No Problems in Your Business Model is a Problem

A manager at Toyota is delivering a quarterly update to an executive. He’s enthusiastic because all the metrics are trending up and to the right. They shipped on time – sales, and customer satisfaction numbers are up too. The executive patiently listens until the manager is done and then asks: “So where are the problems?”

The manager explains that it was a great quarter and that there are no problems to report. The executive shakes his head and says: “No problems is problem”.

This is the famous Toyota “no problems is problem” story that is often retold by lean consultants to highlight one of the key tenets of running lean.

Business Model Canvas

Customers Need to Fire Something Before They Can Hire Your Product

I’ve previously described the importance of nailing your customer’s problem as the initial battle. But it’s about way more than just getting their attention. When you can describe your customer’s problems clearly and succinctly – even better than they can, there is an automatic transference where they believe you also have the solution for them. This is what Jay Abraham calls the “Strategy of Preeminence“. This same phenomenon is also at work at the doctor’s office where after correctly diagnosing you, you are more open to the prescription.

Playing Lean – The Game

This is a guest post written by Simen Fure Jørgensen. He runs a consulting firm, Iterate in Norway, and is the creator of a new board game, Playing Lean, that promises to teach Lean Startup principles.

Playing Lean

Are Entrepreneurs Born or Made?

I often get asked to weigh in on the age-old question of whether entrepreneurs are born or made? I believe that true entrepreneurs are born – not made. Startups are inherently uncertain and a lot like roller coasters. One day, you could be on top of the world, full of confidence, and believe that your […]

How to Model a Multi-sided Business

Today I am going to show you how to model a multi-sided business using a Lean Canvas. Products like Facebook, Google, Twitter, and YouTube all fall into this category. Unlike a direct business model where your users become your customers, a multi-sided business model is a multi-actor model where your users and customers are distinct segments.

Facebook model with numbers

The 50% Rule for Traction

If you’re starting a company, chances are you can build a product. Almost every failed startup has a product. What failed startups don’t have are enough customers. Justin Mares, Co-author of Traction shares lessons on when and how to pursue channel building while running lean in this guest post.


How to Test Whether Your Business Model is Worth Pursuing

Last time I emphasized getting specific on your revenue streams – down to the customer segment, pricing model, and customer lifetime assumptions. If you don’t have a “big enough” problem worth solving (that’s not even plausible on paper), then why expend any effort on it. In this post, I’m going to show you how to use these simple inputs to ballpark your business model and test whether it’s worth pursuing.

Inputs for Minimum Success Criteria

There is No Business Model Without Revenue

I created the Lean Canvas back in 2009 as a way to more effectively document my most critical business model assumptions for my products which were predominantly SaaS software products at the time.

Lean Canvas is now taught at over 200 universities (including high schools), close to 100 startup accelerators, and used at hundreds of businesses (including large enterprises). We just crossed the 125K users and 175K canvases mark with our online Lean Canvas tool.

But with expansion comes challenge.

Business Model Story

How to Make Running Lean a Habit

Keeping a locked knee (or a completely straight leg) is key for one-legged balancing yoga poses. A locked knee provides a solid foundation that keeps your foot grounded as you progress through the rest of the pose. I can’t help but draw a parallel to running lean where “locking your knees” corresponds to “tackling what’s riskiest in your business model”.