Lean Small Business: It is Time!
In the past few weeks, there are some interesting talks with regard to the implementation of lean principles on small businesses. Lean startup approach has hit the mainstream, as big businesses adopts it, and it’s about time for small and medium businesses to do the same thing.
Steve Blank, many considered as the ‘Godfather’ of Lean Startup, says that it’s about time that businesses – big and small – adopt lean startup principles. From his Harvard Business Review cover story, Mr. Blank explains that a conventional 5-year business plan is no longer suitable for today’s continuously disruptive business environment.
Businesses can’t afford to lose money after months of development, just because they follow the dotted line of a rigid business plan. They need something that can send them ‘signals’ that things are not working the way they are intended.
That ‘something’ is lean startup approach.
Lean startup, in a nutshell
The idea is to build a “prototype” product/service, test it in the target market to see how the market responds to the product/service. This way, when the prototype (or technically called minimum viable product) is not well-accepted by the market, the startup won’t lose as much money as if they follow the development steps outlined in the business plan.
How small businesses can adopt the lean principles?
Ben Linders stated in his article, “…lean startup encourages to investigate failures, and to learn from them. With the lean startup, people can learn faster and become better innovators.” Small businesses can certainly do those in order to develop better products and services.
But isn’t startups and small businesses different? To some, yes. But to Mr. Blank, it’s basically the same. How so? Well, Mr. Blank says that “Small businesses make the exact same mistakes that some startups do, when they write a 5-year business plan and just execute on it.”
With lean principles, small business can be more responsive to changes and able to learn from one ‘expected’ failure to another without losing too much money along the way. In order to do that, small business owners should embrace not only failure, but also innovation – one area Mr. Blank considered lacking among small businesses.
Of course, there’s a tool for helping you adopt the lean principles for your small business – such as Validation Board – free idea testing tool from Lean Startup Machine.
But is it really effective?
According to Mr. Blank, yes. He explains that “Some of the most successful startups have followed the Lean philosophy, Fortune 500 companies are now starting to adopt some of the practices and small businesses – if they follow suit – will recognize the value of testing hypotheses and then quickly pivoting direction.”
How effective, exactly? Mr. Blank says, “It works for 99% of all businesses – they’re just going to get rid of the fancy words, but use the same techniques.”
Indeed, the lean startup approach must be very effective; and the world is moving toward lean principles adoption. Janet Sernack, Founder and CEO of ImagineNation who is residing in Israel, mentioned that there are currently more than 4,500 startups adopting the lean principles are being developed today.
Now you know… so, what’s holding you back in the adoption of the lean techniques for your small business?
Photo credit: http://leanstartupmachine.com
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