The lean movement has become the rallying cry of entrepreneurs everywhere, keeping enterprise product managers on their toes as they try to understand how, or even if, they should be implementing the iterative learning methodology into their processes.
But beyond supposedly leading to ‘more innovativeness’ more efficiently, what does lean mean for today’s product managers? By understanding where the term came from, I think product managers can better understand where it’s going, and how it impacts them.
At General Assembly we’re always finding new ways to evolve our offerings and grow our global community of individuals empowered to pursue the work they love. To that end, we’re thrilled to announce that the first two volumes of our new, original book series, The Practitioner’s Guide, have been published.
In this series, you’ll get an introductory overview—including first-hand accounts, lessons learned, and useful advice—from seasoned professionals working in the most relevant fields of the 21st century.
Whatever your notion of sales and sales people, the reality is it’s impossible to survive in business without making sales. But all sales tactics don’t have to be pushy, or take advantage of the gullibility or ignorance of others. In fact, the best ones do neither.
Sales, at its core, is all about connecting to those who need what you offer, and building mutually beneficial relationships. You can do this without being sleazy or unethical; you just have to find sales techniques that are comfortable for you. Here are some you can start putting into practice today.
The Business Model Canvas’s chief virtue is its transparency, and that transparency helps create focus. That said, to create a meaningful and worthwhile take on the Canvas, you want some depth. Here we’ll walk through 3 steps that will help you dig deep into what your business is about and how to frame that using the Canvas.
What is the Canvas
The Business Model Canvas is a tool for articulating and innovating business models. It has the nine blocks shown below. You can probably sit down right now and fill out a version of it for your business.
If you’re prefer something printable, here’s a PDF.
Depot Town, Michigan. Image source: Cmadler via Wikimedia Commons
In today’s virtual world, the next great business idea need not come from California’s Silicon Valley or New York City’s Silicon Alley. It could come from a silicon cornfield, digital bayou, or mobile rustbelt in any one of thousands of tiny rural regions or small towns across America, towns that may have lost a past glory or never thrived because of a lack of employment opportunities. With online learning programs offering the ability to train adults to do in-demand careers, people throughout the country now have the same inroads to specialized learning and potential innovation available to residents of big cities like New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, and Boston.
As one of the partners of a Ruby on Rails software development agency, I speak with dozens of non-technical startup founders every week who are in various stages of building their first web or mobile application. The range of technical acumen, willingness to learn, and time and resources varies widely among the group.
As a firm, we’re not just competing with other NYC based agencies for their business, but also offshore devshops, freelancers, and in some cases, the prospective client who may want to execute internally.
At the end of the day, a non-technical founder who has decided that they must build something has two options: Pay someone else, or partner with people. Below are the pros and cons.
Starting a company is hard, and finding reliable advice along the way can be even harder. There are thousands of entrepreneurs, investors, and bloggers who claim to be experts, churning out new business advice every day, but how can you trust that it’s advice worth taking?
We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite business blogs written by startup founders for aspiring entrepreneurs. These resources offer practical advice that is bound to keep you well-informed and inspired as you follow your business dreams.
It’s Official: LinkedIn has emerged to claim its place as the better-dressed, networking-savvy big brother of all social media platforms. Although you may already appreciate the site for its infinite utility during a job search, there’s even more to be gleaned by following the influential and thought-provoking CEOs who come there to share their wisdom.
Although fewer than 1/3 of Top 500 CEOs use social media, according to Forbes, those that do are overwhelmingly active on LinkedIn. Even more telling, the site is actually more popular with CEOs than it is with the general public.
Meet Alex Cowan, entrepreneur (5x), intrapreneur (1x), author, and instructor at General Assembly. He’s also the author of ‘Starting a Tech Business’. When he’s not teaching at GA, he’s often found advising companies and posting instructional materials for innovators and instructions on alexandercowan.com.
I’m always pushing myself to be the best possible product person I can be, and these days I tend to earn a lot through my work as an instructor. My classes are on the interdisciplinary topics of product design and venture creation, so I get to work with business people wanting to understand the technical side and engineers wanting to learn the business side.
Often times, students from the business side are thinking of learning to code and students from the engineering side are thinking of going to get an MBA. While both might be advisable in certain situations, I’ve found that there are a few simple foundation skills that drive the interdisciplinary cooperation at the heart of so many successful projects: