What is Lean Startup?

The traditional way of starting a business is to:

  • Come up with an idea
  • Register the domain name
  • Go to LegalZoom and register the company
  • Stealthily and covertly build a product
  • Launch the product to fanfare and advertising
  • Wonder why nobody is beating your door down
  • Do some market surveys to find out why you are not selling
  • Take that feedback and pivot the product and company
  • If you have any cash left over, get traction and grow

The Lean Startup Movement works in somewhat reverse order:

  • Do some market surveys to find out what people need and want
  • Get some commitments from people before you build anything
  • Build an MVP (or even better, a paper prototype)
  • Test your concept with those early adopters
  • Take that feedback and iterate the product
  • Once money comes in, go to LegalZoom and register the company
  • Register the domain name based on how the brand has evolved

How do you do market survey?

  • Get a list of names, preferably from warm introductions
  • Create an event – happy hour plus instructional “how to” content
  • See how many people RSVP to the event
  • See how many people actually show up to the event
  • During the event, poll people on their problems and needs
  • Based on the raise of hands, suggest some solutions
  • Solicit solutions from the audience
  • See how many people are willing to commit to be testers or first customers
  • See how many people are willing to pre-pay to get first in line

Ideally, you will get enough people to show a serious sign of commitment and perhaps even put their money where their mouth is so you don’t have to have to get investors or invest a ton of your own money into the product.

That, in a nutshell, is Lean Startup.