Launching a lean startup begins with finding the most efficient, cost-effective way to fill a gap in the market. Saving time, money and materials is only possible when you’ve found a way to develop a product that people actually want.
Developing a product or service that no one wants is the biggest waste possible, and isn’t the way lean works. Lean thinking drives us to minimise the guess work and re work, you don’t have to take a stab in the dark and hope for success; you can apply a refined methodology to minimise risks.
Fortunately, Eric Ries believes that it’s possible for every new startup to operate using lean processes. He said:
“Startup success can be engineered by following the process; which means it can be learned; which means it can be taught.”
So what are the lean startup key principles? How can we apply Lean Six Sigma thinking to deliver success? Let’s take a look at how startups can have a better chance of succeeding, even on limited time and budgets.
The Main Principles of the Lean Startup Model
Utilise Resources Efficiently
This is arguably the most organic, front-and-centre principle for any lean startup. Regularly assess your funds and deploy resources in a controlled way, because you probably don’t have a bursting wallet at your disposal just yet.
Evaluate the best way to use the money you do have in order to test and refine your product, and get it in front of your audience. Without significant capital or a generous investor, startups rely on organic growth. Innovation accounting is the term used for the controlled reinvestment of profits to scale-up for the next growth stage.
Employ Validated Learning
Validated learning is the testing involved in every stage of an idea development, and includes the measurement of its success for future planning. Taking its influence from the Minimum Viable Product, the technique is aimed at risk reduction. It allows you to get a clearer vision of the potential of an idea, without splurging.
This process is part of the ‘build-measure-learn’ approach you should be taking to everything in your startup. Get a prototype out into the world and measure its success before scaling up.
Work Smarter, Not Harder
You’ve undoubtedly heard this before, but it’s never truer than for startups that want to operate using lean processes. A lean startup works by asking the right questions and attempting to answer them in the most efficient way. Instead of asking, “can I build this?” you should be asking “should I build this?” and “can this become a sustainable business?”
You should never attempt to answer this question with guesswork. Find early adopters and develop a Minimum Viable Product. If you find that it works, you’ll already have some customers for the development of your products, and you’ll know which problems it solves.
Don’t be afraid to fail, as long as you’re failing cheaply and quickly! Lean startups with Lean Six Sigma training have a better chance of refining and developing a product that has the potential to lead to a long-term, sustainable business.