At Pace. With Purpose. Getting Startups going.
Startups are notoriously difficult beasts to grow into places that create great products and services, provide jobs and flourish to reach their potential. Reports continually show the low survival rate of startup businesses, some claiming that as many as 80% of startups don't make it past their first 3 years of trading.
Of course, there are lots of reasons why startups don't 'make it'. A rapidly changing marketplace, or having too small a market, or running out of cash, co-founders falling out, failing to pivot, or pivoting to the wrong thing, rising costs, poor marketing, 'right-service-wrong-place', a loss of momentum, lack of investment opportunities... it's a complex picture.
Despite all these challenges the world is undergoing a startup boom, with the number of new businesses and people going freelance soaring during the recent pandemic. The crises of our times - climate, covid, social justice - are also driving the creation of purpose-driven enterprises to help tackle issues, creating an entrepreneurial response for the need to create a better future. Challenges continue to breed opportunities.
Through our work, we've always been a part of the startup scene in the UK, supporting entrepreneurs by providing coaching and mentoring, running workshops about customer journeys, giving guidance on innovation and how to stand out from the competition, as well as doing basic user research. Our passion has been to help businesses of any size to innovate and make them stand out, however much of our work with startups hasn't been tailored for them and their unique situations. So, we set out to explore how to best use our skills to develop something bespoke.
"How might we help startups move towards a workable model with tested viable products and services more quickly, or even fail more quickly?"
From our experience, we know design sprints can be a fantastic tool for developing and testing ideas quickly, and they can help businesses move towards their minimum viable product or service (MVP/MVS). They're also great for breaking that cycle of talking about what could be done, and moving it into prototyping and testing things in the real world, and working out what should be done. However, we also know that startups are often not in the position to spend up to a week focusing on one issue, nor do they typically have a team to bring together to help generate diverse ideas, and very few will have the money to bring someone in to help them go through a sprint process that will help.
With this in mind, we decided to adapt the process to make it affordable, less time consuming and suitable for micro-teams and solopreneurs; our very own Startup Sprint.
Find out more about the structure and costs of the Startup Sprint here.
From this sprint, startups will be able to move much more quickly towards launching their service or product, and with more confidence knowing that customers have been involved in its design. The exercises done during the sprint can be used time and again, too. They're invaluable tools in helping early-stage entrepreneurs make their breakthroughs and to keep focused on what they need to do.
As a result of startup sprints we've delivered, we've seen that startup entrepreneurs have been surprised at what they achieve in such a short space of time, as well as how it's given a fresh perspective on what they're doing (or, more to the point, how they're doing it). Many startups forget a crucial step in the early stages of developing their business; the need to engage with, and to listen to, their audience. The Startup Sprint is a great way to connect the business with the marketplace and to do it in a focused and constructive way.
We believe if startups do that, they'll have a much greater chance of success.