This ebook offers a summary of the book “The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses” by Eric Ries.
Why do so many startups fail? The business myth says: A lone entrepreneur – beavering away in a lab or a garage somewhere – through hard work, grit and sheer perseverance develops a great product which then becomes a blockbuster hit. That sounds appealing but the reality is most startups tend to burn through their resources and then disappear because they never get around to seeing what their potential customers think of what they're developing. They worry about the product first and assume customer demand will be there automatically.
To succeed with a startup, you've got to manage it differently. Instead of developing a business plan, find ways to accelerate your learning and validate customers demand. The best way to do this is to build a prototype (with minimal features) and sell it to some early adopters. Then change the product repeatedly – daily if necessary – and keep supplying your customers with the new and improved versions. Listen to their feedback and use those ideas to make a better version and then get more feedback on that. Keep iterating until you get a fully featured product which your customers love.
In other words, go through the BuildMeasureLearn loop as often as you can. If you make validated learning the real aim of your startup, you stand a better chance of success. Focus on what customers want, utilize an extremely fast cycle time and take a scientific approach to making decisions. That's the essence of the Lean Startup approach.
ERIC RIES is an entrepreneur and blog author. He is a cofounder and chief technology officer of IMVU, a virtual community developer. He is also a frequent keynote speaker and is currently entrepreneurinresidence at Harvard Business School. The Lean Startup methodology has been written about in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Harvard Business Review and the Huffington Post.