In 2011, Eric Ries changed the world of startup forever when he published his book, The Lean Startup. At its core, he believed that entrepreneurs would better benefit from a business if they immediately took their products and services to the market, and have audience members heavily involved by giving feedback in various sprints of the selling process.
As opposed to taking months on end to perfect an offering, Ries insisted that the sooner one’s market takes hold of a product, the earlier entrepreneurs will be able to work on improving what they have to sell. Nearly a decade since Ries’ business philosophy hit the shelves, the Lean methodology remains to be a famous entrepreneurial strategy founders and leaders turn to.
More than anything, this particular methodology aims to eliminate wasting resources, a practice that would not have been observed had an entrepreneur skipped going through a beta stage.
Here are a few key takeaways the Lean methodology teaches us:
Carrying an entrepreneurial mindset is critical.
The lean startup strategy cites that business leaders aren’t lone islanders, trying to speak a new language. Today, anyone can be an entrepreneur in that entrepreneurship shouldn’t be limited to those in charge of funding. Oxford Languages defines the word as “A person who organizes and operates a business or businesses.” In that sense, anyone who’s part of an organization plays a crucial role in hitting targets. Everyone within a team should share the entrepreneurial mindset.
Entrepreneurship is understanding that management styles are different.
Startups that adhere to Lean principles demand a unique kind of management style in that leaders and team members have to be agile. Much of this methodology discusses finding the light and branding that works for you. In other words, organizational styles should stem from what works for your team, specifically.
Validating what you learn is essential.
It is consumer data that augments what your product is and how it should turn out. Ultimately, the same data will also be what your business development will be built on. Meaning to say, the combination of consistent testing and validation from your target market is what you should keep going after until you’ve found your product sweet spot.
By doing so, you eliminate having to foster untested ideas and products your market may not have even enjoyed. This is why consistent testing and validation are crucial in the entire business equation. The sooner you find what product best represents your market, the sooner you make sales.
Document what and when you can.
Successful startups are a product of continuous and early research. That means for your business to thrive, you have to focus on documenting your journey to determine what your priorities are correct. The Lean methodology happens in multiple sprints, so if something doesn’t take off in one phase, you either change directions or abandon it entirely.
During each phase, what’s important is you’re open to learning anything new, and you take feedback as positively and realistically as possible.
Create – Measure – Learn
This part of the process requires a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to test out. You establish your idea, gather feedback and make use of what your market says, and then find out if it’s worth moving forward or if you should shift gear altogether.
What makes the Lean methodology such a standout is its capacity to find out, early on in the process, if something is viable or not.
Lean can be for you, too.
The Lean startup method is advantageous to startups of every industry, but more so to SaaS suppliers. Bridging an identified gap while providing solutions that meet an audience’s minimum demands leads to agile progression and viable products without spending unnecessary time and money.
All that established, entrepreneurs should be wise and cautious when following methods and practices. Any big idea that isn’t supported by a market in need can prove futile in the long run. Ries’ business philosophy has been existent for a while now, and the success stories you hear about Lean are abundant. Still, it’s best to approach this methodology in ways and practices that benefit your startup.
Every story is different, and marketing trends and consumer behavior is quickly evolving. Allow customer responses to dictate how your startup rolls out, and continuously work toward building better products. If possible, look for like minded peers and join communities of startup founders who subscribe to the same processes, too.
We can’t emphasize enough how important it is to market not only your business, but also your brand as an entrepreneur.
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