The Lean Launchpad… It’s Not Just for Startups

Guest Blog Post By Karen UtgoffKaren Utgoff, Karen Lauter Utgoff Consulting

For an established small business, introducing significant new products or services or entering new markets can be very difficult and uncertain. Traditional approaches to these significant growth initiatives require substantial additional work on the part of owners/employees as well as significant time and money before there is any clear indication of success; many business owners avoided these efforts because of the uncertainties and for fear of “upsetting the applecart.” However, ignoring them could put your business at risk from disruptive trends in markets, technologies, or customer needs and jeopardize your business’ long-term value. That’s why it’s important to make room for entrepreneurial activity in addition to business as usual.

While the Lean Launchpad methodology was developed to help technology startups find their product/market fit efficiently, it would be a mistake to dismiss it as only for startups. That said a new external venture is different from an internal venture within a successfully operating business. To adapt the methodology to an existing business, I have previously suggested a New Venture Manifesto for Small Businesses that parallels Steve Blank’s Customer Development Manifesto.

With this as background, I’m excited to be presenting “Right Products, Right Customers to Grow Your Business” at the Business Growth Center on September 17 and to share what I have learned using Lean Launchpad methods in a variety of settings. In addition to covering the basic tools and techniques that make the Lean Launchpad so useful, together we’ll consider special issues related to their use in a small business like yours and practice on a hypothetical case. Finally, come prepared with an idea for a new product or other high potential opportunity so that you can get a taste of applying Lean Launchpad methods to your own growth initiative before the evening is over.

For additional information about the Lean Launchpad methodology and Lean Startup movement:

  • Steve Blank’s blog
  • Business Model Canvas
  • Eric Reis: 10 Classic Strategies for a Fast User-Focused Company Reboot

Register now for “Right Products, Rights Customers to Grow Your Business” at the Business Growth Center (September 17, 6pm to 8pm); check-in, networking and refreshments at 5:30pm

The author is principal in Karen Lauter Utgoff Consulting, a market-oriented business strategy firm, which she founded in 1991.  She works with business owners, executives, scientists, and engineers to overcome fundamental business and marketing challenges in support of venture development and growth. In addition to her consulting practice, Karen has taught “Innovation and Entrepreneurship” at UMass Amherst, where she helped to integrate substantial portions of the Lean Launchpad approach into the course. Utgoff earned her MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. For more information:

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