Business Posts

The Lean Startup

A major part of the mission of NaperLaunch is to foster business success. Our intent is to help business founders find the information they need to be successful in launching and operating a business.

We believe in a process-driven approach to make certain that important steps and issues are at least thought through and considered, if not fully executed. Over the years we have adopted some basic concepts from the best thinkers in the world of entrepreneurship. Those concepts are at the core of the startup process we try to follow.

Many of the concepts we adopted are based on the idea of “lean startup,” originated by Steve Blank and enhanced over many years by Eric Ries and others. We have also tried to adopt the concepts of the Lean Business Model Canvas originally put forth by Ash Mauriya. Each of these key thought leaders has authored books on the subject, all of which are available at the Naperville Public Library.

To bring a new offering to market, we always encourage a startup founder to consider what Eric Ries calls the Build-Measure-Feedback loop. This process is all about identifying a customer need and preparing a solution, which becomes your product or service. Once a minimum viable product is created, it is time to measure customer reactions and obtain feedback. Based on these steps, a founder learns quickly what will be successful and what will not. As feedback is received, a needed pivot may be revealed. This leads to a more perfect match of the market need to the product–market and product fit. The lean startup process gets to market match, market success and potential scale-up more quickly than other approaches.

To learn more about these concepts, please see The Lean Startup website.

If you are a startup founder interested in a curriculum of study in this process-driven lean startup approach, check out the NaperLaunch Academy. Our next six-workshop series begins on Tuesday, October 20. For more information and to register, visit our website.

We wish you much success in your entrepreneurial journey!


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The Four Steps to the Epiphany: Successful Strategies for Products that Win by Steve Blank

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The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

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Running Lean: Iterate from Plan A to a Plan That Works by Ash Maurya


Posted: 
Friday, October 9, 2020 - 12:30

NaperLaunch Academy Offers New Options for Accessing Business Startup Curriculum

More than 100 entrepreneurs have attended NaperLaunch Academy to develop fundamental business knowledge and learn the “lean startup process.” To meet the needs of busy entrepreneurs, the Academy curriculum is now available in two formats: live workshops or self-guided virtual courses.

Live Workshops

Beginning August 11, SCORE mentors and NaperLaunch staff will present the Academy curriculum in a series of six 2-hour workshops, which will be offered in an ongoing, sequential rotation. Participants may choose to attend some or all of the following workshops in the sequence that best meets their needs.

  • Business Conceptualization
  • Startup Financial Issues
  • Business Operations
  • Business Planning
  • Strategic Marketing Planning
  • Sales

This fall, workshops will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesdays from August 11 to September 15, and on Wednesdays from September 23 to October 28. Workshops will take place via Zoom videoconference until further notice.

More information, including course descriptions and registration information, can be found on the NaperLaunch Academy webpage.

Self-Guided Virtual Courses

In addition, the original 17 NaperLaunch Academy class sessions are available virtually on the NaperLaunch BizVids webpage. Participants can work through the courses on their own schedule. Sessions were videorecorded during a previous NaperLaunch Academy cohort and are provided with links to handouts and PowerPoint presentations.

Posted: 
Tuesday, July 28, 2020 - 16:00

NaperLaunch Offers New Programs, Same Great Peer Learning and One-on-One Mentoring

With the new year comes some exciting new developments at NaperLaunch. In March, we’ll debut some updates to the format, schedule, and content of our programs. These changes reflect the latest evolution of our continued efforts to serve the needs of Naperville-area entrepreneurs and small business owners. While some of our programs may look different, our commitment to meeting business owners where they are remains the same. Here’s a look at what’s new, and what won’t change, at NaperLaunch in 2020.


What’s new?

To accommodate the increasing number of entrepreneurs interested in participating in the NaperLaunch Academy, as well as requests from established small business owners seeking opportunities to interact with their peers, we’re revamping our morning and evening programming:

Expanded NaperLaunch Academy offerings

Beginning in March with cohort 10, we will be running concurrent NaperLaunch Academy cohorts on two different nights, with staggered start dates. This will allow us to offer more cohorts per year, reducing wait time for prospective Academy participants. We’ve also consolidated our marketing series workshop content into a new NaperLaunch Academy course, Write a Strategic Marketing Plan, that offers attendees a comprehensive view of marketing rather than focusing on a single platform or tool. The current Academy cohort is the first to include the new course.

New master mind groups

Intended for businesses that are past the startup stage and actively producing revenue, master mind groups allow participants to gain insights from one another’s accumulated knowledge and experience. Group members will become intimately acquainted with the business models and plans of each participant. Expert advisors will also be on hand to add insights to the conversation in each meeting. Each master mind meeting will follow an agenda and each member of the group is expected to actively participate. Registration is ongoing; each group will be limited to 15 participants.


What hasn’t changed?

Serving the unique needs of individual entrepreneurs and small businesses is at the heart of everything we offer at NaperLaunch. In 2020, we will continue to meet our members where they are, offering opportunities for business owners at every stage to learn from the experience of their peers and from expert advisors. These include:

Peer learning opportunities

NaperLaunch will continue to offer a variety of ways for entrepreneurs at all stages of business development to learn from each other. These opportunities include monthly SCORE Business Roundtable discussions, moderated by volunteer mentors from SCORE Fox Valley and open to everyone, with no advance registration required, as well as bimonthly SCORE Women’s Business Roundtables, where women business owners, startups and entrepreneurs come together to discuss business challenges and opportunities through a mix of moderated open discussions as well as presentations on topics of interest to group members. In addition, our quarterly Pitch Sessions will continue to allow entrepreneurs to practice their pitch and get immediate feedback and coaching from peers. Registration is required to pitch; no registration is needed to observe and give feedback.

One-on-one mentoring

All of the programs and services offered at NaperLaunch are developed in partnership with Fox Valley SCORE. SCORE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides free business mentoring services to entrepreneurs in the United States. SCORE mentors provide customized assistance to help start or grow a business. SCORE mentors hold office hours at NaperLaunch, participate in events, and accept appointments for individual mentoring sessions. Each NaperLaunch Academy student is assigned a SCORE mentor who works closely with them throughout the program.

In addition to business coaching from SCORE mentors, NaperLaunch members have access to Business Services librarians, who can provide an orientation to the library’s business resources, help with registering a corporation or limited liability company, and assist with researching industries and target markets.


We look forward to hearing what you think of the changes we’re making. Call or email us, interact with us on social media, or stop by the library and visit us in person.

Posted: 
Wednesday, January 22, 2020 - 12:15