Last week a client asked me about the Lean Startup. As a small independent baker, the Learn Startup methodology didn’t really meet his needs. Actually for many small businesses, they’re already utilizing some of the Lean Startup’s principles: split testing (e.g. which new cupcake idea is selling better), pivoting (e.g. advertise better selling new cupcake), build-measure-learn (e.g. ask customers what they like about each cupcake, why, etc. then adjust the recipe if needed).
The Learn Startup is more applicable to large/new & complex products and/or services. When you have hundreds of ideas, tweaks, iterations, it can very easy to get caught-up in the labyrinth of product/service development. Essentially, it comes down to starting with a minimum viable product (MVP), have users play around with it, gather data on (i.e. with actionable metrics, interviews, use studies, etc.), decide on which steps to go next. This measured, calculated, and insightful process prevents over-developed products/services that do not necessarily have a market/meed a need.
As mentioned, the Learn Startup method might not be useful for all entrepreneurs but if you are in the processes of developing a large/complex product or even a brand new/novel product, it might be worth your time to check out this book and install some informational gathering and pivoting processes to make sure that it closely meets a market need.