Is the Lean Startup Still Possible in 2019?

I remember my failure years. How could I forget, I’d cry myself to sleep every night. It was traumatizing.

Seriously though, when I was first starting out, I had this dream, like many others, to start an online business with next to nothing and turn it into a multi-million-dollar business. Who wouldn’t want that, right?

Listen, here is the reality of the lean startup and this is something that no one else will ever say out loud, but I promise, I’m doing you a favor. The lean startup was designed for people with no money. I can say that because I was one of those people. You are starting at a disadvantage, so you must do something extraordinary. I wish someone would have told me that ten years ago.

When I first started my entrepreneurial journey, I could barely pay my bills and I was looking for a way out. Naturally, due to my financial situation I gravitated towards the lean startup business model. Not because I thought It was genius, but because I had no other choice. It was the only way I could possibly get a business off the ground.

Do you remember when books like this were all the hype? I do…

1. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

2. The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

3. The Laptop Millionaire by Mark Anastasi

I used books like these as my business bible and honestly, I’m better off for it. Because I had no money to invest, I had to do everything myself, and I mean everything. I learned graphic design, web design, search engine optimization, online marketing and many other useful skills that I still use today. These books didn’t really give me the skills or teach me what I needed to know to take on a business venture, but they did give me the motivation needed to go out, try and learn. Unfortunately, none of my lean start up businesses ever turned into multi-million-dollar business, but I did make a few bucks here and there.

One thing that I know for sure is that back then, with the right idea and the right expertise, a lean startup success story was certainly possible.

Now let’s talk about the year 2019. Is a lean startup something that can be accomplished in the future?

The online market is much different now than it was ten years ago. More importantly, it’s going to be much different during 2019 than it is right now.

Today we have so much amazing technology at our finger tips. Designing a decent logo, building a website, and setting up social media profiles are tasks that anyone can do. Granted, you may have to spend a little time learning if you’ve never done those tasks. Luckily for us, we have YouTube! You can literally learn anything on YouTube. Use it to your full advantage.

The problem that’s coming in 2019 isn’t getting off the ground, it’s what happens after that. There is one constant that every business, in any time period must have to be successful and that is customers. Customers are becoming more difficult to reach every day.

Why is that?

1. Googles algorithm is in beast mode. Years ago, a new business could pop up and be ranking for key words in a matter of weeks. It now takes months, even years to rank for any quality keywords. Google is now looking at thousands of factors when determining who should be ranked and as a new lean start up business there is a very high probability that your website won’t meet many of these requirements. Here is a short list of things Google is looking at today.

a. Domain age — Google thinks they can trust older sites. You can buy aged domains, but they typically cost thousands of dollars.

b. Domain authority — You gain authority through back links from quality and well established websites. Most sites of this stature are not going to be linking to new, unproven and unheard-of businesses, unless you are doing something truly groundbreaking. Are you?

c. Website quality, mobile performance and user interface — There are some great websites out there. However, assuming you are a lean startup, you will probably be building your own website. Do you think you are a good enough web designer to ensure your site meets these basic requirements?

It’s true, only the best of the best are ranking on Google today. To make matters worse, Google is only going to improve its user experience in 2019. This means even more stringent requirements for websites.

Googles algorithm is the main reason marketing on social media is exploding right now. Googles algorithm is making it impossible for new websites to reach page one, which means no free organic traffic. So, after learning that gaining free organic traffic from Google search is not really an option, how do you plan on getting customers to your website?

2. Social Media — Not too long ago Facebook decreased the reach that it allows businesses to obtain from their pages. A business page with a million followers may only reach two to three percent of their followers with any given post. It’s silly, but even pages with large amounts of followers must advertise to reach their EXISTING followers. Now, Facebook has acquired Instagram and the same thing has already started to happen on that platform. This is only going to get worse in 2019.

The point here is that it’s hard enough for businesses to connect with existing followers. How hard to you think it is to build a new and completely organic following? I’ll just say that without advertising, it’s nearly impossible.

This leaves us our third option of connecting with customers.

3. Advertising — First, spending large amounts of money on advertising goes completely against all the values of a lean startup to being with. However, once you figure out that organic traffic through Google, Facebook and Instagram is not an option and decide to go this route, know this. New businesses are coming online every day. This means more people are advertising through social media platforms and on search engines like Google, Yahoo! And Bing. As competition rises, so do advertising prices. Prices are high now and are going to continue to rise over the next few years.

I know all of this seems bleak, but it’s the reality of what entrepreneurs are facing today. Now to answer the question at hand.

Do I think that the lean startup is still possible in 2019?

Yes, absolutely I do. I know what you are thinking — “That goes against everything you just said!” Sure, it does, but I’m also going to leave you with some solid advice.

Solid advice

It’s time to throw the playbook out the window. Old techniques and strategies do not work anymore. Stop reading old books and looking for online experts to teach you the step by step guide to get rich online. It doesn’t exist!

Go out there, be creative, do something groundbreaking and most importantly, be honest and true to yourself.

The year 2019 is a time where you must think outside the box. Try things that have never been tried before. Who knows, you might just be the next big thing. Never let anyone tell you it can’t be done, because it can and it’s your job to figure out how.

Remember, if it were easy, everyone would do it.

Go fourth and be GREAT!

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