Start a business the lean way
Our parents could work for 20 years at the same company which nowadays is more of an exception than a rule. As the world is changing rapidly and established industries are slimming down their workforce there is a lot to gain in becoming more entrepreneurial. The large corporations are canceling job positions that probably will never return so it is up to us to change our mindsets and create our own businesses.
Forget long term
On top of creating our own business we should keep in mind that business nowadays is not forever. In other words if you found a successful format that works today it could very well be that you are doing something completely different in the next year.
The Lean start-up methodology is a great new way of approaching new business. You need an approach that allows you to quickly work out an idea. Ask all the really necessary questions and launch your most trimmed down product or service version as quickly as possible.
Don’t listen to the resistance and ship it
Seth Godin wrote a good article about why it usually takes so long for a company to ship a new product. Resistance in all its forms and shapes is slowing things down. From administrative processes to slaughtering a good idea because it is not the status quo.
Ship often. Ship lousy stuff, but ship. Ship constantly.
The method in 3 steps
The Lean start-up approach does not require a lengthy business plan. There are three simple steps you have to go through that all focus on what really matters to start selling as soon as possible.
- Business model canvas. So instead of writing a lengthy business plan, summarize your idea in a business model canvas. You will see it is a diagram of how a company creates value for itself and its customers.
- Customer development. It is the “get out of the building” approach. Test your product or service not in theory but with your actual potential customers and partners and ask for feedback. Ask about the product features, pricing, distribution channels and customer acquisition strategies. With this feedback you make adjustments (iterations) to optimize your business idea.
- Agile development. So instead of long development processes of a perfect product you develop iteratively and incrementally. In this way you create the minimum viable product and start selling straight away.
In this way you will find out quickly enough if your business has any future or that you have to change your envisioned distribution channel or targeted audience alltogether. That is the nature of business. You mostly end up with something completely different than envisioned.
Don’t wast your time on trying to look into the future too much, get your hands dirty, don’t listen to the resistance and focus on that minimum viable product.