The lean startup approach

Read Time: 5 minutes

Bobby Rae

Bobby Rae

Updated: Jul 28, 2023

User testing

Are you a new entrepreneur looking to start a business or launch a new product? Have you heard about the Lean Startup approach but don't know much about it? 

Starting a new business can be daunting. Whether it’s trying to launch on a shoestring budget or stepping away from the job security you currently have. But some of the world’s biggest companies wouldn’t be where they are today without someone taking that risk. Just look at Amazon - a venture Jeff Bezos started in his garage. Now it’s one of the biggest companies in the world.

Today, we'll introduce you to the lean startup methodology and show you how it can help you succeed in your entrepreneurial journey. Let’s go.

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What is a lean startup?

The lean startup is a business methodology that emphasizes rapid iteration, customer feedback and validation. It was first developed by entrepreneur and author Eric Ries, who wanted to create a more efficient and effective way of starting and growing a business.

The lean startup is based on several principles. These include starting with a minimum viable product (MVP), testing assumptions through experiments and pivoting your approach, when necessary, based on new insights. 

How does a lean startup work?

The process is fairly simple and involves several steps.

Start with the development of a hypothesis about a product or service. This is then tested through experiments with potential customers, who provide feedback on what you’re offering and its features.

This market research means the startup can iterate quickly and make changes to the product or service, refining it until it meets the needs of the customer. 

This process of rapid iteration and customer feedback is key to the lean startup approach, as it allows startups to create a product that customers actually want.

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What is the role of validation and pivoting?

These are two key components of the lean startup approach. 

Validation involves testing assumptions and hypotheses through experiments and data analysis, while pivoting involves changing direction based on new insights or feedback.

For example, let's say you have an idea for a new mobile app that you believe will be popular with users. To validate this idea, you might create a landing page that describes the app and its features and then run some ads to drive traffic to the page.

Based on the data and feedback you receive, you might find that users aren’t as interested in the app as you thought. In this case, you pivot and change the direction of the app, perhaps by adding new features or targeting a different market persona.

What are some examples of lean startup success?

There are many examples of successful startups that have used the lean startup approach to grow and thrive. 

Dropbox is a cloud storage service that started with a simple MVP and iterated quickly based on user feedback.

Another example is Airbnb, the popular travel website that connects guests with hosts who have spare rooms or apartments. Airbnb started with a simple MVP that allowed users to rent air mattresses in their homes and then iterated to create what we see today.

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