If you know me you will have heard me talk about Lean Start Up, maybe a little too much at times.  But for small, entrepreneurial businesses with a fast growth agenda – this is where it’s at.

It’s not a new groundbreaking concept, in fact it’s been around for years, but applying this thinking to marketing is a whole new way of harnessing the power of keeping things lean.  Put simply, Lean Start Up marketing is a way for startups and individuals with a finite budget to learn the marketing approach that is going to work for them and their business, fast.

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Taking it back to basics, small businesses need to understand what products are going to work, whether people even want what you’re selling and if so, what approach to marketing is going to cut it.  Easy right?  L Often this can feel like the most complex, overwhelming place to start, and many small businesses become paralysed by these very questions, not knowing where to start because hey, what if you get it wrong?   Alternatively they build and build, forging ahead with their assumption that they have a great product, and can feel fiercely confident with little real evidence to back up their instinct.  More often than not you have a good product that has sold well in close circles and within warm networks but is proving challenging to scale up to take to a completely new marketplace.

With its overarching philosophy of “Build/Measure/Learn” – Lean Start Up is one way to remove waste, effort and risk from whatever you are trying to achieve or discover for your business. The principles of Lean Start Up encourage experimentation and testing to discover and learn as fast as possible whether you need to hone your product; try a different market; or change the way you position and talk about what you do.  Let’s face it none of us can afford expensive marketing campaigns that take a long time to create, to implement and prove impossible to decipher whether they are successful or not.

The single most important thing we can do is TEST.

By running a series of small, low-cost experiments we can gather real data that will inform our next move.  This constantly iterative state enables you to flex and appear super responsive to your customers, interestingly it also elicits really honest feedback.  It’s surprisingly much easier to give your real opinion when someone tells you it’s a work in progress;  if we’re presented with a finished, polished product how many of us would feel able to say “I think you’ve missed something, you might need to start again”.

As Eric Ries puts it..” The goal of a start up is to figure out the right thing to build – that customers want and will pay for as quickly as possible”

Be bold, be brave, and above all be innovative in the way you learn – all data is good data; even if you discover you got it wrong, it’s the best opportunity you will have to get it right

Recommended reading: The Lean Start Up – Eric Ries

Eric Ries is an entrepreneur and author of the New York Times bestseller
The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Business

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