Announcing the Spring Nonprofit Accelerator Cohort

I am proud to announce the Lean Innovation Institute‘s Spring 2018 Nonprofit Accelerator Cohort. Classes began back in March and, wow, the energy and dedication in the room is almost identical to what I saw in the VVM Startup Accelerator! These are leaders boldly seeking new ways to create sustainable, unrestricted revenue that furthers their missions. I am privileged to have such great students.

The organizations these students hail from are:

www.humanserviceforum.org

www.rise-at.com

www.rsi.org

www.thetechfoundry.org

www.viability.org

Yup, they have two teams in :).

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$200k Raised by 1st Nonprofit Accelerator Grad

Last summer I ran a pilot Nonprofit Accelerator with one large local nonprofit (name withheld until they give permission to share :)). Their core business is not education. Yet, over the years they developed a powerful curriculum that worked. They came to me wondering “is this a A) nice program we can slowly expand here in the Valley, or B) something with the potential to impact hundreds of thousands of children around the country and bring in millions of dollars of unrestricted revenue for us?”

That was a great question!

We spent six months working through the Lean Innovation curriculum. Their team knew a lot of things, but there was a lot they didn’t know… like who was going to pay? How Why would they pay? How much would they pay?

I am proud to share that on graduation day they pitched to their board and a group of potential funders. By the end of the night they had commitments for over $200k to fuel a pilot.

I can’t wait to see what our next Nonprofit Accelerator cohort will do!

KISS Canvas 8. Value Models

[This is a part of a series on the KISS Canvas]

What price should you charge for your product? How should people pay you? What value do non-paying customers provide you? All of this is covered in the Value & Revenue model column of the KISS Canvas.

Here is each sub-lesson:

  1. Intro
  2. Every customer segment pays
  3. Understand customer expectations
  4. Know your models
  5. Choose your pricing strategy carefully
  6. Discover your price point(s)
  7. Summary

Check out more KISS Canvas Content.

Best Practices for Customer Discovery

At the heart of lean innovation is “getting out of the building” to test your ideas on real live humans! The fastest, cheapest, and most effective way to experiment is with simple interviews. Getting, and then completing, those interviews can be scary as heck for a lot of first-time entrepreneurs. It need not.

Here are some tools I use with all of my students to help them find people to interview, secure those interviews, and walk away with the most accurate data possible.

  1. Short lecture on best practices in customer development interviewing (note this is a playlist, so keep listening after the first one is done :))
  2. Scripts for Finding & Securing Interviews
  3. Script for Discovery Interviews (when you aren’t really sure what your customer’s pains are and want to cast a wide net)
  4. Script for Pain Interviews (when you are ready to test specific pain hypotheses)
  5. Script for Solution Interviews (when you are ready to put a minimum viable product / prototype in front of a customer for feedback on your value proposition)

KISS Canvas 7. Grow (Research & Development)

[This is a part of a series on the KISS Canvas]

If your flagship product is a success, what next? This section of the canvas helps you think through what new products you might offer and what new customer segments you might approach. This video explains some of the core concepts…

Here is each sub-lesson:

  1. Intro
  2. Add “sizes”
  3. Solve your customer’s other problems
  4. Bring your existing product to new customer segments
  5. Summary

Check out more KISS Canvas Content.

Startup valuation, the Seraf Method

The Angel Capital Association put out this interesting piece on a new method for startup valuation, the Saraf Method.

Short Version:

Full article

KISS Canvas: 6. Keep (Customer Retention)

[This is a part of a series on the KISS Canvas]

This section of the canvas helps you think through customer retention. Once you a customer purchases your product, how do you prove to them you have kept your promises?

Here is each sub-lesson:

  1. Intro & Keeping your customers is the right and smart thing to do
  2. Make your benefits visible
  3. Scorecards make benefits visible
  4. Summary

Check out more KISS Canvas Content.