On September 4, 2018, we kicked of Arts month in Columbia and a new book: The Lean StartUp. Here are the show notes:
Shennice Cleckley, The Ultimate Mompreneur
Kasie Whitener, The Queen of How
Theme for the day:
We started a new book for September: The Lean StartUp by Eric Ries which is required reading in all entrepreneur classes in all Universities everywhere. You cannot be a Start Up without knowing the Lean concept. Okay, you can, but you shouldn’t be.
- Hear from the 1MC Presenter for tomorrow — Joy Young from the South Carolina Arts Council
- Talk Lean StartUp and some specific core concepts therein
- Talk about events this week in the entrepreneurial community
- Address some questions and comments we received over the last week on our social channels.
This week at 1 MC — Joy Young from the South Carolina Arts Commission to talk about arts entrepreneurship and some of the unique challenges of artist-turned-business-owners.
What kind of investment is the SC Arts Commission making in entrepreneurship and why?
What do you hope to get from presenting at 1MC tomorrow?
Who’s the entrepreneur you’re bringing with you (or is it a surprise?)
Topic of the week — The Lean StartUp has made its way into the canon of texts on entrepreneurship. It’s a go-to for professors of the craft and seems to be the seminal work on the concept of applying Lean — as an idea — to the building of a business.
So some background on “Lean”:
“Lean” as a concept comes to us from Japanese auto manufacturing and is a systematic approach that has as its goal the reduction of waste. Waste in materials, in effort, in time, in labor, pretty much everywhere. The idea is to get the process as slim as possible so that the system generates highest-possible returns.
Seminal work on Lean is done by Womack and Jones and highlights five principles:
- Value: understand the value the customer places on your product or service
- Map the Value Stream: draw a one-page “map” of how you will provide value to your customer; this is the “Lean Canvas” and other tools that try to get you to envision what the process is.
- Flow: after the stream is mapped, eliminate waste in all areas — this may lean to cross-functional operations
- Pull: with distractions or waste eliminated, the path to meeting your customer should be faster and there should then be a sense of momentum toward that end
- Perfection: reviewing and revising the process until it’s as perfect as it can be, this “take the temp” activity is a continuous improvement cycle, another phrase often heard in “Lean” conversations
So how does that relate to the startup process of business creation? Glad you asked. Here’s the methodology link. Here are the basics:
- Entrepreneurs are everywhere. Let’s talk about the different models of entrepreneurship.
- Entrepreneurship is management. Let’s talk about the idea of “managing” all the different moving parts of entrepreneurship.
- Validated Learning: don’t just make stuff. Let’s talk about minimum viable product and the idea of getting the concept into the customer’s hands right away and then using feedback to iterate. Also, a lot about vanity measures and are you looking for the right feedback?
- Innovation Accounting: not the numbers stuff, but “boring” all the same, this is about measuring progress. You have to measure the right stuff — set goals/expectations, and then watch the progress toward those goals. Follow a path, have milestones, recognize progress not in hindsight, but because you planned to achieve those things.
- Build-Measure-Learn: the agile approach to iterations, perfecting a program or product, the MVP approach versus the old-school development in a vacuum approach.
The Lean StartUp was a “revolution” to use an over-used phrase in the concept of entrepreneurship. It breaks traditional business rules in a number of ways:
- Ries contends you should release a bare-bones product, one that might not even function, let your users tell you why they hate it, and go from there.
- Ries suggests all ideas are worth trying but only some will make you money; and he claims this Lean process he’s developed will actually identify the latter.
- Ries says entrepreneurs can fall into a trap of sensationalizing their idea without really learning if the customer thinks the idea has merit. — Just cuz you love it, don’t mean anyone gonna buy it.
- Ries claims his method will prevent startups from squandering investments, wasting time, and running after ideas that have no basis for financial success. Investors usually think they know what will pop and what won’t.
Here’s a link to an interview with him where he talks about his altruistic reasons for pursuing this methodology (and building an empire on it).
Here’s an article about other “groundbreaking” or “nausea-inspiring” ideas that took their genius to the publisher and then to the bank.
Events of the week —
1 Million Cups welcomes Joy Young of the SC Arts Commission and a series of artist entrepreneurs during September.
The Women’s Business Center of SC at Columbia College visits Walterboro for a listening session sponsored by the University of South Carolina at Salkehatchie on Thursday.
Also, the Women’s Business Center of SC is hosting 12@12 with Tameika Isaac Devine, City Councilwoman, attorney, and City of Columbia Mayor Pro Tem, this Friday at M Vista.
The SBA presents “Start Your Business with the SBA and SCORE” tomorrow (WEdnesday Sept 5th) at 10 a.m. Get tickets here. That’s a free event at SC Works on Taylor Street in Columbia.
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