It’s easy to agonize over all the little details before we launch a new product, service, or business division. After all, a lot of money, energy, time, and resources are spent between planning and launching. But what if there were a better way to test your concept or idea before you are deeply invested?

Good enough to launch is good enough

Here’s the basic idea. We are inclined to create and design the entire product and then bring it to market with a big launch. After putting a lot of money behind it, all we can do is cross our fingers and hope it will be successful.

The Lean Startup idea flips the funnel upside down. Instead of creating the product or service first, we focus on outlining, explaining, and fine-tuning what it is that we WANT to do. Our idea is brought to market through a launch or crowd funding before we even create this product, service, or division.

Test it before you create it

This is the concept of Kickstarter where creators design a prototype and present a video that shows what the product is intended to do. The product is not yet created or available on the market. Kickstarter sells an idea. As an avid Kickstarter addict, I can attest that I have had great experiences (like the Lumio Lamp and the DiiZiGN laptop stand) and horrible experiences (like the poorly-made jacket that makes me look like the Michelin man). But in all cases, I bought into an IDEA.

The same concept works for everything in business. Ask your clients, your tribe, your community what they think of your new idea. If you are connected to them, they will tell you. Do not ask family members. It’s their job to protect you from failure… Then you keep testing until you get the launch formula right and create the content or product based on the feedback you receive. This will also help you write a leak-proof business plan.

This is how all of us can use the Lean Startup idea for our businesses. It’s refreshingly easy.

Let me give you an example. When I ran a stock photography syndication that provided Celebrity@Home stories to magazines all over the world, we created a new brand called InsideOutPix. This was our low-cost brand that satisfied many clients’ needs for images that were “good enough” when they didn’t need the A+ quality. When we launched during an industry convention that we sponsored, there were just 300 images in the collection. It was enough to show the concept and certainly enough to negotiate distribution agreements. We knew that our buyers didn’t need to see 10,000 images because they would rather know what we intended to do. They trusted us because we were known for high quality content through our other brand.

The launch was a smashing success

Not only was it a success, it was the move that put us on the map. The industry took notice that we planned to be the biggest player in our niche. The launch was the catalyst that got us to the table and engaged in conversations that eventually led to the sale of my business six months later to a Bill Gates company.

For you, the Lean Startup idea means you do not have to agonize over on whether or not “it” is going to work. You have permission to test before you throw all your resources behind a big idea. You can then choose to fully engage only when you are confident it’s going to work. Your bank account and your sanity will thank you!

Beate Chelette is The Growth Architect and a results-oriented businesswoman with an entrepreneurial spirit and a proven track record in growing, building and scaling women’s businesses. Once $135,000 in debt and a single mother, she successfully sold her business to a global entertainment media company owned by Bill Gates in a multi-million dollar deal.

Through her online courses, one-on-one training programs and live speaking events, she mentors women entrepreneurs with her 5 Star Success Blueprint, developed with the knowledge gleaned from her growing, scaling and selling her own company. Beate has a deep commitment to supporting women.

She is the creator of The Women’s Code, the fourth step of Growth Architecture that is focused on Supporting Balanced Leadership. Her proprietary methods specifically address women’s obstacles and she leads from experience, having survived in business in a highly competitive male-dominated environment.

She is a respected speaker and mentor and is the author of the book “Happy Woman Happy World How to Go From Overwhelmed to Awesome”, a book that corporate trainer and best-selling author Brian Tracy calls “a handbook for every woman who wants health, success and a fulfilling career.”

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