Rule #1: Action trumps everything!
Successful entrepreneurs have a bias for action—and the ability to act under conditions of uncertainty. This doesn’t mean they make the right decisions but it does mean they are actively putting their business model and passion to the test. Sometimes it adds to the chaos. Lean Startup was developed by Eric Ries to reduce the risk and uncertainty in the entrepreneurs’ drive to discover a scalable and sustainable business model.
Ries defines a startup as: “A human institution designed to create something new under conditions of high uncertainty.” Wow. This is probably quite different from your own ideas about an entrepreneurial startup! Or not. In my opinion it sums up both the existential and metaphysical characteristics of a true startup. But let’s not let this ethereal notion of a startup impede our desire and aspirations to create the next Apple!:) It’s really much more concrete then it would seem.
Lean Startup is principled approach to creating and managing a startup. It transforms the “shoot first and aim later” approach to entrepreneurship into a series of “scientific” experiments which are designed to answer the key question of every single entrepreneurial venture:
“Should this product be built?”
This is different from the typical question many entrepreneurs begin with: “Can this product be built?” Naturally this question must be answered but not before the larger question of should it be built is answered.
The entire energy of the startup revolves around the “Should” question. The series of experiments are structured using a build-measure-learn feedback loop. It begins with the definition of the minimum viable product needed to test the working hypothesis: “This is the product we think should be built.”
No need to invest your limited resources in developing a full featured product until you can show that the minimum viable product actually solves a customer problem that they are willing to pay for with some form of currency—money, time, skill or passionate involvement in the product’s development. This approach assures you that your product has a home while allowing you to systematically test assumptions that support your vision and provides you with actionable metrics which demonstrate and measure the viability of your product.
It’s both an adventure and venture. It’s exciting. And fraught with risks. Make sure you have an experienced guide to assist you in the business and customer development process. Coach K would love to help.