Book Recommendation: The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

by | May 22, 2024

This week instead of talking about ways to navigate specific challenges you face as small business owners, I want to introduce you to a book that will help you as well. The book is called The Lean Startup by Eric Ries (Affiliate links below if you want to purchase a copy) and I think it’s worth your time regardless of how large, or how mature, your business might be.

Many of you may have already read the book, and if so I would love to hear what stuck with you after reading it. Eric talks a lot about startups and how they take ideas and turn them into successful businesses. Even though many of his stories are about very early stage startups, they are applicable to every business and often can be applied to other parts of life as well.

For me, one of my big takeaways is the philosophy of viewing your business like a science experiment. Eric talks a lot about developing and repeating a Build – Test – Learn loop. I won’t do it justice attempting to simplify it into a short post like this, but here’s the basic gist:

For new businesses, new products, new features, you’re making assumptions that are leading you to do something new or make a change. Some of those assumptions are more obvious than others, and the best course of action is to test those assumptions as early, and as cheaply, as possible. Everything takes longer and becomes exponentially more expensive the further along you get.

Nobody wants to launch a new product only to learn that nobody actually wants it after the fact. But even if you’re not starting a new company, or launching a new product, you can embrace the concept and benefit from it.

A very oversimplified example: You are having trouble with employee retention. You assume that if you give everyone a raise they’ll be more likely to stay. Increasing everyone’s wages could be pretty impactful to your bottom line so you want to be sure. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could know definitively that higher wages would keep people from leaving BEFORE you incur that cost? What are some ways to test this theory?

Take this concept and apply it everywhere.

What problems are you currently facing? How can you adopt a more scientific approach? Better yet, what would it look like to conduct your business in a way that maximizes your learnings from each potential mis-step or failed attempt?

Lots to think about. Enjoy the book, you can find it at the library if you don’t want to buy it. They’ve got audio books too if that’s more your jam. Personally, I listened to the audio book from the library and then bought it afterwards because I found it so valuable.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts or reactions so don’t hesitate to reach out.

(Affiliate link to tip/support: The Lean Startup by Eric Ries – Kindle, Paperback, Hardcover, Audio)