StartUp Founders: Imagine Your Solution Without Technology (User Journey Mapping)

Discover the power of manual processes in understanding your core product and improving user experience, ultimately leading to startup success.

As a startup consultant, James Sinclair provides valuable advice to first-time founders on how to build a successful business. One of his key pieces of advice is to think about how you would run your business manually, without any technology or automation involved. By doing so, you can create a user flow and journey that will help you understand the core product and identify the technical solutions you need to deliver it at scale.

Sinclair provides an example of a dog food subscription business to illustrate his point. He suggests that founders stand outside a pet store and ask customers if they would like the food delivered to their doorstep every week or month at the same price they pay at the store. After collecting the necessary information, they can manually deliver the food and stay in touch with the customers through phone calls, texts, and emails.

Once you have written out the workflow for your manual process, you can break it down into steps and create a user flow and journey. This will help you understand the steps you need to complete to deliver the task, and you can start thinking about the technical solutions you need to automate the process.

Sinclair emphasizes the importance of mapping out the user journey and understanding the customer’s experience. “Sometimes you just realize you miss a few bits and pieces when you jump straight into the solution, and you haven’t actually mapped the user journey out,” he says.

This advice is not just applicable to the dog food subscription business. Many successful companies have started with a manual process and a deep understanding of their customers’ needs. For example, Airbnb started with the founders renting out air mattresses in their apartment to people attending a conference when all the hotels were booked. By understanding the customer’s pain point and offering a simple solution, they were able to build a successful company that disrupted the hospitality industry.

In conclusion, thinking about your business from a manual process perspective can help you understand your core product, identify the technical solutions you need to automate it, and create a user flow and journey that will ensure a great customer experience. As Sinclair suggests, “Write it out as if you were going to do it manually, and then back into your product.”

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