What Is Lean Startup?
Starting a new business is a daunting task, no matter how much experience one may have in the field. There are different approaches to the problem, but it ultimately comes down to figuring out how to make the company’s idea start producing results as quickly as possible in the current market conditions.
Some methodologies for startup business development focus on establishing a solid foundation of operations before even making one sale. However, this is quickly proving ineffective in the rapidly evolving market of today, requiring a new approach from smaller businesses that want to survive.
Getting up and running as fast as possible
At its core, the idea of lean startup shares its core philosophies with other lean methodologies. The basic goal of a company implementing lean startup is to be able to satisfy its customers as quickly as possible, with the minimal use of initial resources.
That’s pretty much the only goal for a company implementing this approach, and it should be the primary focus of the business early on. The process shares many similarities with lean manufacturing, although it’s applied to setting up a company through the development of a new product or service.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that one should rush and sacrifice the integrity of the business along the way. Quite on the contrary, it’s still important to take long, careful look at what would make the product successful, and focus on those aspects almost exclusively.
Striving for minimum viability, not completeness
This is one of the key ideas in lean startup that business owners must adapt to as early on as possible. It’s okay to have a product that’s unfinished and lacking in some capacities, as long as it’s able to meet the market demand for its core features.
An old saying goes “80% of the value is in 20% of the product”. The key to the success of a business in its initial stages, therefore, is in identifying those 20% properly, and focusing the majority of effort on them. The key is to communicate early and often with their customers, to make sure each change continues to meet the customer’s needs.
In fact, this can create a very beneficial situation in terms of marketing, as it can prolong interest in the company’s product beyond what’s typically observed. By constantly improving a product that’s in a clearly unfinished state, the company gives its customers – both old and new – a stake in the outcome, and it builds excitement along the way.
They will often have some things to say after those repeated impressions, and it’s crucial to be able to take in that feedback and apply it to the current plans of the company.
Adapting to change
As with other lean methodologies, it’s important for anyone applying lean startup to be able to react to changes in the market, and in the company’s requirements. Sometimes it will turn out that the initial design of the product was not ideal and requires changes. In other cases, the entire business model may have to be reevaluated.
It’s important for a lean startup company to never cling on to ideas just because they’ve been there since the start. Trimming the unnecessary fat is one of the key concepts behind a successful lean startup business, and learning to identify those points with the customer’s feedback and input is a skill that can take a long time to master.
Constant analysis is key
A company can never know if it’s moving in the right direction without access to good amounts of data. This is critical in the case of implementing lean startup methodologies, as the need to change comes in very fast and often.
This means that it’s critical to constantly keep evaluating the company’s current status and its performance on the market, and shortening the analysis cycles as much as realistically possible in the beginning. Once some trends have been established, the company can reduce its operations tracking, but it’s important to always keep an eye on how things have evolved since the last cycle of changes.
A good lean startup will be able to endure a lot, perhaps even dropping their flagship product before it’s fully released. As long as the methodology is applied correctly, it can help a business get up and running in no time! By the time the company is ready to start working on a completely new product, it should already have a solid foundation on the market.