• Introduction - Start Here
  • Section 1: Planning Your Business

    In the first section, Planning Your Business, you will learn how to find your customers, how to create a value proposition (a product that customers want) and how to build a business model around it. You will also learn how to use your startup to test your business model quickly and cheaply, and how to make necessary changes.

  • Section 2: FUNDING Your Business

    In the second section, Funding Your Business, you’ll learn how to test your startup like an investor. You’ll also better understand how venture capital works.

  • Section 3: PRESENTING Your Business

    In the third section, Presenting Your Business, you’ll learn how to present your startup to investors and customers.

  • Resources

    Finally, the Resources section at the end contains a glossary and reading list to help you on your journey from an idea to a profitable business.

  • Primer Demo Day

1.2 From idea to solution

1.2 From idea to solution




As we emphasized earlier, finding your customers is the most important step when building a startup. But once you have some potential customers you can talk to about your idea, it’s time to start transforming that idea into a product or service—a solution.


There are two very valuable tools you will use when turning your idea into a startup, and your startup into a business: the Value Proposition Canvas and the Business Model Canvas. Both of these were developed by some very smart people at a company called Strategyzer in the books Value Proposition Design and Business Model Generation, written by Alex Osterwalder and his team.


In this chapter, we’ll start with Value Proposition Design: what is it, how you can use it, and how the Value Proposition Canvas can help you find your customer and design your solution.


But first, let’s explain the specific vocabulary that’s used throughout these books, as it might be unfamiliar to many readers. We will use this vocabulary throughout Sections 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, and 1.6.