There's lean and then there's lean

Kenneth TruemanGeneral0 Comments

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In the world of technology start-ups, particularly software-based ones, there is nothing more hotter or critical than the philosophy of The Lean Startup, which proposes an iterative approach to determining what the market values and then building a solution to meet it. At Digitera, we use that philosophy for the purpose of strategic planning and provide consulting services to customers with that approach in mind.

There is a big difference though between the economics that underlie a successful software-based start-up and those that are present in the context of a consulting business, particularly one that is a solo venture (for now!).

The reality is that professional services don’t scale well. Unlike Schrödinger’s cat, it is hard to be in two places (or states, in the case of the cat) at once. In a solo venture, your lean start-up is about as lean as they come. The people available to do the work are me, myself and I.

What does scale is software (liberally defined), specifically a website and presences on social media for generating awareness and capturing leads; tools, specifically standardised documents such as presentations and templates; and processes, such as methodologies.

Every day is thus a judgement call, except when performing billable work, which typically takes precedence. Do you invest free time in generating awareness, building new sales and marketing tools, or documenting project processes ?

Blogging, while at first sight an easy effort, is actually a tough call. It creates value in terms of search engine placement and it demonstrates activity, which is reassuring to many. But it is not something that scales well, that can be reused, improved upon (yes, self-plagiarism is frowned upon in media circles), etc., unlike a sales tool document or  core messaging for a website.

Blogging is also difficult to do well if you want to do it right. Like any good story, it should have a well thought out beginning, middle, and an end. Instead of leaving the reader hanging.