If there was one key lesson Hawaii attendees took away with them during last night’s Startup Weekend Maui workshop, “Lean Startup Canvas,” it was know thy customer.
Presented by Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB), the hands-on workshop led by Omar Sultan (Managing Partner) and Kate Matayoshi (Program Manager) of Sultan Ventures and XLR8HI brought clarity to the question, how will my business succeed.
According to Sultan, “The sad reality is 75 percent of businesses fail, and the main reason for this is they’ve created a product or solution that no one wants or there’s very little demand for. That’s why the lean methodology is so important. It shows you how to solve a problem, how to create a solution in the most economical way, and it helps you understand what your customers are actually looking for so you can avoid the common pitfalls that cause businesses to fail.”
“We live in a fast-paced technology driven age, even the needs of the customer is constantly changing, so making sure that businesses are ready for the change is critical,” said Matayoshi. “The lean methodology was meant to save you time, money, and resources to help you to get to the bottom of what your customers actually need so you can you distill it to something tangible, and then create a solution for it that’s unique and valuable. Ultimately, these steps will put you on the road to success.”
Among the topics workshop attendees learned was how to develop a new or existing business model; how to outline a firm’s or product’s value proposition, customers, and finances; and how to align and evaluate one’s business activities by recognizing potential trade-offs in a much easier and effective way.
Gary Albitz, a certified coach who has started six companies and will be coaching at next week’s Startup Weekend Maui, concurred with the information shared. “First, you find a need; then you develop a product for it; and then you follow it up with market research to see if the need is qualified and the products works for that solution.”
Kim Scott, owner of My Marsi, an app for vacation rentals, got familiar with the business canvas model when she attended her first Startup Weekend Maui in 2015. “It’s always great to have a refresher on this important topic as it strengthens and validates what I’m doing. It’s also good to review and pivot if needed.”
Another Startup Weekend Maui alumni, Eric Mallinson, who is looking to create a surf skate park called “Jungle Beach” commented, “I like to support the community and see what’s new. I always gain something by participating in these events.”
Melissa Kreikemeier of 808 Editorial, a copy, editing and writing company, shared, “I hope to figure out what I need to plan for and how to measure metrics so I can scale my business.”
Startup Weekend Maui is part of a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs with various skill sets who are determined to learn the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. The Startup Weekend movement is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with over 2,900 past events in 150 countries around the world.
The Startup Weekend Maui Series is presented by Maui Economic Development Board. Sponsored by County of Maui, Mayor’s Office of Economic Development, Hawaiʻi SCORE, HTDC, Maui Brewing Company, The Maui News, Pacific Media Group, Startup Capital Ventures, Sultan Ventures, University of Hawaiʻi Maui College, and XLR8HI.