How can lean startup help you launch your product?
Lean startup is an approach to building businesses and implementing business ideas around innovation methods.
How can lean startup help you launch your product?
Launching a new product is not always easy. It can be a costly and sometimes risky process. This is true whether the product is digital or physical. In both cases, the launch requires going through different phases, including design, testing and product development. You obviously hope that your new creation will be appreciated by customers and that they will rush to buy it. In practice, it is a good idea to implement innovation methods, such as lean startup. This approach allows entrepreneurs to assess customer interest in the product or service before it is developed. In this article, we will find out what lean startup is and look at several strategies for launching new products.
What is lean startup?
Lean startup is an approach to building businesses and implementing business ideas around innovation methods. The focus is on streamlining procedures to allow for more flexibility and agility. Learning can take place on the basis of mistakes, from iterative tests, and the whole process is intended to focus on the customer and his expectations. The development of the product or service is based on feedback from the customer, which opens up new assumptions and possibilities. This greatly reduces the risk of failure.
Lean Startup is based on the same principles as Lean Manufacturing. The term was coined by Eric Ries in 2009. In 2011, his book The Lean Startup was a great success and helped to lay the foundations of the method. The term consists of the word “lean” which, in the context of innovation methods, refers to the simplification of procedures, with the aim of quickly and cheaply checking whether a product is marketable or not. The second term in the expression reminds us that the approach is particularly suitable for start-ups.
Among the current innovation methods, Design Thinking, Agile and, more specifically, Lean Startup are the ones that stand out. These techniques are even becoming a must for today’s companies. The rapid development of new technologies and the intensification of competition are changing the landscape and making it necessary for companies that operate in the traditional way to implement new methods aimed at innovation. In this context, new product and service development strategies and simplified project management aim to make companies agile and better able to meet the challenges of the digital world.
Lean startup methods for product launches
Build – Measure – Learn
Lean startup is based on a cycle called ‘Build – Measure – Learn’. This cycle defines an innovation method that can be repeated until the desired results are achieved. It starts with building a project, developing mock-ups and prototypes, which are then tested on customers in order to learn from them and help improve the product. It is in this sense that the Build, Measure, Learn method allows products or services to be launched in better conditions. The practice of testing and the analysis of the results obtained serve as a sort of springboard for the launch, contributing to adjustments at an early stage. The originality of this method is also that the process can be repeated several times in order to improve the product. The cycles are short, so that changes can be implemented quickly, based on customer feedback.
Early product introduction
One of the lean start-up strategies is to present a product or service before it is completed, sometimes even before there is a prototype. This method of innovation relies on technology, particularly digital technology, to present products that exist only in the imagination of their creators. The power of images brings to life products that do not exist in reality. Digital 3D models are used for this purpose. Another variation is to have a prototype built by a 3D printer, which allows customers to better perceive what the whole thing will look like. Companies engaged in innovation can also use videos to capture the public’s attention and interest in the product.
Testing customer intent
A potential customer may like your product, but not intend to use it. This is obviously not the intention. In the lean startup, it is therefore important to test the customer’s intention as well: has their interest been aroused enough for them to want to know more? Will they take the plunge and buy the product? To be sure, you can use a lean startup method based on a landing page. This web page introduces the product, using the modelling strategy presented above, and details its features and benefits. The site has a form that allows visitors to pre-register online. Depending on the strategy used, the customer may be offered the opportunity to test a minimal version of the product, or beta version, or to leave his or her contact details, in order to be informed of the product’s release. This method has a double advantage: not only can the company measure customer interest in the product, but it can also create a database of potential customers before the product is launched.
An increasingly common technique is to create a classic ‘click here to buy’ call to action button. As the product does not yet exist, the action leads to an error or message indicating that the product is not available. It is worth adding a form to capture the contact details of potential customers and to measure the number of visitors to the page who intend to buy the product.