A lean startup is a startup that uses specific practices to deliver valuable products efficiently. Eric Ries developed the early ideas for a lean startup. Since then, many companies have adopted this model successfully. Here are some of the most important aspects of a lean startup.
Build a product with value
Traditional startups start with a product and then try to find a market. A lean startup is not attached to any particular product idea. At the beginning of the process, the focus is on serving the market. After locating a potential market, a lean startup comes up with a unique idea for a product people will value. Throughout the process of development, the business emphasizes product-market fit, which is having a product that many individuals in a target market will want.
Get started quickly
Lean startups first create a very basic demo or prototype of an idea called the Minimum Viable Product (MVP). The MVP is given to potential users right away. The startup begins to figure out early on if the idea is a good one. If enough users indicate they would like the product, testing continues. Developers modify the MVP to find out how to make it most desirable to as many users as possible.
A lean startup is always adding, changing, and refining features of a product to make sure it is meeting the needs of the users. The business does this through an iterative process called the Build-Measure-Learn cycle.
They start with an MVP. As soon as it is presentable, the company begins testing it on real users. Through the process of measurement, they collect significant amounts of data on usage, feasibility, and acceptance. From this data, they then use sophisticated techniques to learn how well a product/feature is working. Based on this knowledge, they develop the next version of the product/feature, and the cycle starts again.
These innovative techniques can make lean startups more efficient than regular ones. Using this approach often contributes to a startup’s lasting success.
Here are some more resources for learning about lean startups:
- Lean Startup Co.
- A talk by Eric Ries about Lean Startups on YouTube
- LeanImpact, a site with information about lean startups for nonprofits
You might also be interested in John Carter's approach to product development which goes way beyond some of the simple approaches others talk about.
Interested in how to think more effectively about innovation and entrepreneurship? Why not explore our "Innovation, Startups & Being an Entrepreneur (or Intrapreneur)" page?
You can read updates as we post them by signing up for our newsletter.