Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Attention Entrepreneurs: Think Big, Start Small, Scale Fast

I am a guest panelist for an Innovation Incubator Conference in Los Angeles on August 23, 2013.  Conference participants were asked to read “The Lean Startup” by Eric Riles prior to the conference.  Riles provides a no-nonsense business startup process for entrepreneurs who develop and sell products and services

In prior work in store operations and franchise management, I saw the results that consistent processes and systems generate.  A quality system can increase profits, delight customers, and make the life of a business owner somewhat manageable.  One process Riles details in his book is Build-Measure-Learn (BML) which is an ongoing feedback loop for continuous improvement.

Build – Turn ideas into tangible products

Measure – Listen to what customers say about the product

Learn – Based on what you learned, either pivot or persevere

Riles also recommends that entrepreneurs should “Think Big, Start Small, Scale Fast”.  It is not a good idea to “Think Small” and “Start Big.”  But how many failing startups do exactly that.  The startup objective is to determine if the product has the value customers are willing to seek out and pay for.  After perfecting a product that exceeds customer expectations, the startup company can “Scale Fast.”

Understanding how to “Scale Fast” is as much a part of the management strategy as designing the product.  Once a unique product solves an unmet customer need, competitors flood the marketplace.  A recent example is ice cream sandwiches where you stand in line to get ice cream sandwiched between homemade cookies  The “Ice Cream Sandwich Coming Soon” locations are popping up as fast as a franchise or license can be sold.  If you are contemplating a new startup, research Rile's “Think Big, Start Small, Scale Fast" strategy. 

For multi-location advice in strategic expansion or business solutions for profitability contact Bett Mickels, WorldWideTeams Consulting at

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