What we do at Seven Beaufort

How we help businesses to design, build, implement, and grow products, services, and business models.

After reading this article, you'll know more about:

  • What we do at Seven Beaufort within Growth, Innovation & Digital
  • What our 4-wheeled methodology is about
  • When developing products & services it all starts at the end, and at the same time it might end at the start
  • It's about making sure you're doing the right things, before you do the things right
Seven Beaufort Project Cycle.jpg

Seven Beaufort offers 3 main consultancy services: growth, innovation, and digital. It was on our very first company off-site at the Belgian seaside that we had an ‘aha’-moment gluing these services together, which led to the birth of our 4-wheeled methodology.

We approach our clients’ challenges and opportunities by getting out of the building and diving into customer, consumer, patient, passenger or any stakeholders' mindsets through the means of Design Thinking. Next, we validate our findings and solution both quantitatively and qualitatively through business experiments following Lean Startup principles. Then, we build and implement these (digital) products, services, or business models in an Agile way, through small increments. Finally, we aim for sustainable growth for our clients' products and services through a Growth Hacking approach.

Start of the cycle - Design Thinking

Design Thinking.png

Did you know it all starts at the end, and that at the same time it might end at the start?

The end? you might ask yourself. Yes, the end, the point where you reach the end-user. It is with that end-user that your business starts. Also, it is at that point that you either succeed or fail as a business.

What if you could design to what that end-user wants?

Design thinking starts with empathizing with the one you are creating a solution for. Keep the following in mind: put yourself into the shoes of your customer. From there you can define your customer’s problem or need before you start designing a product, service, process, or experience, making sure that what you design is a solution to something for someone. This is what the first part of our methodology is about, making sure you're doing the right things.

At this point, the business case of your solution is still very unclear. It is merely based on assumptions. You assume your product, service, process, or experience is a solution to or creates value for a user that you identified. You assume that this user is willing to pay for the solution and that you can create a viable business around it. The only aspect you might be certain of already is whether this solution can be technically made. Before you start to make any investment, you should determine your total addressable market, making sure that it is substantial enough to justify the investment.

Second part – Lean startup

Lean Startup.png

What if you could predict your success upfront, before making any investments?

The lean startup approach can be used to validate assumptions upfront. The only investment you will need is your own time. You can test the desirability of a solution and the viability of the business around it by performing validation experiments. Such an experiment starts with the formulation of a clear assumption. From there you can go through the lean startup loop of assuming – building – measuring – and learning. When closing the loop, you will have the data and insights you need to make justified decisions regarding your idea, you can either validate or refute your tested assumption. The ‘building’ doesn’t necessarily mean you have to build the actual solution. To save time and money you can make a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) in the form of mock-ups, renders, sketches, landing pages, and many other representations of the actual solution.

At this point, your solutions’ success (or failure) is pre-validated. This is where it might end at the start. Did your solution prove to be desirable for the end-user? If not, you can either quit entirely, or you can pivot, by going back to the design thinking phase and pick some of your other ideas or come up with a new one. One thing you shouldn’t do is to see the work you did up until now as a waste of time. On the contrary, knowing that something is not worth it to continue with is at least equally valuable. You’re capturing priceless learnings. In this way, you’re able to save all the investments that would have been made to only find out at the very end that it is something the end-user doesn’t want.

If, on the other hand, your experiments lead to the insight that the solution is something the end-user wants, you can continue to build your product or service. But before jumping immediately into development and implementation, it is important to re-evaluate your business case, as you now have actual numbers to substantiate it. Your business case weighs benefits and costs up against each other and includes estimations of the total addressable market.

What if your business case shows that your idea is not viable?

First, recognize this. Put on the hat of the investor instead of the idea owner when evaluating this and be honest with yourself. Don’t underestimate the power of stopping a project in an early phase when it appears to be non-viable. Your idea might not be put through with, but the non-invested resources are still there. You can either run experiments to pivot your business idea to make it viable or go for a completely new idea.

Once you have validated that your solution is ‘the right thing’ and that your business around it is viable, you can start doing ‘the things right’ in developing and implementing it.

Third part – Agile


But what if, during the development and implementation process, the priorities for your end-user and thus for your solution change?

This is a very plausible scenario in this fast-changing world where innovation accelerates every day. To avoid this pitfall, you might want to use the agile approach during development and implementation. This gives you the necessary flexibility to quickly adapt to changes. Agile cuts the process into smaller sprints, where the list of prior actions is evaluated for every new sprint. The result of every sprint is a ‘useful increment’, meaning that you have learned something about the user or that you have something you can either use for further testing, or for actual implementation. Agile helps you in doing things right, by prioritizing and re-prioritizing during the process, while optimizing end-user satisfaction and business value.

Agile avoids that you build and implement something that by the time it is completed it is obsolete already. It protects you from making an investment that appears to have become a useless cost by the time you are finished.

Fourth part – Growth Hacking


Did you know that you are not done yet after developing and implementing something your end-user wants?

This is where it starts at the end. This is the point where your solution can either super-succeed, succeed, or fail. I hear you thinking, how could I still fail after I’ve come so far?

It is not because you built the right thing and you did it in the right way that your end-user will magically come knocking at your door, asking for your solution.
This is where growth hacking comes in. You must make the customer aware of your solutions’ existence and its benefits. To succeed it is important to spread the right message through the right channels, to the right target audience. This can be achieved through rapid growth experimentation, running a multitude of small experiments in every stage of the marketing funnel to find the right elements for each part of the puzzle. This quickly gives you insights into what works best for your business, and what does not. When this is done right, you achieve product-market fit which sets you up for sustainable growth moving forward.

The takeaways

As a recap you must remember to:

• Start at the end(-user), making sure you do the right things, putting your user at the center

Validate your success (or failure) upfront through experimentation, before making any big investments

(Re-)evaluate your business case in between every step of design, experimentation and development, avoiding useless costs

Do things right in development and implementation, foreseeing the necessary flexibility to re-prioritize and maximize value

Create awareness and activate your end-user by spreading the right message via the right channels to avoid an end at the start

Now you know what we do at 7B; putting the end-user, customer, patient, consumer, passenger, or client at the very center of the development of new products, services, and business models. We believe that is what it’s all about.

Feel free to share any best or worst cases, we can all learn from each other 🙏

Thanks for reading!


An-Katrien Huijghebaert

Management Consultant and Co-Founder at Seven Beaufort

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