Top 5 Missteps for New Lean Startup Practitioners

Lean Startup can focus your efforts towards the most immediate, critical goals for your business.  But like every new skill, practicing Lean Startup can be difficult, frustrating entrepreneurs.  Here we list 5 common missteps new Lean Startup practitioners make.

  1. No Roadmap: Lean Startup is all about testing your riskiest business assumptions.  These leap of faith assumptions (LOFAs) are critical to your business’s success or failure.  But if you don’t first prioritize LOFAs, you risk conducting tons of ‘learn nothing’ interviews and missing key networking & business opportunities.  This may help you to prioritize your LOFAs.
  2. Trusting the Customers: Customers will lie to you.  Okay- perhaps not intentionally, but they don’t always tell you exactly what you need to know.  Often, their words and behaviors are out of sync.  Being a disciplined Lean Startup practitioner means asking open ended questions and digging deep to get at a customer’s real behavior (always with your LOFAs in mind).  Watch Rob Fitzpatrick discuss the ‘mom test’ and ways to separate learning and confirming.
  3. Ignoring the Customer:  It’s hard to hear a customer tell you their truth, which might go against your view of a customer’s needs (also see #2 above). Becoming good at the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) gives you actionable data to better guess a customer’s real needs.  What’s an MVP?  It’s not just about the product. MVPs are quick experiments to help you aim towards a better product and/or process.  Remember- focus on early adopters. Here are some helpful links:  MVP in Biotech and Making sense of MVP.
  4. Forgetting the whole canvas:  A common challenge is to toggle between value propositions and customer segments forgetting the rest of the business model canvas (BMC).  Keep in mind that each section has its own LOFAs and needs for experimentation and that there is interaction between these segments.  Together, the learning drives towards a revenue model and cost structure that make for a profitable business.  See more here.
  5. Getting Lean only in the beginning: Lean Startup is not just meant for the earliest of ideas. Because you always have something to learn about your business, it’s a process and practice that can grow as your business grows.  Curious about corporate innovation practice?