Friday, October 3, 2014

The lean start-up methodology

On his Harvard Business Review article: Why the Lean Start-Up Changes Everything, Prof. Steve Blank explains the principles of a new strategy for start-ups developed by his alumni, Eric Ries.

Eric Ries connected customer development and agile practices like the lean manufacturing system, developed by Toyota many years ago, and named this combination "The Lean Start-up".

According to Blank (2013), the old concept for start-ups infers that exposing prototypes is dangerous due to competitors. Thus, entrepreneurs spend lots of months searching and developing a product/service inside the building and then go to the market with the risk of getting the product/service wrong. 

This is one of the reasons why many research studies have shown 75% of all start-ups fail, since most common is that the start-ups even do not know who their customers are or what their product/service should be!

The lean start-up methodology suggests that in most industries customer feedback matters more than secrecy. It claims that is essential for the survival of the new business, failing fast, continually iterating and learning. 

Therefore, entrepreneurs must to “transform business as they know it; get out of the office and test hypotheses” (Blank, 2013). The lean start-up method proposes making start-ups less risky and aims a lower start-up failure.  The model predicts an improvement in the whole economic system, since many workers will be hired if the small businesses survive and achieve success over the time.

For years, MBA programs have trained base on large-company approaches.  Now more than 25 universities are teaching Lean start-up approach and are become conscious that new businesses need different management tools. The main idea behind the lean start-up approach is that entrepreneurs, instead of focusing on just developing a business plan, must to define the “assumptions of the new venture, testing those assumptions in the field (get your hands dirty), and then changing (pivoting) based on the lessons learned” (Blank, 2013).

In my opinion, and with all the respect for the authors of this new trend, I understand this concept itself is not new at all. We know that we have the market research concept which has a high validity with respect to the information obtained. However, for a start-up, a study market research could be too costly and you could get the "analysis paralysis illness :(

Kotler & Keller state that Marketing is "about identifying and meeting human and social needs" (2012). New entrepreneurs seek a response. Marketing can help them to introduce new products and build demands. The lean start-up model is about to preserve you cash until you have product/market fit. It sounds great for new entrepreneurs since that means to design the product/service with the help of consumers, far more quickly, cheaply and effectively.


Blank, S. (May, 2013). Why the Lean Start-Up Changes Everything. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from:

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