The majority of visitors to this site are thinking about starting or have recently started a business and are perhaps looking to take it to the next level. The Lean Startup is absolutely one of the very first books you should read (or should have read before starting your business). As I’ve recounted before in other articles and podcasts I’ve produced, 8 out of 10 businesses fail in 18 months or less and the greater majority of those are absolutely preventable.
Eric’s book focuses specifically on businesses trying to create rather than duplicate or replicate. He defines a startup as, “an organization dedicated to creating something new under condition of extreme uncertainty. What they have in common is a mission to penetrate that fog of uncertainty to discover a successful path to a sustainable business.” The purpose of this book is to teach you how to efficiently run or start a business through a great deal of proven methods. He also documents a great number of counter-intuitive methods which aim to reduce production timelines and can leave you with measurable results that will truly show you what customers want from you.
As with other books I’ve recommended this book circumvents the need for a lofty business plan and abandons the dated concept for a more real-world approach that includes continuous testing, adaptation, adjusting, and communication with customers in order to avoid the growing pains and failures most startups fall into. Of course technology today and advancements in communications, metrics, and engineering make creating, testing, and deploying just about any product much more affordable than in the past.
This book will certainly help reprogram your thinking and you will learn numerous ways to innovate and launch new products or businesses successfully the first time and every time. Continuous innovation is the core concept of this book (hence the circular imagery on the cover). I love the concept of an ever changing, growing, evolving business model!
Here are a few snippets from the book:
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In magazines and newspapers, in blockbuster movies, and on countless blogs, we hear the mantra of the successful entrepreneurs: through determination, brilliance, great timing, and–above all–a great product, you too can achieve fame and fortune. There is a mythmaking industry hard at work to sell us that story, but I have come to believe the story is false, the product of selection bias and after-the-fact rationalization… most startups fail. Most new products are not successful. Most new ventures do not live up to their potential. Yet the story of perseverance, creative genius, and hard work persists. Why is it so popular?
When we fail, as so many of us do, we have a ready-made excuse: we didn’t have the right stuff. We weren’t visionary enough or weren’t in the right place at the right time. After more than ten years as an entrepreneur, I came to reject that line of thinking.