This is a Guest Post by Vikram Upadhyaya, Founder, Chief Mentor & Accelerator Evangelist at GHV Accelerator.
A lean startup is a very small team of highly dedicated people who believe in working fast and on very tight finances. Also, a lean startup works on a very simple philosophy – Need Analysis – Build – Measure – Learn. Identify the need to understand the pinpoints of the customer, build products to cater to the need, measure customer response and learn whether to march ahead or return, or alter their path. It’s as simple as that!
Why the need for a lean startup?
As an enthusiastic entrepreneur, you take your business plan to investors, and manage to raise funds for your startup. You hire a team of professionals and invest thousands of man-hours developing a product in an insular manner. Remember, at this stage you have little customer input regarding your product. Finally, you are ready with your product and launch it. And, that’s when you get your first taste of customer feedback, which might be positive, or unfortunately, you may learn that customers do not need that product at all or product features need to improve or change.
But, it’s too late, isn’t it? You have already invested money, effort and time…and are left with an unwanted product!!!
And that’s where, lean startups win hands down.
So how can you create your lean startup?
- Build the right team
Any startup, lean or otherwise, needs the right team to develop and execute your vision. A small team that has an appetite for risks, believes strongly in your product, can multi-task and is ready to meet tough deadlines is more appropriate for a lean startup. Focus on hiring people with the right skills and attitude. Hire interns, freelancers and fresh graduates, who have the zeal to put in more efforts, are high on energy and more than eager to prove their worth. Or, if you can bring experienced people on board, who are ready to experiment with something new or have the confidence in your product, you are sure to get lucky! Learn to count on your people, trust them and encourage them at every step to innovate. Make your people, your partners in your vision, that is sure to go a long way in your lean startup journey.
- Focus on a minimum viable product (MVP)
Which entrepreneur wouldn’t want to launch a product that is complete with features the designs? But, developing such a ‘finished’ product costs time and money, both of which you are in short supply. So forget about the colourful sprinkles on the doughnut, and forgo features or design things which you don’t need to build in the first version of the product. The idea is to focus on getting a basic, functioning version of your product (an MVP) out in the market.
- Work in small batches
For a startup, cost, speed and efficiency are extremely important factors. Instead of producing in large batches, it’s more efficient to produce in small batches. The larger the batch, the greater the risks of delays and the more difficult it is to execute revisions. On the other hand, small batches allow for quick building, testing, problem identification, improvization and implementation.
- Gather feedback, then implement it
Even if your product is in development or near completion stage, start selling or marketing it. After the product is launched, speak to customers or distribution channel teams to find out how the product is performing. Both these approaches will help you understand where you are going right/wrong with the product and how you can improve.
If the customer feedback demands changes or improvisation, take it in a positive stride and start implementing the feedback as quickly as you can. This way, you will ensure that the product recall value and competitive advantage are not lost.
- Maintain constant innovation as a culture
A startup’s growth relies on innovation. You build your startup on an innovative idea, however, the actual value of the idea is in driving this innovation. And for the same purpose, a startup should make a culture of innovation as its integral part. The employees should be given creative freedom and the flexibility to turn around their ideas. The ideas might seem crazy or they might fail, but an environment where new ideas are constantly generated, nurtured, tested, explored and exploited is very important for a startup’s growth. It helps in breeding intrapreneurs and mentors.
Entrepreneurs are everywhere, so are startups. But, it’s the philosophy and methodology that make a lean startup different from a regular startup.
Disclaimer: This is a Guest post. The statements, opinions and data contained in these publications are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of iamwire and the editor(s).