Tech startups are the hot topic in the world of entrepreneurship these days. Since the booming popularity of Uber and Airbnb, more and more people are fixing their attention to creating the next big thing. Launching a new venture, whether it’s a tech startup, an online store or any business in general—requires careful planning and the right adoption of strategy. One of the new catchphrases in the startup world is “The Lean Startup,” which is a method of running a company that favors experimentation, customer feedback, and interactive design. As the founder and CEO of one of Southeast Asia’s emerging tech partners, Guillaume Catella shared his thoughts about the Lean Startup and what that entails for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Is “The Lean Startup” a new thing?
Guillaume: It’s actually an old but effective concept that’s been given a fancier name. The Lean Startup is based on build-measure-learn loop which is important for genuine experimentation and validated learning through interaction with customers. It’s extremely similar to Plan-Do-Check-Act loop. It plans the implementation project, apply the action plan, check on what’s working and not, and act on the working model—repeat. Any startup that’s bootstrapping is most likely adopting the Lean Startup methodology, or the “PDCA” method.
What are some of the pros of “The Lean Startup”?
Guillaume: This particular model wants to engage with customer on an organic level, so they tend to have clearer and engaging frameworks. Since they’re testing to see whether the prototype or the minimum viable product (MVP) will work or not, it helps to shape the optimal end product. It also teaches entrepreneurs to be lean and strategic with their resources as well as budget.
How about some challenges?
Guillaume: Although people like to think this method is new (it’s not, just re-branded) and can be applicable to any type of business—that’s not quite the case. It’s a slippery definition that can’t be applied everywhere. Some industry can’t really come up with MVP (which is a vital part of the Lean Startup methodology) such as the Gaming industry that tends to have shorter longevity. Another industry is e commerce which is almost the opposite of the Lean Startup; where they have to spend a lot of money to build their product catalogs.
How about Pivot, what’s it all about?
Guillaume: First of all, Pivot doesn’t mean completely fails although in some cases you just need to stop and/or change. One of the hardest things for entrepreneurs to accept is admitting that the business concept doesn’t work and they have to stop. Knowing when to stop is crucial; to prevent further damage and to be able to stop and turn directions. In many cases pivot can mean one of your product features needs an adjustment to the trend in the market. Same thing could happen after you get customer feedback, you decided that you need to change your marketing strategy or adding more features.
Any other comments on the Lean Startup?
Guillaume: You need to be extremely flexible and ready to face uncertainty when doing the Lean Startup in building your startup. Being lean is an important habit and a must for all entrepreneurs. Don’t be too prideful and stubborn with your idea, instead, listening to feedback and hit the brakes when necessary. If you come up with a plan to build a product and applying build-measure-learn method—there’s no reason that you can’t come up with something useful that people want to use.