How to Apply the Lean Startup Methodology

While operating a lean business is often associated with the tech world, the principles of it generally apply to a range of companies and industries. Ries' methodology is broken out in a book via three areas. They are:

The first step is to adopt what Ries calls 'validated learning' to determine whether your business concept is valid - not just today, but in the long-term. Ries challenges entrepreneurs to gauge whether they are making progress, in part by using an adapted version of scientific experimentation.

Once your vision is validated, Ries has instructions for how to build a minimum viable product to test key assumptions about the product, market, and customer base. The good news? If you find some of your assumptions are challenged, the methodology also incorporates a gauge for when it's time to pivot, and when it's time to stay focused.

The final step is to apply the Build - Measure - Learn feedback loop (established during the Steer segment) as quickly as possible to stimulate growth. Assuming your product or idea has enough juice to take off, the methodology provides a vision for the future, one that encapsulates the next wave of business concerns - from manufacturing to scaling up to organizational design.
Ideally, the Lean Methodology should be applied to all aspects of your business. It's not just about getting the business off the ground by determining its viability. You can also apply it to parts of the business that will help you grow - like your brand.