Many startups fail because they spend a ton of time — months, even years — perfecting their product or service before taking their business to market, without ever really seeking customer validation, only to find, their potential customers don’t see the value, leading to the company’s demise.
While this may seem a bit dramatic, this approach is all too familiar among entrepreneurs. Even if it’s not detrimental, it can significantly delay the success of startups. Over the years, the lean methodology, coined by Eric Ries and publicized in his book, “The Lean Startup,” has become popular among entrepreneurship circles. This method aims to reduce risk and help entrepreneurs pivot faster in the development of a new business idea, leading to maximum value for customers and higher return to founders.
The basic mantra at the core of the lean startup methodology is simple:
Build. Measure. Learn.
This feedback loop helps entrepreneurs turn ideas into products, measure customer response, collect actionable data, and ultimately learn important feedback that can guide next steps.
By leveraging this approach to starting a new business, entrepreneurs will be positioned to develop what The Lean Startup labels the “Minimum Viable Product,” or MVP. As Ries puts it, “the MVP is that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.”
While this process aims to accelerate the development process, it doesn’t mean it’s easy. Depending on key findings from the process, a startup may need to pivot or go back to the ideation stage. Either way, by utilizing the “build-measure-learn” loop and developing an MVP, entrepreneurs can more efficiently get to those critical “go or no-go” decisions.
Interested in learning more? Check out these resources and programs:
- Udacity: How to Build a Startup – The Lean Launchpad Methodology
- Startup Lessons Learned, “Minimal Viable Product: A Guide” by Eric Ries
- The Lean Startup
- Pitch Dingman (Open to the entire UMD community)
- Dingman Jumpstart (For UMD Alumni)