Start-ups are ubiquitous today and everyone seems to have tried one! The mobile, cloud, and Big Data revolutions in recent years have created seemingly endless opportunities for entrepreneurs to develop and pitch ideas to capitalize on the latest emerging technology trends. And through open source technologies and channels the barriers to entry for start-ups has never been lower. Despite all the advantages, however, the competition is fierce and the sad reality is that most start-ups will not succeed.
The Lean Start-up strategy has emerged in recent years as a refreshing alternative to the traditional approach to building new business ventures. Instead of writing a business plan at your desk and pouring tons of time and money into a product that has little guarantee of success, the Lean approach goes right to the question of how to do more with less and get your product out the door as fast as possible.
Main Takeaways of the Lean Strategy
Let’s pull together the main takeaways that we’ve learned so far on developing a successful Lean Start-up.
Build Your Minimum Viable Product: The key here is to turn your idea into reality as fast as possible with as little financial investment as possible. In this case “less is more” – whether it’s a simple landing page, an email, or a few lines of code – the idea is to get a product out there and save all the bells and whistles until you’ve learned about the real needs of your customers.
Measure Customer Feedback or “Getting Out of the Building”: One of the most important principles of the Lean strategy, and key to its success, involves “getting out of the building.” This can be done in a number of ways, for instance, by observing and interviewing your prospects to understand their pain points, their needs, their stories. At the same time, you can also get creative and have your customers offer you “currency” in the form of email addresses, tweets, letters of intent – or even offer them physical channels that will get them excited about supporting your product. When you have their trust, your early adopters will provide invaluable ways for you to measure the success (or not!) of your strategy.
Learn When to “Pivot”: The pivot is a “structured course correction designed to test a new fundamental hypothesis about the product, strategy, and engine of growth.” Knowing when to pivot or persevere is a critical question for the entrepreneur, but it has no easy answer since. Since we’re all prone to overestimate the value of our ideas, the best rule is to get an outside perspective; if after 3 months no new entity has joined your cause then it’s time to pivot!
The Lean Start-up strategy provides a powerful set of principles and best practices for building your startup in a more efficient, customer-driven, and intuitive manner. Instead of investing enormous amounts of time and money into developing a product that has no guarantee of success, the Lean approach advocates placing the emphasis on the customer first and foremost and developing the product around real, testable needs. While never a guarantee of success, this approach provides both budding and seasoned entrepreneurs alike with smart ways of thinking and clear strategies for succeeding in today’s competitive business market. Go “Lean” today and set your new business venture apart!