Sprint 0: Declaring the assumptions about the business (to be)
This post is part of a series of posts in One experiment a week project.
In my experience, one of the most overlooked practices in startups is declaring assumptions about the business. By aligning on these assumptions, not only can we find areas that we missed in our thinking, but we can also come up with a backlog of items to test and validate.
StitchEase Product vision:
For Crochet Enthusiasts who want to be able to create and use visual crochet charts, StitchEase is a web app that allows creating visual and written instructions for crochet patterns, taking visual notes on crochet patterns, and easily sharing patterns. Unlike competitors, StitchEase will utilize modern usability principles, will be accessible through a browser, and will be easy to learn.
Since one of the goals of my project is to validate the product-market fit and viability of this business, I decided to start my Sprint 0 with The Business Model Canvas and Value Chain Mapping. Since I haven’t done any formalized discovery activities yet, everything I post here is considered an assumption and is subject to validation and change.
There are at least two different audiences important for the success of an app like this.
Casual Crocheters want to find unique designs and recreate them easily.
Casual Crocheters comprise the biggest segment in the crocheting ecosystem. They consider crocheting their hobby. Typically, they would find crochet patterns online or in print media, buy or download them for free. While they don’t usually create patterns, they might need to take visual notes on patterns in progress. The ease of finding new and unique patterns is important because working the same patterns repeatedly gets repetitive and boring.
We’re probably going to segment this audience further in the later stages of the project (Beginner Crocheters, Seasoned Crocheters, etc.)
Crochet Designers want to support their living with crochet
Crochet Designers are the Content Creators of this ecosystem. For some of them, crocheting unique pieces, creating and selling crochet patterns is the only source of income. They want to develop and distribute designs as efficiently as possible while reaching the widest audience.
Crochet Designers — key to unlocking the value for Casual Crocheters, Yarn Manufacturers, and Pattern repositories
The rest of the ecosystem relies heavily on Crochet Designer and the unique design patterns they create:
- Casual Crocheters seek unique design patterns to recreate
- Pattern sharing websites (repositories) attract Casual Crocheters by distributing large numbers of unique crochet patterns
- Pattern repositories sell access to Casual Crocheters to Advertisers and Yarn Manufactures
- Pattern repositories also allow Crochet Designers to sell their patterns online (usually, for a small fee transaction fee)
- Yarn Manufacturers partner with Crochet Designers to create unique designs featuring their yarns. Crochet Designers get paid through affiliate links
Do Crochet Designers need an app for creating crochet patterns?
Understanding the needs of Crochet Designers seems to be the most important next step for this project. While there’s a few adjacent areas that may be interesting for the future of this project, I’m curious if a straightforward value proposition of a visual editor for crochet patterns will find its audience. So for the next step, I want to run the following experiment:
- Setup a landing page for the app with a dedicated domain
- Landing page should have a sign up form to collect emails from people interested in participating in user interviews
- Run a Google ads campaign driving users to the Landing page
Metrics I’d want to track:
- How many people saw the ad — this would tell me how many users are looking for something like that
- How many people clicked the ad — this is a higher engagement, so it would indicate a higher level of interest from the audience
- How many people signed up to participate in interviews — these would be the most valuable leads, indicating not only the interest, but also a higher commitment form the audience
Ways to extend or modify the experiment:
- Consider adding some mockups to the landing page
- Consider different ways of talking about the value proposition
- Consider posting links directly on social websites (Ravelry?)
Stay tuned for the results!