How a Lean Business Launch Helps New Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses Emerge and Grow

 

Starting a new business or launching a new product is an exciting but risky endeavor. Many entrepreneurs spend a lot of time and money developing their ideas, only to find out that there is no market demand for them or that they are outcompeted by existing players. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 20% of new businesses fail within the first year, and about 50% fail within the first five years.

However, there is a way to reduce the uncertainty and increase the chances of success for new entrepreneurs and small businesses: the lean business launch. The lean business launch is a method that applies the principles of the lean startup approach, pioneered by Steve Blank and Eric Ries, to the process of creating and launching a new business or product. The lean business launch helps entrepreneurs and small businesses emerge and grow by following these steps:

  • Define your business. Start with a brief high-level description of your business idea, including your value proposition, target market, revenue model, and competitive advantage. You can use tools like the Business Model Canvas or the Lean Canvas to capture your assumptions and hypotheses about your business on a single page.
  • Choose your problem and solution. Specify the problem you want to solve for your customers and how your product or service will solve it. You can use tools like the Value Proposition Canvas or the Problem-Solution Fit Canvas to identify your customer segments, their jobs-to-be-done, their pains and gains, and how your product or service will create value for them.
  • Define your target market and competition. Research your potential customers and competitors to validate your assumptions and hypotheses about your market size, growth, trends, needs, preferences, behaviors, and alternatives. You can use tools like surveys, interviews, focus groups, observation, or online platforms to collect data and feedback from your target market. You can also use tools like SWOT analysis, Porter’s Five Forces analysis, or competitive matrix to analyze your competitive landscape and position.
  • Determine how you’ll market your business. Develop your marketing strategy and plan to reach, attract, convert, and retain your customers. You can use tools like the Marketing Mix or the Marketing Plan Canvas to define your marketing goals, channels, tactics, budget, and metrics. You can also use tools like the Customer Journey Map or the Pirate Metrics to map out your customer acquisition funnel and optimize each stage of it.
  • Evaluate your finances. Estimate your startup costs, operating expenses, revenue streams, cash flow, break-even point, and profitability. You can use tools like the Startup Costs Calculator or the Financial Plan Canvas to project your financial performance and viability. You can also use tools like the Lean Startup Metrics or the Balanced Scorecard to measure and monitor your key performance indicators (KPIs) and adjust your actions accordingly.
  • Establish milestones for success. Set realistic and achievable goals for your business launch and growth. You can use tools like the SMART Goals or the OKR Framework to define your objectives, key results, actions, deadlines, and responsibilities. You can also use tools like the Gantt Chart or the Kanban Board to plan and track your progress and deliverables. 
  • Determine the resources you need. Identify the human, physical, financial, and intellectual resources you need to launch and grow your business. You can use tools like the Resource Inventory or the Resource Gap Analysis to assess your current and desired resources and how to acquire them. You can also use tools like the Lean Team Canvas or the Stakeholder Map to build and manage your team and network.
  • Ask for feedback. Test your business idea with real customers before launching it to validate its desirability, feasibility, and viability. You can use tools like the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) or the Experiment Board to design and run experiments to test your assumptions and hypotheses about your problem, solution, market, and business model. You can also use tools like the Customer Feedback Loop or the Build-Measure-Learn Cycle to collect and analyze feedback from your customers and learn from your results.

The lean business launch is a method that helps new entrepreneurs and small businesses emerge and grow by following a systematic, customer-centric, and data-driven process of creating and launching a new business or product. The lean business launch helps entrepreneurs and small businesses avoid wasting time and money on ideas that don’t work, and instead focus on finding product-market fit, building customer loyalty, and achieving sustainable growth.