Lean startup methodologies are gaining a lot of popularity nowadays and more entrepreneurs are turning to them as a reliable and familiar framework for developing their companies. And while it’s true that these principles can do a lot for a fledgling company that’s trying to get off the ground, they also have a lot of potential for larger corporations with already established working principles. This potential is being largely underutilized in the current market, leading to some preventable stagnation in various larger corporations.
Do You Know What Your Customers Want Today?
A large problem of many major corporations that are suffering from stagnation is that they are relying on outdated information about the desires of their customers, and end up investing a lot in the completely wrong areas of their business. Sure, your clients may have been interested in your current product a decade ago, but the market is changing very rapidly, and if you’re not investing a lot of resources into a constant surveying of your market, you’re doing it wrong.
This is one of the key principles of lean startups, and the reason why many new companies manage to pull ahead so quickly right after their arrival to the market. They then manage to beat some of their older competitors in remarkable ways, surprising everyone with their performance. And in the end, it’s not magic – these companies just know how to adapt to current market trends better than some of those that have been around for much longer.
Are You Still Innovating?
Another common issue with many larger, established companies is that they tend to settle in a particular way of doing things and rarely look for alternatives once they latch on to an idea that seems to provide good results. This can quickly lead to stagnation, and sometimes the organization doesn’t even realize the extent of the problem until they find themselves overtaken by a number of smaller companies that seem to strike all the right chords.
You must always think about the future and consider how your current moves are going to impact the company later on. If you’re not pushing for progress and innovation, then you’re driving your company to its inevitable demise. Nowadays, it’s unthinkable for a business to survive on its original ideas alone, and you have to always be striving for new developments that push the boundaries of what you’re doing.
And yes, sometimes that even means diversifying your operations outside of your comfort zone. But if you’re involved in a market that’s slowly but steadily dying out, and no new companies are popping up in that area, it might be time to see the writing on the wall and start pushing for innovation in another area.
Trimming the Fat
A lean company must always be looking to remove all variations and sources of waste in its operations, and if you don’t put enough effort in that direction, you’re sooner or later going to find yourself running a bloated organization with multiple departments with an unclear purpose. And when that happens, it can be quite difficult to resolve the situation on your own, as those departments would probably be linked with each other and your organization may even rely on some of them, only partially but still in some capacity.
It’s not a fun situation to be in, and it can be the final nail in the coffin of a company that has been struggling to keep up with ever-changing market demands for a while. Don’t let this happen, and always consider the implications of maintaining certain parts of the organization very carefully. If you feel like a department has outlived its purpose, run a study to verify that.
It might not make much sense when you hear the suggestion at first, but implementing lean startup principles in a large, established organization can actually have numerous benefits for your company in the long run. As long as you haven’t passed the “point of no return” where your business is on a steady downhill roll, there’s usually a lot you can do to prevent the organization from stagnating and ensure that it can survive in the current complex market conditions.