Ever heard of a “lean start-up”? It’s a relatively new concept in the world of entrepreneurship, and it’s being taken on board by everyone from tech start-ups to small businesses and large corporations – and for good reason. This concept throws the traditional hit-or-miss procedure out of the window, and makes the process of starting a company a lot less risky, by favouring experimentation over elaborate planning, customer feedback over intuition, and iterative design over the traditional complete-design-up-front development.
If this all sounds like Greek to you, keep scrolling for a short summary of the lean start-up methodology…
What’s it all about?
Too many start-ups begin with an idea for a product that they believe people want. They then spend months or sometimes years developing, building and perfecting the product. All this is done in “stealth-mode“, without ever showing the product, even in a very primitive form, to their prospective customers. When they fail to achieve a positive interest from their customers, it’s often because they never spoke to these prospective customers to determine whether or not the product was interesting, useful, beneficial or needed. When customers ultimately communicate, through their indifference towards the product or idea, the start-up fails.
The lean start-up movement is transforming how new products are built and launched to target audiences. It provides a logical, principled approach to creating and managing start-ups and getting the desired product to a customer’s hands much faster, and with much less wasted time and resources, than traditional methods would allow. The lean start-up methodology teaches you how to “drive” a start-up – how to steer, when to turn, and when to persevere – and how to grow a business with maximum acceleration.
It’s ultimately an answer to the question “How can we learn more quickly what works, and discard what doesn’t?”
The lean start-up methodology is based on 3 principles:
- The business model canvas: Rather than engaging in months of planning and research, entrepreneurs accept that all they have when starting out is a series of untested hypotheses — basically, good guesses. So instead of writing an intricate business plan, entrepreneurs summarise their hypotheses in a framework called a business model canvas – essentially, a diagram of how a company creates value for itself and its customers.
- Customer development: Lean start-ups test their hypotheses by going out and asking potential customers for feedback on all elements of their idea, including product features, pricing, distribution etc. The emphasis is on speed: rapidly build a minimum viable product, and immediately get out there and elicit customer feedback. Then, using customer input to revise hypotheses, they start the cycle over again; testing redesigned offerings and making further adjustments to ideas that aren’t working.
- Agile development: Unlike typical year-long product development cycles that presume what customers’ problems and product needs are, agile development eliminates wasted time and resources by building products iteratively and incrementally.
What are the benefits?
Be more innovative.
Stop wasting people’s time.
Be more successful.
Eric Ries is an expert on the topic; read his publications here: http://theleanstartup.com/
Read the article written by Steven Blank here: https://hbr.org/2013/05/why-the-lean-start-up-changes-everything/ar/1
More information on the business model canvas, as well as help with creating your own canvas, can be found here:
http://www.businessmodelgeneration.com/canvas/bmc – This one includes a great video!