Embrace the 'Lean Startup' Model

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on August 4, 2011

The lean startup model eliminates waste and focuses on customer feedback to build a product or provide a service that people want. The model requires business owners to focus more on knowing who their customers are and understanding how they’ll attract and maintain them.

Given the success of small business owners who have used this model to grow their businesses quickly, it’s become a popular model for budding business owners. However, there are still challenges entrepreneurs should be aware of when following the lean startup model. A few suggestions on how to handle them follow.

1. Be flexible. This is critical when dealing with customers and building your project or service on the fly. Be prepared for customers to change their minds, miss deadlines, and have high expectations. It may seem like a pain but in the long run it will be well worth it when your product or service is customized to solve a customer’s problems.
2. Talk to your customers. Find out what they want and don’t want. Build your product or design your service to accommodate their needs. Allow them to have input on and validate your pricing. Never build a final product and then ask if the customer wants it.

3. Develop a social media strategy. Determine which social media outlet will benefit your company most. For example, if your company is a consumer company, Facebook may work better for you and more effectively get you in front of your target audience.

4. Use a customer relationship tool. This will allow you to keep your customers. It’s a critical component. If you don’t know how to do this, you’ll be a one-hit wonder.

In my experience, the lean startup model requires discipline and focus to adhere to the customer feedback that is so essential to achieving success. When a business owner uses it properly, he or she can avoid a lot of the pain commonly associated with starting a business.

T. Craig Bott
President and CEO
Grow Utah Ventures
Salt Lake City

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