Aspiring entrepreneurs usually think of effective methods and methodologies that will achieve success for their entrepreneurial projects with minimal time and effort and without risks. Hence the importance of the “Lean startup methodology” developed by Eric Rees from his experiences as a founder and startup advisor.
Reese promoted the agile entrepreneurship methodology in his 2011 bestselling book titled “Agile Entrepreneurship: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses,” in which he discusses how to rely on the agile entrepreneurship strategy to launch a successful entrepreneurial project in the shortest. Time and with minimal funding. But what is agile leadership? What are its advantages and disadvantages? How can it be used to launch a successful entrepreneurial project?
So … what is agile leadership?
Many may think that the literal meaning of the concept of agile entrepreneurship is lean or weak, or that which is built on weak financing foundations or a weak product. However, this is not true at all. Rather, continuous activity and vitality are the agile leadership approach. In fact, the Agile Entrepreneurship methodology has proven to be the shortest and fastest way to ensure the success of a budding entrepreneurial venture.
Agile leadership is considered an effective methodology to achieve the success of emerging projects in the shortest time and the least effort and costs, as it depends on skill and speed in understanding market requirements, and providing parts of the project so that it is subject to a real experience by customers, with a focus on priorities and the continuity of examination, evaluation and improvement of the product, so that the project begins Successfully in record time.
Agile leadership depends on activity and continuous interaction in implementing the various project phases. This is about continuous feedback, testing the resulting prototypes, and correcting or staying the course. With this mechanism, the product reaches the market to measure its success through experience and learning, without wasting or spending resources on unnecessary or unsecured parts. This is then followed by correction or modification at each stage of construction, to improve the product. That is why the graceful leadership was called by this name.
What are the basic rules for the concept of agile leadership?
According to Eric Rees, there are four basic rules for the concept of agile entrepreneurship:
- Administrative Entrepreneurship: The nature of the entrepreneur’s thinking is that he begins by trying to create a new product without knowing what will happen, but when following the rules of agile entrepreneurship he needs to know how to launch his project through the various stages of building the project, starting from the concept of the minimum viable product (MVP) until the start Employment and commercial finance.
- Verification and Learning: An agile entrepreneur avoids mistakes early on by checking their business processes up-to-date. Thus, it is possible to identify the risks that may face the project in its path and make rapid changes to launch a successful project the next time, by learning something from the experiences and results and then adding it and applying it to the project, with continuous verification.
- Innovation: One of the basics of agile entrepreneurship, and it means measuring growth and setting milestones and priorities.
- Repetition and feedback: After converting ideas into products or services, and obtaining metrics through collecting feedback from the market and customers , a Pivot decision is made to correct the product path, or the stability axis if the primary product (MVP) has positive feedback, The path of its production is preserved.
Stages of building a pilot project using agile leadership:
Idea selection is the first stage in building any entrepreneurial project, so the entrepreneur who will use agile leadership must carefully define his entrepreneurial idea before starting to design the product for his project, by studying the market situation and the extent of his need for this idea or product.
Entrepreneurial spirit is one of the most important features of a successful entrepreneur, regardless of the environment surrounding him in terms of stability or not. Therefore, the entrepreneur must be able to guide the product from the idea stage to the production stage even if he is in a state of uncertainty or the contours of the project are not clear to him.
The stage of defining visions in agile leadership is the stage in which the vision and strategy grow in which the project will be implemented as a result of this vision. Strategy includes many elements, including market study and competition evaluation, followed by construction, measurement and learning. After developing visions, the strategy may change, but the visions remain the same.
In this stage the product is transferred from the theoretical state to the applied state. Through the Agile Entrepreneurial Methodology, the entrepreneur is able to know the details of his business plan, which parts are useful and which are not. The learning phase means that the entrepreneur has to face the facts about the prospects of his or her startup and organization, and objectively assess the results of the business strategy he is following.
If the idea was initially clouded with uncertainty, the goal at this stage should be to find practical facts that can be proven about the project to reduce suspicion and uncertainty, and based on these facts, we should proceed in the future.
There is no doubt that experience is the basis of learning. Experience in this context is something more than just brainstorming ideas blindly to see what works. The experiment involves testing theories in the real world, so that different elements of the emerging business plan can be tested with real customers in the market to see if they can handle the product or service at hand.
Experiences provide real information that an entrepreneur can use to make concrete business decisions. Experience gives a good indication of the way the market operates and what it requires. On the other hand, due to the experiments and their results, the entrepreneur can completely change the business model based on the new data obtained. So an entrepreneur in the trial phase must be prepared for both, whether moving forward or changing, and he must be ready to integrate all new findings into the way he works.
Belief in the emerging project
After achieving the experiment stage and the knowledge and realism of the product, the belief of the entrepreneur who relies on agile leadership in his idea increases and adheres to it more. And it has before it two basic issues in the product design step: The possibility of building and designing the product in the first place, and the extent of the market need for this product. For a project to be successful, the answer to these issues must be crystal clear to the entrepreneur.
Now, after choosing the idea, what will you offer your customers? Under the Agile Entrepreneurship methodology, the entrepreneur will need to issue a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to the customers so that he can measure their reactions to it. It will also need a limited number of people to be as a test model so if the product is unsuccessful then there is no need to waste resources to proceed with full production. By meeting the requirements of this small part of the market, he will get an idea of what the larger market demands, and with this approach, agile leadership qualifies him to successfully launch his project.
The entrepreneur at this stage will need effective methods of analyzing the data gathered by testing the product. The way you measure and what you measure varies according to the type of project, so if the metrics indicate a negative response from the market, the goal is to find out what customers want.
Axis of change or constancy
What happens if the measurements are negative? What if the test indicates that no one wants to buy the product? According to the answers to these questions, the entrepreneur at this stage of agile entrepreneurship will have to adapt the visions to meet market needs and formulate a new approach and a new strategy.
Work with small batches
For small startups, speed of production is a critical factor, yet small batch production is a more efficient method than mass production. It sounds completely off the mark, but it is absolutely true. Simply because the larger the batch, the higher the risk and the more difficult it is to implement reviews. On the other hand, small batches allow the project construction, testing and metering process to be completed more quickly. Thus production is faster and problem solving is faster, which is exactly the concept of Agile Entrepreneurship methodology.
Agile entrepreneurship provides three paths to achieving sustainable growth:
- Continuous return from satisfied customers, and here it is necessary not to be satisfied with satisfied customers, but to strive to acquire new customers
- Word of mouth marketing from customers who use the product, this growth is like viral growth, the main measure of which is the number of new customers that each user of your product attracts.
- Ad use, this type of growth depends on the answer to an important question, namely, is the benefit that you will obtain outweigh the cost of the promotional efforts or not?
Adapt to new conditions
In the startup world, an entrepreneur will encounter a haze of uncertainty as they experiment and learn. So it desperately needs to recognize the need for change, and it really needs a way to implement it quickly. This is about flexibility and a willingness to set aside and change, not just a willingness to make a fundamental change, but the ability to do so quickly. Adaptation to changing conditions is a key factor in agile leadership .
A culture of innovation
The importance of innovation is not limited to startups only, but it is beneficial to large established companies as well. A culture of innovation can be created in any organization, regardless of size. Nurturing and encouraging entrepreneurial thought in management can help create a culture of innovation in the organization. For this culture to be sustainable, the Agile Business Plan methodology must be adopted as a long-term rule and not abandoned after short-term successes.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of the agile leadership methodology?
The positive aspect about Agile Entrepreneurship is that the emerging entrepreneurial idea will mature as a company in record time. Specifically, working on agile entrepreneurship methodology requires managing an organization with an open-minded team to learn new things and adapt to market demands. In addition, money and resources are not wasted on unnecessary ideas, because with the nature of this methodology, the entrepreneur will discover unnecessary things firsthand and drop them from the project’s course. Agile entrepreneurship is flexible and can easily adapt according to changing circumstances and clients.
But it is worth saying that the defect in agile leadership is changing the product too much, which may lead to loss of customer confidence if there are many changes, because they think that there is something wrong with that. The entrepreneur must be vigilant at the first time from customer feedback to take advantage of the advantages of agile leadership, otherwise he will spend a lot of money on frequent improvement that may lead to customer abandonment of the product and employee fatigue.
Building an entrepreneurial project using agile leadership goes through 12 stages that begin with defining the idea and visions that the project will have. The stages of building agile entrepreneurship are characterized by two basic stages, learning and experience, both of which give you real and realistic information about your project, through which you can make appropriate decisions about the course of the project or product, and make you more faithful in your entrepreneurial idea.
One of the important stages is displaying a minimum of your product that is applicable in the real market, measuring the reactions of real customers, extracting their observations and measuring results, and on these results the stage of change or stability depends on the product. When tracking the stages, your project keeps its growth, adapting to any new circumstances and giving you the possibility of innovation and development. But beware of frequent changes in the course of your project, because it may lose your customers’ confidence in you, so be careful to learn and experiment quickly and do not delay.