The problem with The Lean StartUp

Let me begin by saying I really like the Lean StartUp method described by Eric Ries. It’s a great blueprint for entrepreneurs who have been thinking about launching their new business idea. It speaks to one of the big challenge for any small business: how to lower the chance of spending money on a bad idea.

There are a ton of great resources available for people who want to work from home or A/B test a landing page to see if people will buy your product or service.

The problem is: organizing all these resources and making the most of them is not easy.

I have several friends who own or manage a startup business, and even with a team working for them, trying to organize all the accounts effectively is a full time job. Every idea requires setting up several accounts and then tying them together, just to test one concept.

For example, even a simple MVP often requires setting up a dedicated email, buying a domain name, tying that domain name to your A/B test platform, identifying market trends using Google AdWords, generating content to drive traffic, and then providing some mechanism to accept payment.

Each one of these steps can take a few hours, depending on your level of familiarity.

To learn it all from scratch is the big challenge. For most people, it takes a year or more of trial & error to become proficient in the use of some of the more advanced tools, like Google Analytics, AdWords, Twitter, HootSuite, GoDaddy, MailChimp, and WordPress.

The important component of all of these being: How do I interpret the results?

The critical measure of success is whether an average person can interpret what they have developed effectively. And to do this, it takes more than just using The Lean StartUp book as a guide.

And what isn’t included in the book is what to do with your idea once you’ve validated it. Things like how to get a Small Business Loan, how to find a good Software Developer to build what you’ve validated, and where to pitch your idea to an Angel Investor.

Again, I think The Lean StartUp is great. But I think it most entrepreneurs who want to test and build their good idea need more than just a guide. They need a team to help them build these tools, measure the results, and then provide support to find the right resources if the idea looks like a winner. 

4 thoughts on “The problem with The Lean StartUp

  1. Tristan Kromer says:

    Your complaint with lean startup is that it doesn’t solve every single problem for every single entrepreneur?!?

    • Thanks Tristan. I was hoping to describe the challenges of learning & using effectively the tools that enable a Lean Startup method. For sure, the process won’t work for everything. I think that’s a good point though, since it means a successful entrepreneur needs to know which tools to use & how to interpret the results.

  2. Ramón Granero says:

    This is a good point, but I see Lean Startup as a strategic framework beyond all technical (or tactical) issues you describe.
    I mean, probably you don’t need to accept payment to confirm your value hypothesis in an early state: payment is for sure a great value indicator! but there are many others. If you get a couple of payments a week you don’t need anything sophisticated (and you can test if your rude payment process is avoiding customers to purchase your MVP or it is aything else!) and if you start receiving periodic payments, most probably you will be able to finance such payment platform, won’t you?
    On the other hand, if you will need a technical/tactical team (call them developers, financiers, marketeers or whatever you think of) to develop your idea, it is a good thing to confirm it as soon as possible to early evaluate the risk and take a go/don’t go decision before jumping into the pool.

    What do you think?

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