Entrepreneurship – Introduction to the Lean Startup
A common misconception held by aspiring entrepreneurs is that you need to keep your brilliant startup idea top secret. However, unless you’re protecting a game-changing patent, secrecy can have disastrous results. Which is why we use the Lean Startup method.
For instance, picture this: a coffee mug with a built-in digital, two-way radio that allows you to converse with colleagues on the way to and from the office.
Now imagine spending the next 2 years of your life, as well as your entire life’s savings… only to sell 8 units.
The problem with keeping your product a secret is that you’re essentially limiting yourself.
You see, by taking the time to find out whether your idea is even “brilliant” in the first place, you get a chance to test your initial business model assumptions. And by testing these assumptions, you’re avoiding costly mistakes.
Coined by entrepreneur Eric Ries, the Lean Startup Method has helped startups across the globe understand what their customers want and don’t want.
Through this approach, a product’s development cycle is shortened by a series of experiments that allow you to make mistakes without breaking the bank.
This not only protects you from blowing all your resources on a coffee mug no one actually wants but allows you to incorporate feedback throughout your product’s development.
Since starting your own business requires taking on greater than normal risk, it’s only natural to be drawn towards information that supports your current point of view.
Therefore, to avoid letting personal values, beliefs, and attitudes get in the way of learning, you should constantly keep in mind that you’re just as susceptible to the power of confirmation bias as the next guy.
By testing and validating your business model using the Lean Startup method, you’ll be surprised to learn that many of your initial assumptions were incorrect, and will get a better understanding of your customers and their needs.
In short, by adopting the Lean Startup Method, you’re making sure that both your time and money goes into a product that early customers actually want. This safeguards your business from market risks, as well as expensive product launches and failures.
After all, you’re going to have to share your product with the rest of the world eventually. So why not do it sooner, and actually let your customers help you?
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Foster, P., & Giacomassi, R. (2015). Test Your Business Idea (1st ed.). Galeton, PA: The Business Therapist.
Ries, E. (2011). The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses. New York: Crown Business.