The StartUp Process

Launching a business is about finding a scalable, repeatable, and profitable model, before running out of money. There are proven success drivers and processes to do this.

The StartUp Winona State program is based on Lean Startup, which is a proven, evidence-based process developed at Stanford University that is used by organizations and individuals worldwide.

Share your idea with us. We’ll help you turn it into reality by working through The Startup Process--wherever you’re at in your startup journey.

This is where it all starts. You’ve kicked an idea around with friends, family, or coworkers and decided it may be worth investigating further.

But you’re not sure what next steps to take, what a startup experience is like, how to do it, and what help is available.

You do know you want and are able to put in time and energy to see if your idea can turn into something meaningful.

Your StartUp experience gets real as you start getting into key success drivers and details.

  • What is the problem you’re solving?
  • Is it big and important enough that people will pay for it?
  • What is the specific solution?
  • Will it solve the problem?
  • Can it be developed?
  • What is your Unique Value?

You'll develop hypotheses that you’ll test and refine in the Discovery and Validation phases.

Key Assets

In this phase, you'll develop assets with the help of coaches and mentors such as:

  • 1-pager document on the Problem, Solution and Unique Value
  • 30-second Opportunity Pitch
  • Business model
  • Market description

Focusing on market engagement, you’ll create and execute tests validating hypotheses you put together in the Formation stage.

The goal here is develop a working solution and business concept together.

  • What insight do I need to move forward?
  • What’s the simplest test I can run to get it?
  • How do I run the test?

Key Assets

In this phase, you'll develop key assets including:

  • Prototype or proof-of-concept
  • Discovery Plan
  • Interview questions
  • Funding or a plan to get funding

The Validation phase is focused on confirming a Go-To-Market (GTM) model by more testing, assessment and refinement.

As you process the feedback, you'll document a GTM model for the solution and business.

You'll have a minimum viable product or a clear plan on developing one. Ideally, you have initial, paying customers actively using the solution.

Key Assets

In this phase, you'll develop assets like:

  • Minimum viable product (MVP)
  • GTM model, timeline, and budget
  • Funding or a plan to get funding
  • Pitch deck

It's time to execute your GTM plan now that you've:

  • Validated a GTM plan
  • Developed an MVP solution and business model
  • Captured early customers and initial revenue
  • Firmed up funding (as needed)
  • Created a solid budget for the next 12-18 months
  • Established the business development and operations infrastructure to support initial launch

You’re ready to confidently launch the business.

Key Assets

As you prepare to launch your new startup, know that the people, organizations, partners, advisors, funders, customers and others who helped you through the StartUp Process are supporting you.