Lean business development is a method for startups that minimizes waste
Lean business development recognizes that most startups have extremely limited resources. Lean provides a road-map and a tool-set for proving the value of your business before resources are exhausted. Lean is lightweight and agile.
Lean attacks the riskiest ideas first. Lean provides a set of tools for quickly and cheaply testing all the ideas in a new business concept.
When developing a lean business, we regularly test our ideas in the marketplace against predetermined goals. When test results don’t match our goals, we don’t quit. We learn from our ideas, improve our business plans and test again.
The purpose of any startup is to create a scale-able, repeatable business model. Lean endeavors to perfect the business model before investing in scaling. With lean, errors in the business model design are discovered when they are still inexpensive to fix.
I was once fortunate enough to work for a unicorn startup which raised and spent over $300 million. This startup delayed validation of their most fundamental assumptions. We invested $300 million in scaling a business which had few customers. The invention was brilliant. It created an efficient market for large volume stock trading. We sold and installed every major investment firm. Unfortunately, we did not address the needs of critical decision-makers, the traders. This never would have happened in a lean business development. With lean, the founders of this company could have tested their assumptions and made improvements or pivots to their business model. This experience has turned me into a lifetime evangelist for lean business development.
E7 Systems has worked through lean business development processes with a number of clients. Bill has also volunteered his time public speaking on lean business development, teaching courses and mentoring at the SCAPE business accelerator in Durango, CO.
Lean business development begins with the lean canvas, a single page business plan that exposes your ideas in nine essential components of any new business.
The lean canvas is a business model design tool created for teams. The canvas is posted on the wall and completed by the founders, maximizing communication and discovery. With the business model identified, a lean team can identify the assumptions underlying the elements of the business plan. These assumptions are prioritized, and the riskiest assumptions are singled out for verification.
A startup is not the same as an operational business. Operational businesses optimize known business models to maximize profits. The mission of a startup to to search for and prove an entirely new business model.
Lean business development provides tools to economically and rapidly validate or disprove the assumptions on the canvas.
Rather than make an immediate profit, a lean startups mission is to iterate through their assumptions, either validating them with real data or improving the business model design.
For more details on lean business development, please review our lean business blog.
If you have any questions