This is a subscriber-only article. Join Entrepreneur+ today for access

Learn More

Already have an account?

Sign in
Entrepreneur Plus - Short White
For Subscribers

Trim the Fat From Your Startup The lean movement is often associated with big business, but its principles can work for small companies, too.

By Ann C. Logue

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Photo © Jared Leeds
Adding value: John Shook of the Lean Enterprise Institute.

The lean movement, the concept that businesses should eliminate waste in order to use less capital and fewer resources, is often associated with major multinational manufacturers. But John Shook, chairman and CEO of the Cambridge, Mass.-based Lean Enterprise Institute, says the principles work for companies of all sizes, in all industries. Here he explains how startups can think lean and--trickier--stay lean while maintaining growth.

What do you mean by a lean enterprise?
Lean thinking is delivering value for customers with minimal resources. It is not about cost reduction. Instead, the focus is on customer value. There's nothing so meaningless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.

How can entrepreneurs build in leanness from the start?
Start by identifying the value creating work of the business. Back up from there. That will uncover many steps. What is necessary to do to create value? Separate the value-creation steps from the non-value-creation steps. We want to build systems and processes so that value flows quickly and reliably to the customer.

The rest of this article is locked.

Join Entrepreneur+ today for access.

Subscribe Now

Already have an account? Sign In