High bounce-back-ability. That’s what it takes to run a startup, especially when the brilliant idea that an entrepreneur presented to the market isn’t what the public wants. Or was what the public wanted. Bounce-back-ability doesn’t mean doing more faster, harder, or prettier. It means humbly asking, “What do the people actually want?” and changing the direction of a company (or agile department) to meet that need.
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries gives the methodology for 21st Century bounce-back-ability. He draws from lean management, made famous at the Toyota manufacturing plants and translates it into a toolbox for entrepreneurs. His methodology centers on how to measure what the public wants and the steps to take to pivot to meet those desires.
Instead of giving an outline of the book, I thought I’d share the five most significant points I took from The Lean Startup:
- Want to pivot and meet the market’s needs? Hire those who have an appetite for risk taking. Early on in your company’s journey you need employees who embrace change and have a long-term vision. Being married to anyone’s idea is not an option.
- Give your rock star teams autonomy within the framework of measuring and validating your product or service. They will use the metrics and respond accordingly – they don’t need to be micro-managed.
- Get to the root of the problem. Reis outlines “The Five Whys” or asking “Why?” five times to see where something went wrong. This level of scrutiny is vital everywhere from the personal to production.
- Learning is just as important as creation. Don’t rush the learning process to just create your ideal product or service. Instead, present your minimum viable product and see how the market responds and to what it responds. Then learn, build, and measure all over again.
- Metrics are your friends. There’s a lot of talk about instinct and bravado in the entrepreneur space, but with the marketplace changing so quickly, predicting what it needs is increasingly challenging. Don’t throw out common sense and creativity, but don’t rely to heavily on winging it, either.
I recommend The Lean Startup for anyone in a small business or starting a company. From personnel to profitability, Reis’ methodology is applicable.
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