proposition of your offering. Get 2-3 mentors as well who can guide on business side …

7. Once all the above are done, then form your core team, get a cofounder or principal, CTO and get the beta out….

Feel free to ping me if you have any qns. Good Luck…

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My experience @ Founders Institute

Finally the day arrived . My company Sensory Health Systems graduated from the one of the worlds largest and finest startup accelerators “Founders Institute” . It was one of the most intensive program I have ever gone through and the key take away is ” Ideas are worthless unless thought , validated, derisked and executed well “. I went with a passion of doing chronic disease management app and I have pivoted at least a dozen times before I settled with my current idea of early detection platform for cardio-respiratory care . Without the expert mentors feedback and the weekly assignments aka company building activities , I would have easily wasted 2yrs of time and money. Every entrepreneur knows time is the essence of money and I’m grateful that I quickly learned from just 4 months.

The workshops , weekly company building assignments, group discussions and hot seats where everyone has to pitch in front of mentors/whole class really makes this a interesting program. There is lot of hard work and sweat involved. I was really stressed for time between full time job which involved working in 2 diff time zones , 2 kids under 3yrs and my spouse working for another startup. But what kept me going was the FI ecosystem of expert mentors and each of the mentor despite their busy schedule always responds and provides meaningful feedback . I never had the occasion where mentor would just say this doesnt work or this sucks. They always told me how best to go to my next stage.

Overall it was an awesome experience and I hope they will succeed in their mission . Like the way they are helping to achieve my mission, I would love to help them in achieving their mission as well. Good Luck FI.

If anyone has any second thoughts or has any question, please contact me via the comment section below.

Tips on how to do startup research in developing countries

Tips on how to do startup research in developing countries

1. Make a slide or small video ( max 1-2mts) explaining what you want to research or collect data
2. Hire college grads from the relevant discipline or by their interest and show them point 1 above. Guide them if they have any qns and ask them to get back to you every day end.
3. Create a survey at aytm.com (Ask your target market) and choose advanced/expert. Its bit expensive, but worth every penny. Make sure you clearly mention
what specific titles should the survey respondents have and also choose your demographics if needed. They match and verify using linkedin etc. Key to get good results is be specific in what you want and sit tight. Your research results will land in your inbox in next couple of days. I have personally used it and very happy with the results.
4. Learn how to use google operators and find out relevant information publicly available.
5. Learn how to leverage your professional and personal networks like linkedin and facebook . Create surveys and ask your network to fwd it to their connections. You will be surprised how fast you will get the results and how far you can reach.
6.Use Quora effectively.

If anyone has more tips for entrepreneurs, would love to hear from them.

Want to transform healthcare..Engage the patient first

The biggest change or revolution in healthcare will only happen when the patient is engaged. Most of the solutions I see in this area are very passive ..Its basically follows the old saying where you can take a horse to a lake , but cannot make it drink the water..You can only push so much. Yes, all the healthcare education, efforts in increasing awareness are all positive steps.

Unless , I misunderstood, one good part of the healthcare reform which Obama introduced was to give money to the patients to shop for the insurance that satisfied their needs. So, in the US healthcare system, where there are 4 parties involved, Individuals-Hospitals-Insurance-Employers with Insurance policy choices limited/controlled by the employer, now the employer can give the same money to the employee to shop around and select the best insurance plan. This complete changes the patient engagement . They are more proactive , will pay close attention to the costs and more likely they will invest their time in understanding preventive care.

Republished all popular posts back…

Recently my blog has been hacked and the wordpress sql db has been corrupted. For some reason, I had backup of everything else except the critical sql db which has all the posts and many useful comments/responses… I had many articles dating back to 2005…Its a big loss to me..Ofcourse lesson learned 🙂

Luckily, waybackmachine.org has come to my rescue. I was able to retrieve all my posts and republish them with the only caveat being all posts are with today’s date..I did’nt retrieve some of them as I felt its useless as they are not relevant given we are in 2012…

If you have bookmarked any article and I haven’t republished, let me know the article name/blog post and I will do the needful….

Lastly, I haven’t blogged for a while due to personal commitments, but will blog going forward. Also, I will be blogging now on healthcare, Wireless sensors, systems design, energy management .

Cisco Valet router or Fon 2.0N

Cisco Valet router or Fon 2.0N :

by kiran on Aug.02, 2010, under General, Technology

Should I buy “ease of setup” Cisco Valet router or “smart router which can get more things done with ease of setup” aka Fon 2.0N .

I’m not writing a PR for Fon 2.0N nor this is a marketing blog for Fonera. I’m working on home automation on a tighet budget and have been looking at various devices and saw the video from cisco valet routers and after reading through the specifications , I had this question: why buy Cisco Valet routers when you can do the same and get more things done for lesser price . I’m talking about the Fon 2.0N router from Fonera . I’m an happy Fon 2.0N user for over 8 months and the setup is a breeze so it should satisfy the networking newbies as well (defaults works as well ) and can create seperate network for outsiders/guests (meaning no need to share you private wireless SSID/WEP keys). So question is why someone should 150$ for just “ease of setup”.. Fon works on opensource and also downloads torrents, converts 3G to Wifi, is media/print server, can handle youtube/picasa/megaupload/rapidshare . It actually serves large audience including newbies/geeks/students/wireless enthusiasts .

check this link from networkworld newsletter where the author tells that linksys E-series routers from cisco itself does all the above with lesser price tag..Even then, Fon 2.0N should be a better choice.

Looks like Cisco is trying to appeal consumers with “ease of setup” as their pitch…but will they succeed or will this be yet another router from cisco…?

What I have to admit is, I liked the product design and from what I have seen, they seem to have avoided the usage of technical terms including “router” :) and they use wireless hot spots/internet access which helps many users though… Since I haven’t tried the router hands-on and my impression was based on the router specs and videos from cisco, I might be wrong as well. If anyone has hands-on experience , let me know or let me know if I’m missing something

-Kiran Bulusu, Semiconductors Expert, Technologist