Lean start-up

The Lean Startup (Slank Ondernemen) concept is based on 5 different principles:

1. Entrepreneurs are everywhere
Startups and entrepreneurs are everywhere. You do not need to be operating out of a garage to be a startup. The definition of a startup is: ‘An institute of people, created to provide new products and services under extremely uncertain conditions.’

2. Entrepreneurship is management
A startup is an institute, not a product. A startup therefore requires a special new type of management that is designed to handle extreme uncertainties.

3. Validated learning
Startups do not exist only to conceptualise, produce, and earn revenue. Startups exist to learn how to develop sustainable business. Learning must be validated by regular experimentation and research to test various elements of the vision of entrepreneurs.

4. Build-measure-learn
The core function of startups is to translate ideas into products, to measure how clients respond, and to use that knowledge to determine when to make changes, or conversely, to persevere.

5. Innovation Accounting
In order to track the performance of entrepreneurs and innovations, it is necessary to focus on the more mundane aspects of business; How to measure progress, identify milestones, how to prioritise work, etc.


The idea and the definitions form the starting point, but learning is the raison d’être of a startup. Learning, however, must be gained from objectives and milestones, which is also known as validated learning.
The result of this phase is an MVP: Minimum Viable Product.

The first objective has been achieved, a product or service has been launched by Vision. The idea has been launched, despite the fact that it is not yet generating a profit. A condition for the next phase is that the MPV has caught on successfully and has reached a (niche) target group. What it comes down to now is that a complete product must be developed. This product will encounter genuine supporters and fans, as well as a great deal of criticism. A strategy also needs to be developed, usually based on assumptions, and those need to be tested systematically.

Once the MPV has been developed fully and reached the market, the entrepreneur has a choice: to either adapt (implement extensive change), or persevere (leave the product as it is). Thus, the strategy is based on environmental factors, not a strategy that flows from a business plan.

The lean startup necessitates working with small production batches. Indeed, it is pointless to launch a product for which there is no demand. Thus, the lean startup is geared toward producing little in as short as possible a timeframe. This applies to factory-made products, as well as the development of online services/products.

A startup can only evolve if it becomes an “adaptable organisation”. This means the startup must constantly take advantage of factors occurring in the immediate environment. Quality before speed! In the last phase, the organisation experiences rapid growth. That is the ideal time to embed innovation within the business.