I run an online service that has maintained it's size for the past year or two, but hasn't really grown beyond that. In my quest to improve the services, I've had a web developer and designer on retainer, constantly tweaking and improving the websites. But unsurprisingly, this has not really impacted on sales or profit much. I've been reading lean start up and have come to realise that: 1. I do not have a validated learning model in place. 2. I've been focusing on vanity metrics of profit and loss, but not on user growth, cohort analysis or growth metrics. My question is: a. Very broadly, how do I turn things around, and start experimenting to figure out whether it's time to pivot or jump ship? b. More specifically, how do I put the processes in place across my team to include experimenting into our culture. c. What if it doesn't work?
Its great to see that you are looking to adopt lean development methodologies to iterate and grow your business.
I have seen larger organizations that were actually stuck in their efforts to maintain/grow their business without experimenting on new concepts/opportunities. The result was a smaller nimbler startup that had been experimenting was able to disrupt & take market share.
Here are a few things you could try to introduce a culture of experimentation & constant learning of the market you operate in.
- Researching the market your online service operates in will yield ideas on potential trends, customer needs, pain points to solve etc that you can experiment on.
- Have a small team with flexibility to experiment via creation of prototypes /MVPs. These don't need a lot of full-out functionality. Think lean as in just a few web pages/ flows to address the identified needs
- Validate with a sample of current users or new set of users through a reachout, try A/B testing different concepts so you narrow down to the most valuable set of features/capabilities
You will learn a lot, and that is the best part where in if some of your concepts fail, atleast you learn about it sooner than later.
Happy to share more feedback over a call. There are several tools/methodologies that really support lean development. Feel free to reach out.