[Day 2/30] The 5 Principles of Lean Startup

Photo by The Lean Startup Conference/Jakub Mosur and Erin Lubin

“Startup success can be engineered by following the process, which means it can be learned, which means it can be taught.” – Eric Ries

One of the biggest questions when starting a business or beginning any venture is: will it fail?

Lean Startup is a way of doing business that is expanding from startups to enterprise businesses, non-profits, and the public sector. Yesterday we defined what a startup is and the 3 types of uncertainty they experience. It is a process that engineers success through a clear process.

Today, in Day 2 of 30 Days of Lean Startup, we are looking at the 5 basic principles of Lean Startup:

The Lean Startup provides a scientific approach to creating and managing startups and get a desired product to customers’ hands faster. 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. It is a principled approach to new product development.

Too many startups begin with an idea for a product that they think people want. They then spend months, sometimes years, perfecting that product without ever showing the product, even in a very rudimentary form, to the prospective customer. When they fail to reach broad uptake from customers, it is often because they never spoke to prospective customers and determined whether or not the product was interesting. When customers ultimately communicate, through their indifference, that they don’t care about the idea, the startup fails.

The 5 Principles of The Lean Startup Methodology are:

1. Entrepreneurs are everywhere

Like we learned yesterday, you don’t have to be in a garage to be a startup (but you can be). Entrepreneurs are at GE, in the IRS, in Hollywood. They are in Intuit, in healthcare and revolutionizing the government.

2. Entrepreneurship is management

A startup is an institution, not just a product, so it requires management, a new kind of management specifically geared to its context. We will be covering this new kind of management more in-depth on Day 22. Click here to make sure you receive the management training straight to your inbox.

3. Validated Learning

Startups exist not to make stuff, make money, or serve customers. They exist to learn how to build a sustainable business. This learning can be validated scientifically, by running experiments that allow us to test each element of our vision. We will go more in depth about Validated Learning on Day 11. Make sure you get it here. 

4. Innovation Accounting

To improve entrepreneurial outcomes, and to hold entrepreneurs accountable, we need to focus on the boring stuff: how to measure progress, how to setup milestones, how to prioritize work. This requires a new kind of accounting, specific to startups. We are covering Innovation Accounting on Day 10 of the 30 Days of Lean Startup.


Build Measure Lean loop

The fundamental activity of a startup is to turn ideas into products, measure how customers respond, and then learn whether to pivot or persevere. All successful startup processes should be geared to accelerate that feedback loop. Learn more about the Build-Measure-Learn feedback loop on Day 9 of the 30 Days of Lean Startup. 

Want to learn even more about core principles of The Lean Startup?

At this year’s conference, we have some great ways to dive deeper. Including a workshop available to Gold and Platinum tickets that dives into Lean Startup 101, 201, and 301. There is another session with Frank Rimalovski, Director of NYU Entrepreneurial Institute, on the Lean Startup Basics.

Over three days at the conference, you and your team will be able to learn the basics of Lean Startup and dive deeper into specific topics that will help your organization meet your goals. If you are interested in bringing your team to the conference, for groups of 8 or more you will get a 20% discount as well as have The Lean Startup team customize your itinerary, so you can maximize your results when you get home.

Register for your pass here. 

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