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Failure Is an Option: Using the Lean Start-up Method to Launch Your Business
What do you know about the Lean Startup method of business modeling? For entrepreneurs, the Lean Startup is a set of principles that can increase your odds of building a successful business, even under extreme uncertainty. Your business could launch in days or weeks with an idea for a product or service and the Lean Startup method. Following the five principles of the Lean Startup can get you on the roadmap to a successful business without a traditional, detailed business plan.
1. Entrepreneurs Are Everywhere
Traditional business modeling relies on a completed business plan that details every step and only releases a product or service when fully complete. This process takes time; more time planning every minute detail rather than getting your product or service to the customer. Entrepreneurs who follow the Lean Startup method develop and launch a minimally viable product as quickly as possible, then rely on customer feedback for their next move.
2. Entrepreneurship Is Management
The Lean Startup method uses a hypothesis-driven business model, tests the hypothesis as quickly as possible, and relies on customer feedback to implement positive incremental changes. Lean does not require product perfection before launch. Failure is an option, which makes it risky. Management of a lean startup searches for a business model that works through failure, adapting, changing, and improving the original product based on customer input. You must be comfortable with risk and failure while focusing on the end state of a successful business.
3. Validated Learning
Rather than taking a great deal of time to lay out a conventional business plan, the lean entrepreneur tests products or services on real customers. They ask customers, purchasers, and users for feedback that provides good data for the next decision. Giving customers the opportunity to participate in the process allows them to help make your business and become valuable allies and partners. You can either maintain the product and make changes or pivot to a new idea if something isn’t working. The process repeats with each product iteration, gathering feedback and learning what customers want. This way, failure is built into the strategy, driving product refinement.
After the product is built and launched, gathering feedback and information is essential. You need to know your customers’ reactions, what they like or dislike, improvements, and sustainment. Is your product priced well, and is it valuable to the customer? When data shows something is not working, you can change strategy quickly, saving time and money. The business keeps moving forward, generating a minimally viable product through incremental and iterative changes, known as agile development. A good product launched is better than a product in development, waiting for perfection. A good product will become an excellent product more quickly, resulting in timely success.
5. Innovation Accounting
Successful startups require accountability of people and outcomes. Accountable items include how to measure progress, milestones, and work priorities. Innovation accounting examines actual data on the company’s current status. Incremental changes based on accurate data can move the company and product toward growth and success. Again, speed is essential, and precise data allows the implementation of swift changes as needed. If the data shows no progress toward the desired end state, you can pivot to a new product or idea quickly and keep working toward success.
“If you cannot fail, you cannot learn.” Eric Ries.
Though it may seem counterintuitive, failure encourages creativity and innovation. Overcoming failures builds resilience. Failure provides a new perspective, another opportunity to try again, learn, and keep moving toward success. Although failure is the opposite of success, it can help usher in success with breakthrough ideas or insights. The key point of the Lean Startup method is that failure is a good thing. As an entrepreneur, your product or service is important to you. Your desire for a successful business venture that is profitable, and satisfying is achievable. Check out The Lean Startup by Eric Ries and launch your business.
About the Author
Name: Dr. Bobbi Cumpston
Professional Title: Director of Veterans Affairs
Bio: Dr. Bobbi Cumpston holds a doctorate in Strategic Leadership. She is a retired Army Veteran and is currently the Director of Veteran Affairs for Washington County, PA. Her articles on leadership and higher education can be found at HigherEd Military and her articles on faith can be found at Jubilee News. Bobbi is married with two grown children and one grandson.
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