Can Lean be applied to a Startup?

This entry was posted in Start Ups. Bookmark the permalink.

Lean Start Up
While the “lean philosophies commenced primarily in the Manufacturing sector, “lean” can be applied to just about any business model including Startups.

It has been used in businesses such as dentists, accountants, hospitals, government organizations just to name a few.

One of the questions I am regularly asked is can I use “lean” to assist in my start up business? The answer is unequivocally yes!

In fact there are advantages in using a “lean” model within your startup, you are setting an efficient culture from the beginning, conversely an established business needs to “transform” to a “lean philosophy” and as with any major change in business one of the major challenges is the change management requirements due to entrenched practices – something a startup will not experience.

So how can I implement “lean” into my startup? Well; as with any successful business you need sustainable consistent processes and procedures, lean complements this requirement by dealing with the uncertainty of a startup and ensure the way you do business is efficient , but more importantly, effectively with minimal duplication and waste.

Most startups begin with an idea or product that the owner thinks a lot of hard work will convert the idea to a fortune and they can eventually sit back and enjoy the rewards! Unfortunately that is only part of the recipe. Most businesses don’t fail because the owners are lazy; typically they are some of the hardest workers in the country! It needs a deliberate plan, a strategy based upon good market research. While a “lean startup” needs a plan and deliberate strategy, it doesn’t need copious amounts of information as traditionally thought; just a hypothesis which when executed is continually monitored and adjusted to create customer value.

It needs a number of ingredients, what is the most important ingredient? In my opinion, the application of lean thinking to the process of innovation is one of the critical requirements. Think about it; isn’t innovation the main “driver” of your product or service? Secondly, time is money; you need to get your product or service to your customer faster than the competition. So how can I develop a lean business model?

The business model is developed by:

  1. A vision of the product or service is created INCLUDING how the company is going to create value for itself and its customers.[a hypothesis]
  2. Go out in the market place and test the hypothesis by asking potential users and customers, about the product or service features, pricing, distribution channels to confirm or modify the potential or existing product. The focus here is on flexibility and speed. Utilize the feedback to modify your offering, and continue the cycle again if needed.
  3. It is important to implement the relevant feedback as quickly as possible, if possible concurrently don’t wait, get it to market and seek further feedback.
  4. Monitor the results, is the pricing correct? Am I making the optimum profits? Can I introduce further customer value? If needed modify your existing offering.
  5. Continually repeat the cycle.

A “lean startup” approach is no “magic bullet”, but if you continually seek feedback to determine customer value, AND reject or modify the attributes that aren’t working it is a solid foundation that will help you on your road to success.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *


Proud of the Company We Keep

Member QLD Regional Committee


Our Business Partners

  • Testimonials
    Danny has been our SolutionWise Business Consultant since October 2009. Since then with his guidance and access to many of his resources he has at his disposal we have certainly changed the direction and culture of our Company. We are more aware of how to seek the best options that are most effective and profitable for us.... View full...
    Thanks again for your help over the past year. You have helped us move in the right direction. Kim Davies – Business Owner (Bytes Dental) View full...
    We are so grateful to Arnold for his assistance in our medium size company. My wife and I attempted to run the business on our own but soon found we needed professional advice. Arnold assessed and introduced systems relevant to our industries to minimize... View full...
    When I decided to sell my business I needed help preparing it for sale. Arnold created the relevant documents ready to present to prospective buyers, meet with many interested parties and always presented the business in a highly professional manner and took ownership of the business sale right through to a successful sale. View full...
    You have got me out of “the sea of despond"! Helen Larkey – Senior Counsellor (Reconnect Counselling) View full...
    As a naturopath I like to get to the causal level of a persons’ health issues. Arnold does a similar thing with businesses. He exams all aspects of a business then priorities the trouble spots ‘hot spots’’ that need to be addressed , whilst he helps you formulate a success plan for the future. He has lots of experience and a wealth of other connections... View full...