The i4 Group utilizes a variety of proven tools and methods specifically for startup consulting engagements. Clients begin with a business assessment and then proceed with a combination of services using advanced methodologies such as these.
The key methods used by The i4 Group for startup strategy consulting include Business Model Canvas, Lean Startup, and Design Thinking.
> Business Model Canvas
The approach of Business Model Generation emphasizes the idea that a new business can exist when a model for its value creation becomes apparent. In this sense, it is an excellent tool for bringing together the concepts of Lean Startup. The indicators to be assessed in this process include:
- Value Propositions
- Key Activities
- Key Partners
- Key Resources
- Customer Relationships
- Customer Segments
- Customer Channels
- Cost Structure
- Revenue Streams
> Lean Startup
The lean startup concept radically rethinks the traditional assumptions of startup management and strategy. Whereas in the past, most startups in the technology space developed a specific product strategy and committed fully to it before commencing development, Lean Startup takes a different approach. Key components include:
- Strategy – Focused on devising, testing, iterating and adjusting the business model.
- Product – Intensive engagement with customers from the earliest stages.
- Engineering – Agile, iterative and incremental development model.
- Organization – Focused on customer, quick learning approach, nimble and fast.
- Financials – Customer acquisition cost, lifetime customer value, churn, stickiness/viralness.
- Failure – Expected, fixable via new variations and approaches. Key response is to pivot.
- Speed – Rapid evolution, uses ‘good enough’ data to make quick decisions and change.
Key concepts of the methodology include the Business Model Canvas (BMC), Validated Learning and the Validation Board, Minimum Viable Product (MVP), continuous depoyment of code, split testing (A/B Testing), choosing actionable metrics over vanity metrics, and creating a continuous innovation model within the business. Measurement methods include funnel analysis, cohort analysis, net promoter score, predictive monitoring and usability testing through a customer liaison process.
> Design Thinking
The methodology behind design thinking recognizes that business problems often remain unsolved or ineffectively addressed because there is no overarching design philosophy in place. Traditional analytical thinking (starting with the problem and working down to possible solutions) is considered the opposite approach to design thinking, which starts with a concept and builds up through a range of ideas and possibilities. In both cases, the process begins with defining and researching the problem, but in design thinking, the third step and subsequent steps align with creative concepts rather than root-cause analysis or other downward-facing approaches. The steps in design thinking include:
As a result, the design thinking approach is well aligned with Lean Startup , since creativity, rapid adjustment and ongoing evolution are hallmarks of both.