February '13

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Your Personal Business Trainer |||| Start It Up Eric Ries, author of The Lean Start-Up, offers today's entrepreneur a methodology to take the inkling of an idea, blend it with continuous innovation, and create a radically successful business. The five principles of Ries' The Lean Startup approach are relatively simple, in both concept and practice: •Entrepreneurs are everywhere. A good entrepreneur surrounds herself with good people, has an appreciation for proper team structure, a strong vision of the future and an appetite for risk-taking. The concept of entrepreneurship includes anyone who works within the definition of a startup: a human institution designed to create new products and services under conditions of extreme uncertainty. •Entrepreneurship is management. A startup is an institution, not just a new product or budding idea, and so it requires a new kind of management—one that can thrive in an environment of extreme uncertainty. Ries believes "entrepreneur" should be considered a job title in all modern companies that depend on innovation for their future growth. •Validated learning. Startups exist not just to make stuff, make money or even serve customers. They exist to learn how to build a sustainable business. This learning can be validated scientifically by running frequent experiments that allow entrepreneurs to test each element of their vision. Vision, steer, accelerate Imagine that someone on your team has an idea for a new line of shirt designs that would make the "Life is Good" gang stand up and applaud. Sure, you could produce the pre-press samples, but will they sell—and, more importantly, would people buy them at a price that can turn a profit? When is the most opportune time to launch the line? And, to whom? The Lean Startup method is designed to teach entrepreneurs how to drive a startup. Instead of making complex plans and final edition prototype samples that are based on a lot of untested assumptions, startup entrepreneurs should make constant adjustments with the steering wheel called the buildmeasure-learn feedback loop. Through this process of steering, one can learn if it's time to make a sharp turn (a pivot), or whether they should persevere along the current path. Accordingly, Ries is a staunch proponent of adopting the "vision, steer, accelerate" approach, an apparent cousin to "ready, aim, fire." Vision makes the case for a new discipline of entrepreneurial management. Steer dives into The Lean Startup method in detail, showing one major turn through the core build-measure-learn feedback loop. In "Accelerate," Ries explores techniques that enable startups to speed through the feedback loop as quickly as possible, even as they scale. •Build-measure-learn. The fundamental activity of a startup is to turn ideas into products, measure how customers respond and then learn whether to pivot or persevere. All successful startup processes should be geared to accelerate this feedback loop. •Innovation accounting. To improve entrepreneurial outcomes and hold innovators accountable, there is a need to focus on the mundane practice of designing experiments, measuring outcomes, setting up milestones and prioritizing work. This requires a new kind of accounting designed expressly for startups and the people who hold them accountable. pw 24 | Printwear PW_FEB13.indd 24 February 2013 1/18/13 10:01 AM

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