In my time as a Banking Director during the dotcom crash, it wasn't difficult to identify some common features of those start-ups that failed to transition into growth: ambitious and over-engineered business plans, high running costs, and an inability to react to changing market conditions. Later experiences as an operational excellence practitioner, deploying lean six sigma, helped me appreciate the need for start-ups to to treasure their cash and harness their enthusiasm in a more informed way.
In 2011, Eric Ries' book "The Lean Start-Up" helped coin a phrase that has become a global phenomenon, prompting entrepreneurs to think about the way they start businesses differently.
So why do we need to do anything differently?
The traditional approach to market has been based upon:
So what's the alternative?
The lean start-up approach has adopted many of the concepts that underpin lean process improvement. Crucial elements include:
So will this work for me?
The lean start-up approach won't work for every start-up business and I wouldn't encourage anyone to use it without really understanding how the concept can be used "in contact with the enemy". However, key aspects should be considered, especially when you are faced with the prospect of, for example, creating a magnum opus of a business plan, investing heavily upfront in a technology platform, or launching an idea on gut feel.
Chris Lorimer is a management consultant with a background in operational excellence and helping businesses to grow. He has an MBA with distinction from Warwick Business School and lectures on the Cardiff Business School Expert Lean Course.
To contact Chris, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Lorimer is an
experienced consultant who has helped many organisations to grow through his unique 4 Ps approach.