“Build your own business empire and change the world,” Arup Maity, director of information and research at the Philippine Software Industry Association (PSIA), exhorted the audience in his presentation on the Lean Startup Methodology during the “Startup Forum” held recently in one of the track sessions staged for the Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) Expo Science 2013 at SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.

The Lean Startup Methodology is different from traditional business startup plans as it seeks to increase value producing practices during product development phase and shun wasteful ones such as sourcing for outside funding and developing elaborate business plans. Through this methodology, startups can shorten their product development cycles and achieve greater success.

This new methodology is one of the most anticipated business methodologies in Silicon Valley. It was also one of the most transformative topics discussed during the forum which gave an overview of starting a business via online media.

How does it work?

The methodology requires customer feedback during product development which is integral to the lean startup process. This step ensures that the business owner does not invest time designing features or services that consumers do not want.

Likewise, it pushes web-based or tech-related startups away from the ideology of their dot-com era predecessors in order to achieve cost-effective production by building a minimal product and gauging customer feedback.

For example, a startup owner should not engage in a six-month marketing campaign on Facebook and Twitter. Instead, it should dedicate a small budget to two-week experiments in which he will pick possible branding images and develop different ads using these images. Within two weeks, experiment results should be looked into in order to determine which ads send the most traffic to the site and which result to actual sales.

Once a technopreneur gathers this information, he can move into the third lean-startup stage, which is agile development or the process of gradually improving a product or service in response to customer feedback.

In this stage, the technopreneur will undertake re-testing involving the branding images used in the ads with positive outcomes. By doing this, he can adjust, refocus and find the marketing channels and messages that work best for their brand.

The Lean Startup Methodology was originally developed in 2008 by Eric Ries with high-tech companies in mind. It has since been expanded to apply to any individual, team, or company looking to introduce new products or services into the market. Ries' bestselling book, The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses played a large part in the popularity of the lean start-up concept in Silicon Valley.

“Startup Forum” was part of the activities for Expo Science 2013 or the National Science and Technology Week organized by the Information and Communication Technology Office of DOST. With the theme “Science, Technology and Innovation: The Road to a Smarter Philippines,” Expo Science 2013 ran from July 23-27, 2013 and showcased the different DOST-developed top-flight technologies and projects that provide solutions to pressing national issues including industry competitiveness and employment.

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