Lean start-up is all about finding a problem that’s worth solving first and then building a business model around it. It is ideal for young start-ups that are still searching for a product or a business model that drives real value, as well as established companies with systems in place that allow them to respond quickly to information and consumer demands.
8 out of 10 start-ups flop within the first two years, according to a review published on Forbes. To see better odds of success, entrepreneurs should consider embracing the Lean development strategy to better understand consumers’ habits and needs before getting the solutions in front of them.
Using scientific methods to handle uncertainty is the best way for entrepreneurs to evade risks, and get the most from their investments. The Lean development process, for instances, allows them to define a hypothesis, build a small feature or product to test the hypothesis, learn what happens, and adjust accordingly. It will enable entrepreneurs to test ideas first before determining which ones move through the gates.
Principles and Benefits of Lean Development for Young Start-ups and Established Companies:
- Identify Value
This is where entrepreneurs determine the value of a product for the consumer. Here, one has to establish the need of the consumer and develop a product that satisfies this need. It’s important to note that the value shouldn’t just be identified, but measured too.
Use: Businesses need to understand the kind of value their solutions bring or the problem they solve. Based on this value, they can come up with a solution that would be useful for the customer and a reasonable price for it.
Benefits: Since one gets to identify problems that their solutions will solve before they even build the product, they get to save lots of time and money.
- Map the Value Stream
After determining the value, the next step is to map the value stream, which involves all steps, processes, and resources that help build the solution for the client. The idea is to design a map that will depict the flow of the product through the whole process.
Use: This map highlights the sequence of actions, their outcomes, and materials required to execute those actions. It also helps one to identify any step that doesn’t create value and uncover the ways to eliminate them.
Benefits: mapping allows entrepreneurs to understand what adds value, what doesn’t, what needs to be done and the kind of people to bring on board. It will enable them to focus on their important goals entirely.
- Create Flow
With the wastes out of the way, it’s time for entrepreneurs to ensure that the current steps flow smoothly and continuously. Value creation stages should happen in tight sequence for the solution to flow towards the client without obstruction.
Use: As businesses define stages of their product development, they need to start small and polish the value-creating process to ensure things are working flawlessly and that all actions are geared toward productivity and getting them closer to clients.
Benefits: This principle helps entrepreneurs to understand all processes and to measure the results of their actions accordingly, consequently, allowing them to make informed decisions for current and future operations.
- Establish Pull
Minimizing extra (or unnecessary) moves during production is yet another principle of Lean development. It aims at producing and adding only what’s required by the consumer. This way, businesses create what customers pull from them, and not what they push on the customer.
Use: “Establish pull” is all about not making any unnecessary moves – but moving as the client needs. The best way to achieve this is by using an MVP as explained below.
Benefits: Focusing on features that matter to the clients is a great way to add more value, save money and deliver within a shorter time frame.
- Seek Perfection
According to Lean Start-up, there’s always something that can be improved, simplified or levelled up. Businesses shouldn’t relent, but continuously seek perfection to guarantee customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Use: Businesses should always search for ways to improve their processes, products, and sales. However, this should follow a series of feedback evaluation to ensure it is what the clients want. The best way to achieve this is by using analytics tools, including forms on their website and apps, and so on, to collect relevant data from their clients.
Benefits: Seeking perfection allows businesses to maintain the creative atmosphere within their teams which translates to more useful and interesting ideas. This may take a while to reap the benefits; however, the results are often worth it. Improvements can come in the form of integrating new technologies, adjustment of communication behavior within the team, changes in the development process and so on.
Methods of Lean Start-up
Entrepreneurs must learn what consumers really want, as opposed to what the customers say they want or what they think the customers should want. The Build-Measure-Learn method is a great way to accomplish this. This method can be applied in different things – including testing customer service idea, new products, website offers, and text, management review process or a new feature to a current product
The Minimal Viable Product (MVP)
MVP is the version of a product that allows a single cycle of Build-Measure-Learn loop with the least amount of time and effort. It encourages the development of products that are required to iterate through a full turn of the Build-Measure-Learn loop.
Entrepreneurs should test a hypothesis with the right metrics, rather than focus on vanity metrics which don’t say anything about the product’s value. Using an example of Facebook, what impressed the investors more in its early growth was the fact that 50% of its users returned to the site every day – not the likes or accounts created.
This allows entrepreneurs to prove objectively that they’re learning how to build a sustainable company. Innovation accounting can be achieved with three steps:
- Determining the Baseline – running MVP test to see whether prospects will be interested and setting the benchmark for the full cycle of the Build-Measure-Learn.
- Turning the Engine – involves making single changes that can be tested to improve upon the baseline. The idea is to focus on a single step at a time.
- Persevering or Pivot – after making numerous iterations through the complete loop, entrepreneurs should be proceeding towards their ideal goal as per their business plan. If this isn’t the case, then it should be evident because of the incremental learning steps that are taken throughout the journey.
What sets success stories apart from failures is that successful business people had the ability, the foresight, and tools to determine the parts of their strategies that were working and ones that weren’t, and adapt to their plans accordingly. Pivot is the ability of the entrepreneur to change some fundamental hypothesis that they started with, to achieve their goals.
We can say with confidence that the Lean Start-up method has defined itself as an indispensable tool for both young entrepreneurs and established companies. And from the scope of things, it will continue to be the strong part of businesses for many more years.