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How to Use Fluent’s FLEX Planner (3:43)

While Fluent’s Founder Roadmap was all about focus, the Fluent FLEX Planner helps take that focus and turn it into something actionable.

The FLEX planner is broken up into a number of bite-size parts that are easy to fill in as you design and then report on your experiment(s) for the week.

First, the FLEX Planner starts with the stage in the Roadmap and the focus area that the company is currently at. For example, if the company is in the Grow stage you drill down into the questions in that section and ask which one is your focus that week; perhaps it is figuring out what is the repeatable scalable process for creating customers.

Now that we know our focus on the Roadmap, we can easily build the next piece, which is the riskiest assumption.

At Fluent, we believe that a startup is just a set of assumptions that we believe to be true about a business, but, ultimately, it is on us as founders to de-risk and understand the answers to those assumptions. We can start by making sure that we are moving in the right direction by identifying what is the riskiest thing about your business about which, if you are wrong, ultimately the whole thing will fall apart. That riskiest assumption is going to relate directly to your stage of the Founder Roadmap.

Once you know what the riskiest assumption is and on which stage of the Founder Roadmap you are focused, you need to build an experiment to find out if you are right or wrong about that assumption. That is the hypothesis.

Yup, we are taking it back to seventh grade science class to write a simple if/then statement. Your hypothesis will bring focus to your work for the week and guide you to know how to gather and interpret data. The results of your tiny, fast experiment will help you make a decision on whether you are right or wrong about that riskiest assumption.

What is your repeatable action, what is your metric, and what is the expected outcome?

Let’s look at a super simple example hypothesis. If I offer a 20% discount for sharing my product on social media, then I'll get a 30% increase in new customers. By breaking it down to just one sentence, always with the three parts (repeatable action, metric, expected outcome), it is easy to then see and write in your FLEX the specific action steps to do to help us focus on getting this experiment done.

For this experiment, we need to identify consumers who might post on their social media, and then we need to create a brand prop sign or a poster. Next we need to take pictures with ambassadors so they have something to share on social media.

Now that we have set up the experiment, we run it QUICKLY, and then we collect the resultant data and analyze the results. The numbers should be simple and clear for a tiny, fast experiment; in this case, we took a picture with 20 customers, we scheduled 15 new product demos, and notably 10 of those scheduled demos came from one of the ambassadors.

It is important to hone in on your results using numbers. We want data to drive our decisions, not gut feeling. Because your customers have the answers, always! These tiny, fast experiments just help you ask your customers and measure their answers so you can better design your business model.

Your FLEX planner also makes room for analyzing what worked or did not work about the process and also to analyze the results. In our example, we might report in the FLEX that the ambassador strategy is solid. Changing a few things might be beneficial to improve our repeatable strategy that produces customers. The results indicate to us our NEXT STEPS: we need to identify the top influencers and build a persona around them, because that is far and away where the most traffic came from.

The focus that you get from the Founder Roadmap becomes actionable when you use our tool the FLEX Planner template to plan and execute each experiment.