The lean startup methodology is used for businesses and products to shorten a product development cycle and quickly discover if an idea or business model is possible. This allows you to get a product or service out to your audience faster. It also gives you the ability to rapidly adapt and pivot your idea as you move forward, also known as validated learning.
This is great for you as you start an online business, because you can modify your business plan as you go based on market conditions. That way you’re not stuck following an idea or business plan that won’t work well, but rather an idea or plan that improves as you move forward. Each month becomes better than the last one.
The lean startup approach can also be used if you have an existing online business, you can start incorporating these ideas into your existing online business to modify and improve your approach.
So how can you use the lean startup method in your idea or business plan? Follow the three steps of learn, build and measure; which is also sometimes listed as find, execute and validate.
This means that you 1) learn by finding out what your potential audience or followers want or need; 2) start building your plan, website and social media inline with those wants & needs; and 3) measure your results over time as you move forward.
Based on what you find out, you can modify your lean startup plan based on what you’ve learned. Repeat this process every month as time moves on, and you’ll be able to use the lean startup method to improve your business continuously, always making it work better.
“The Lean Startup method teaches you how to drive a startup-how to steer, when to turn, and when to persevere-and grow a business with maximum acceleration.” Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup.
Your lean startup business plan can then eliminate wasted products & ideas that don't work. Here's your template of actions to create your own lean business plan.
1) Make a simple and straightforward lean business plan
Figure out your target market, find out who your competitors are, analyze the competition's approach and identify the things they do well. You'll also want to identify the key things that they're missing, because these are your big opportunities to differentiate, a la Blue Ocean Strategy.
2) Write down your ideas in a short and concise description.
Keep it to one to three paragraphs and be concise. Deep planning is too far to reach in the beginning of this cycle.
3) Start executing your plan
Find business partners to work with for products & services, strategize a rough start to how you'll work with them, and build a simple website. You'll need to adjust the website each month as you move forward based on your validated learning, so start your website small and grow it organically.
“Using the Lean Startup approach, companies can create order not chaos by providing tools to test a vision continuously.” Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup.
That’s the Lean Startup methodology. The key is to keep it simple and fluid, so you're not tied down to a fixed strategy.
To review the process for a lean startup business plan: find, execute and validate your idea with audience research & strategizing your approach. Then execute a simple lean startup business plan by formalizing your plan in words and executing a website to get started.
Now tell the world! You can start on a few social media platforms; contacting people by text message, email or phone; and any other way you can think of to promote your online business and make people aware.