What if it turns out that the customers have decided they don’t want the product? Which process would allow a company to find this out sooner?
Lean manufacturers such as Toyota discovered the benefits of small batches decades ago. When I teach entrepreneurs this method, I often begin with stories about manufacturing. Before long, I can see the questioning looks: what does this have to do with my startup?
But the theory that is the foundation of Toyota’s success can be used to dramatically improve the speed at which startups find validated learning.
Toyota discovered that small batches made their factories more efficient. In contrast, in the Lean Startup the goal is not to produce more stuff efficiently. It is to— as quickly as possible— learn how to build a sustainable business. Think back to the example of envelope stuffing. What if it turns out that the customer doesn’t want the product we’re building? Although this is never good news for an entrepreneur, finding out sooner is much better than finding out later. Working in small batches ensures that a startup can minimize the expenditure of time, money, and effort that ultimately turns out to have been wasted.