María Alcaraz

What is Lean startup about?


The fundamentals of Lean startup may be described as follows: a company is considered a temporary organization that strives to find a sustainable business model by using several approaches that will help us learn while we move forward.

The Lean startup methodology may be used in association with Lean Canvas or with the Canvass Business Model, two wonderful tools to develop business models.

What is Lean startup based on?

Lean startup is a methodology that, as many others do, focuses on the client instead of keeping the product as the first and foremost aspect to focus on. This means that it is not necessary for the product to be totally ready before you start putting it to the test through user experiencies.

By doing so, we get to the MVP concept (which stands for minimum viable product). The MVP is the turning point in the life of our product or service, in which the needs of our potential clients are met. Therefore, from that point onwards our products is already sustainable.

The methodology is quite different from the traditional development techniques, in which the product is developed from the beginning of the process to its end, and only when the product is finished are client tests started. For this reason, when using the Lean startup methodology a learning cycle is developed, instead of a development cycle as in the traditional method.

The learning cycle of Lean startup

It could be said that, as happens with most cycles, the learning cycle starts with ideas.

Besides, we may divide it into 3 clearly different stages, that are briefly defined below:

Building

Initial ideas are the starting point to build the MVP, and you will try to put it to the test with your hypotheses.

Measuring

By using the proper data and measurements, you will be able to start measuring the first results, targeted to the development of the final product/service.

Learning

The data obtained and the measurements used will enable you to draw conclusions which in turn will help you learn new things every day, as the development process of your product moves forward.

This is an iterative process; therefore, every time a new hypothesis is to be tested, a new MVP should be developed, or at least an updated version of it. The system will work very well to test several different hypotheses in short development processes.

MVPs will make it possible for you to find out whether the development process has any issues, and later on you will be able to test several possible solutions. You will also be able to monitor the impact of small changes in the product or final service in the final outcome.

Lean startup: Keeping or modifying the current business model

Thanks to what we may learn from the MVPs, we may in the end make a final decision about whether to keep the fundamental lines of our business or else change them somewhat. As you already know, lack of stability and accuracy when it comes to forecasting the business future are usual in the development of a startup.

This is due to the frequent changes in the market, and this will require you to be flexible with your business structures whenever you need to be so.

You will usually get signs that show you whether your business idea is working or else it isn’t. It is important to feel when something is wrong, because even if you consider it to be the most wonderful business idea you ever had, you will not get a penny out of it if clients never buy into it.

This doesn’t mean you need to start it all over again every time you face a problem, but it shows some changes are required in the grounds of the business model.

Through the experiments that become available when using the Lean startup method, you will be able to detect much faster which are the aspects that will provide good results for the future, such as new market segments or new features for the final product or service. 

The Lean startup method should be introduced in your business model from the beginning. By doing so, you would avoid wasting time and financial resources.

This is not to imply that traditional methods are no longer of use, but we should avoid being trapped by the lack of flexibility that methodology entails, and we should be open to fitting in new trends and new technologies in general.

As you may see, the Lean startup method is a methodology that may be applied to many different business models, irrespective of the sector or market features.

What’s more, this methodology becomes even more relevant when it comes to unstable, unpredictable markets, which is far more common for startups and freelance professionals.

As I do in all my articles, I would like to invite you to take part in the discussion and send us your questions or comments.

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