Why Accountants Don’t Run Startups
Steve Blank wrote The Four Steps to the Epiphany to document 25 years of startup observations. According to Blank, accountants are great at large companies that already understand their customers. But at a startup, where you don’t yet know what the customer wants, it is more important to find a solid business model. Numbers only have meaning when you know what to measure.
Here are a few things Blank has learned over the years:
- Winning startups follow certain repeatable patterns of success.
- If we understand the patterns, we can choose a path that most likely leads to success.
- No business plan survives first contact with customers. A business plan is great for organizing your thoughts, but it’s all about what you think your customers want. And you don’t really know what customers want until you talk to them.
- Instead of creating a business plan, search for a business model. A business model shows how a company makes money. A business model changes as you learn more about customer desires.
- The purpose of a startup is to search for a business model.
- Once you find the business model, grow a company to leverage what you’ve learned about your customers.
Blank summarizes his ideas in this 44-minute video.
If you’re in the Chicago area and you want to learn more about customer development and lean startups, check out the Chicago Lean Startup Circle. The group consistently attracts a solid group of speakers, including:
- Investors (VC & angel)
- Entrepreneurs who’ve done startups before.
- Entrepreneurs who are doing startups now.
- Professionals for the team, including specialists in marketing, analytics, etc.
Chicagoans have always known how to launch and build successful companies. Time to step it up a knotch.