The Start-Up Crash Diet

The Start-Up Crash Diet


Lean is more than cost reduction; it’s focus on customer value

We’ve all heard of Steve Blank’s lean start-up method where all waste is eliminated to use less capital and fewer resources.

Related: 7 Tactics for Starting a Business with Minimum Outside Capital

But how do you start lean, and importantly, how do you stay there once you’re up and running?

  1. Start by identifying where you create value. From there, work backwards to see what steps are necessary to create that value.
  2. Ensure systems are built around the value creating point so that value flows quickly and reliably to the customer.
  3. Redundant systems are often necessary for safety and stability (think airlines), and aren’t wasteful. Be careful not to start cutting into muscle when trimming the wasteful fat.
  4. Look out for fat traps but don’t mistake planning for being wasteful of time and resources.
  5. Always have a plan. It’s harder to stay lean when you’re growing if there’s nothing to check yourself against.
  6. Build check-and-adjust-points to compare your plans with your results. Try to work in short cycles so you can adjust often, and have checkpoints at multiple levels in the business from management to employees.


Learn the key tools and steps to building a lean start-up based on Streve Blank’s phenomenally successful Lean Start-up movement. Sign up for a free online course at Udacity.


Tracy Lee Nicol
Tracy-Lee Nicol is an experienced business writer and magazine editor. She was awarded a Masters degree with distinction from Rhodes university in 2010, and in the time since has honed her business acumen and writing skills profiling some of South Africa's most successful entrepreneurs, CEOs, franchisees and franchisors.Find her on Google+.