The lean startup: from idea to profitable business!

The Lean Startup

Are you dreaming to open your own business? Some simple steps using project and product management tools will help you to start on the right foot and achieve your goals!

When you start thinking about starting a business, it can feel like Mount Everest is ahead. Capital thin like mountain air with no room to breathe, ice-cold headwind from your competition, and slippery rocks of accounting.

It doesn’t have to come to this. You pick your mountain, your team and your equipment. Know yourself and prepare for what’s ahead! When you break the entire process down into smaller steps or phases, it doesn’t look so scary anymore.

This series of articles describes what you can do in order start a business. We follow principles that are similar to the “Lean Startup” popularized by Eric Ries. In fact, many related approaches are around and they all build on risk management at their core. Start with activities that generate little expenses and give better information regarding the main risk factors, keep optimizing your approach, and adapt or abort when the outlook is not good. That’s the whole secret!

This statement is perhaps too abstract to be helpful in practice. That’s why we present common tools and activities in the following articles that can help you to structure you work. Such techniques are not only used for startups, but generally in product development and project management. Perhaps some are already familiar to you if you already worked in product development. The approach is always the same: prepare, test, execute!

Based on our experience working with startups and inventors, we have developed several checklists and templates, which we adapt for each case. To help you with your business, we have made some generic templates available for free, and you will find them coming online with each article.

Always keep in mind, the methods and templates we will share are not “the law”, but merely suggestions. Each person and each project is different, and that can be your competitive advantage if you play your cards right!

Before you dive into your work, a few general hints:

  • It is better to abort a project than to proceed against your better judgement. Being attached to a project is dangerous. We are not shy to abort a project when the outlook is not good. Each phase of our projects has a milestone called “decision to proceed”, take it seriously!
  • Your business plan, risk analysis, market research etc. are never “done”, they are only “done for now”. Always keep updating, and check regularly if your assumptions are still valid! We’ve already gone from “make the product big” to “make the product small” and back to “make the product big” while our understanding of the product/market fit improved.
  • Your marketing starts on day one. Talk to people. Unless they are your direct competition, they will not steal your ideas. Tell them what you want to accomplish. If people are interested, collect their contact info. These contacts will come in handy when you publish your crowdfunding campaign, need market research or launch your product!

Now it is time for you to find out if having your own company is the right thing for you. Stay tuned! Our second article of the startup series is coming soon!

The Startup Series:

  1. The lean startup: from idea to profitable business!
  2. Do you have what it take to start your own company?
  3. Yes, I want to found a company, but which?
  4. I have an idea, what now?
  5. Market research for the lean start-up
  6. Understanding business models and writing your own!
  7. Estimating costs and keeping your head above water
  8. Developing your own marketing plan
  9. Fun with risk analysis!?
  10. How important is to have an IP and should you secure it in different countries?
  11. Deciding on branding and appearances
  12. Finding the perfect team / co-founder / mentor
  13. Where should your company be located? HQ, production and representation around the globe!
  14. The moment of truth: raise capital, apply for an accelerator program
  15. DONE: Executing your marketing plan

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