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Accelerate Learning Rather Than Just Executing the Original Business Plan
on 13 November 2011
"Now Moses wrote down the starting points of their journeys at the command of the LORD." - Numbers 33:2 (NKJV)
Having taught entrepreneurs for many years and studied many of the most successful ones, I am always struck by how differences in focus on learning seem to correlate with achieving more or less success. Those who believe that they just need to implement their business plan usually flop. Those, by contrast, who assume they don't know the "right" answer . . .but desperately want to find out . . . seem to do quite well.
My favorite saying about entrepreneurs is that their first business model is their worst one. Fail quickly, often, and inexpensively in seeking a better business model, and you will eventually find a profitable business model and offerings.
While this book covers lean operations as well as business model and offering development, I thought that its main value comes in the example of how a Web-based business should measure its performance and monitor how well potential improvements work out. If you have such a business, the book's contents are directly applicable by you.
If you want to apply the book's lessons to a different kind of business, you'll find the information here to be more difficult to apply.
I believe that this book will be most helpful to those who haven't tried to start a business before and are accustomed to making incremental improvements in existing, successful businesses.
If you already understand the importance of measuring performance in creating trial, turning trial into regular purchases, and regular purchases into loyalty to a product or service, you will probably wonder what all the fuss is about. In that regard, pay attention to Mr. Ries' ideas about how minimal an offering you can put together to test.
The book's biggest drawback is that Mr. Ries doesn't give very many clues about what to test if the current program isn't working. As such, his approach lacks enough depth to totally guide a startup to success.