As a serial entrepreneur and consultant who works with startups and established businesses launching new products and entering new markets, it seems I have made a career out of forging ahead into the “unknown”. I recently started using the “lean startup” method of new business model and product development. According to Wikipedia, the Lean Startup is a business approach coined by Eric Ries that aims to change the way that companies are built and new products are launched.
The Lean Startup relies on validated learning, scientific experimentation, and iterative product releases to shorten product development cycles, measure progress, and gain valuable customer feedback. In this way, companies, especially startups, can design their products or services to meet the demands of their customer base without requiring large amounts of initial funding or expensive product launches.
Originally developed with high-tech companies in mind, the lean startup philosophy has since been expanded to apply to any individual, team, or company looking to introduce new products or services into the market. Today, the lean startup’s popularity has grown outside of its Silicon Valley birthplace and has spread throughout the world, in large part due to the success of Ries’ bestselling book, The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses.
However, while I found the Lean Startup to be an invaluable source of conceptual information about why the lean startup method works so well, it didn’t contain nearly enough “meat” and the step-by-step how-to information I really needed to apply the techniques as effectively as I wanted.
A few weeks ago, I was visiting with Kirk Coburn, Managing Director at SURGE and serial entrepreneur, and I saw this interesting book on his desk: The Startup Owners Manual. We discussed one of my new ventures, SoftNAS.com, and I mentioned I was in the early stages of doing some market testing and validation, and told him I was struggling a bit trying to figure out the best ways to apply the lean startup methods. He pointed to the book and said, “that’s what this book is all about.” So based on this, I ordered it from Amazon.com.
I have to say, if I had the information taught in this book and had applied it to every venture I’ve been involved in during my career, I’d probably have been orders of magnitudes more successful in those ventures that were worthwhile, and would’ve abandoned the ones that weren’t worthwhile months or years before I actually did – saving myself hundreds of thousands of dollars and my employers many millions – not to mention all the aggravation, frustration and angst that came along with failed projects.
If you are involved in any new product or new market venture, get this book. If you are involved in a startup, get this book. If you are involved in product management, get this book. If you own a business, get this book. And after you get it, read it then apply what it teaches, and I can virtually guarantee you it will: 1) increase your odds of success a hundred-fold on any new venture, and 2) stimulate some great new ideas on how you can increase your results from any existing business, help you uncover viable new business models, and perhaps even identify new products you should be seriously considering developing and introducing in your market.
Looking forward to hearing about your experiences with The Startup Owner’s Manual.