We were excited to review an advance copy of The Lean Entrepreneur: How Visionaries Create Products, Innovate with New Ventures, and Disrupt Markets, a new guide by Brant Cooper and Patrick Vlaskovits with a foreword by the Lean Startup godfather himself, Eric Ries. We found ourselves nodding in agreement with many of the principles and strategies contained in this easy-to-read, inspiring business guide. At CloudWork, we believe our app integrations are ideally suited to anyone who wants to make Lean Entrepreneurship a reality.
Filled with over a dozen interviews with successful lean startups from PayPal to customized prosthetic limbs manufacturer Bespoke Innovations, strategy checklists and templates, and an enthusiastic tone that propels you forward into action (although we could have done without the Visdorf storytelling), we recommend The Lean Entrepreneur to CloudWork users.
In fact, we liked it so much we thought we’d share 10 ways that you can use CloudWork to help embody the principles and approaches of a Lean Entrepreneur.
1. You see yourself as a scalable startup founder or an “Intrapraneur”
The Lean Entrepreneur clearly articulates its audience as including those building the next big thing and any business (“intrapreneur”) wanting to move at the speed of the Internet. CloudWork integrations aim to help lean entrepreneurs scale as they grow. By using our integrations, lean entrepreneurs can manage business processes and automate tasks so that systems grow with you and can manage the increased activity seamlessly.
2. You don’t need to describe yourself as lean
In the guide, Cooper and Vlaskovits argue that you don’t need to define yourself as a lean entrepreneur in order to make use of the concepts and strategies included in the book. Not all our CloudWork users feel part of the lean community, yet their strategies and approach to business are clearly lean-focused. Teams of consultants, online wholesalers, events management companies, and software development startups all use CloudWork integrations to help them focus on adding value and creating a disruptive impact on existing markets: in other words, lean entrepreneurs!
3. You strive to become a high velocity organization
The Lean Entrepreneur says that a high velocity organization “not only continuously produces higher-quality products, while increasing efficiency, but continuously improves how to produce the product”. CloudWork helps business users achieve high velocity. For example, our recent Asana integrations operationalize task updates so that teams can stay focused on how to add more value to the product creation process.
4. You empower employees
One of the best types of feedback we receive at CloudWork is when employees sound excited about their work again. With small and midsize businesses using on average 5 apps to manage daily tasks, employees can end up getting bogged down with copying and pasting data from one app into another, or with creating CSV files that need cleaning up and double-checking. This takes the fun and dynamism out of work. We love hearing feedback when staff members are able to use CloudWork to get back to their core job – supporting customers, providing great quality, and designing effective solutions.
5. You are determined to kill the silos
Cooper and Vlaskovits promote the idea that lean enterprises organize staff into cross-functional teams to solve problems, working from the customer experience as the starting point and managing the business flow all the way through the supply chain. Our CloudWork integrations help you create the culture and more easily cross the silo barrier. Our integrations remove the silos between your business apps and data so that you can more easily get staff and teams talking to each other and working collaboratively.
6. You want to avoid the “trap” of being “all things to all people”
When CloudWork took over the advanced Tarpipe system infrastructure that builds our app integrations, we were considering a business model that focused on providing users with as many integrations across different apps as possible. However, after talking to our users and the business apps themselves, we have refocused our efforts towards providing robust integrations for real business needs. As a lean entrepreneur, you can trust that we are focused on servicing your business with integrations that make a difference to your productivity and business capacity: that’s our core business.
7. You segment your market customers
The Lean Entrepreneur emphasizes the importance of segmenting your customer base and understanding individual market audiences. Our CloudWork integrations help the lean entrepreneur better organize their potential audience into market segments in order to understand buyer pain points, motivations and needs. Our FreshBooks to MailChimp integrations, for example, help businesses organize customers into communication segments based on how much they spend, allowing you to tailor messages to each segment or offer more nuanced products and services that match your market segment’s needs. Our Zendesk to Pivotal Tracker integration can help you segment customers based on their requests for particular features so you can better engage with them when developing the user experience model you will need to pursue.
8. You use the formula: Engagement + Passion + Reach
CloudWork is proud to be centered around a formula in which engagement is prioritized in how we develop integrations and support our business users. We hope this makes it easier for you to manage your lean business using CloudWork tools. Our User Experience chief, Jason Rados, spends his days discussing use cases and ensuring our integrations are creating real business value for our users. We have recently installed new communication technologies to better respond in realtime to business users and we pride ourselves on following up with every user who sets up a new integration to check that they are working properly, and saving you time and hassle.
9. You track engagement and activation
CloudWork has multiple integrations that allow the lean entrepreneur to keep up with information on who is engaging with your business and at what level of activity they are at. A lean entrepreneur can set up a Twilio-Zoho CRM integration, for example, to ensure a sales member is informed by SMS so they can make personal contact with each new lead, or use an integration to automatically attach a note to a SugarCRM contact from a Desk.com case in order to let support managers keep track of how your customers are engaging with your business and services.
10. You create a culture of “actively, relentlessly seeking out and eliminating bottlenecks”
This is a core value for our CloudWork integrations. For small and midsize businesses to be competitive and win market share against bigger companies, every link in the supply chain needs to be optimized and avoid wastage. Our CloudWork integrations help the lean entrepreneur to map business processes and workflow, identify opportunities to automate, and create the integrations necessary to move business tasks from one stage to the next.
CloudWork congratulates Brant Cooper, Patrick Vlaskovits, and all the startups involved in producing the book The Lean Entrepreneur, and are happy to recommend it to our blog readers.