Lean operating: 8 lessons on success for startups


Key takeaways from Lean Startup, Lean Management, bootstrapping and more.

Tips, hacks, do’s and don’ts from the methodologies of Lean Startup, Lean Management, and bootstrapping, with links to the source articles and videos if you want to learn more.

Why Lean Startup could work for you

The importance of Lean Startup has taken on new significance during Covid-19 and the changing economic environment. Lean Startup was developed to help businesses limit expenditure, be as agile as possible and respond quickly to changing customer needs. Startups may not follow each element of the methodology but by understanding its techniques and objectives, they will be better equipped to seize the opportunities and tackle the challenges ahead.

Learn more about how the methodology was founded and where it has been successful.

Why you should prepare for growth during a crisis

In a time of economic turbulence you need to have a lean team, be clear on metrics, know your data and be hyper focused on what makes things succeed or not. Joe White, Moonfruit co-founder and general partner of Entrepreneur First, explains how the discipline of a lean environment helped his business come through the 2008 financial crisis in a position to grow.

Watch this video to hear more of Joe White’s experiences and what lessons he learned.

Look to the past to secure your future

Balancing the wisdom of the past with the ideas of the future is a dependable way to achieve startup success. Certainly, no one thought that manufacturing processes developed in 1930s Japan would lead to Lean Methodology, a business practice that has helped millions of businesses achieve growth. Define value according to your customer’s needs and then build your business around cost-efficient processes.

How Lean Management and Lean Manufacturing processes from the past can benefit your future.

Realise that procurement is about creating value

Many startups overlook procurement in their quest for growth, but getting it right early on can help reduce costs and secure investment. Make sure to assess the overall value and cost-effectiveness of suppliers, check that service propositions are fit for purpose and that your supplier is resilient and meets compliance needs.

Three procurement essentials from Nick Wildgoose, supply-chain risk consultant and director of Procurement Advantage.

Bootstrap your startup to success

Bootstrapping is starting a business without the help of outside capital, VC, angels or otherwise. It is another term for self-funding and means getting through launch to the point where the business can sustain and generate profits to reinvest in growth.

It has been described as “entrepreneurship in its purest form” and “the transformation of human capital into financial capital”. We take a look at the recent shift back to startups bootstrapping their way to success.

Why bootstrapping will likely continue during these uncertain times and how it could be the best option for your business.

Always question your assumptions

Consistently questioning your assumptions about your company and your product, and if they are meeting the realities of the market is essential. Whether you're selling a product or a service, being willing to question your assumptions puts you in a much better position to be ultimately successful.

This is according to Andy Robinson, who previously worked at Neo Innovation where Eric Ries, one of the founders of the Lean Startup movement, was a partner.

Watch this video where Andy Robinson explains how this method worked for him.

Focus your sales efforts

Being excited about your product is essential, but don't let that excitement stop you seeing things from a customer's perspective. Accept that not all businesses will be able to become customers, even if you have the perfect product for them.

Work out which customers are most likely to understand what you're doing and will also be able to get past procurement to reach a deal.

Read this interview with Andy Robinson on how staying true to the principles of Lean Startup initially created hurdles that had to be overcome.

Don’t agree to every opportunity just because it’s available

In the early stages of a startup, you could be offered many opportunities by investors or stakeholders. But don’t stretch yourself too thin. Stay focused on the product, what you know works and what the customer wants.

Watch this video with Jason Fan, BrainCeek co-founder, on why he ascribes to Lean Startup “religiously” and how it informs his approach.

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