The cost of bringing a new product to the market is easier and cheaper now more than ever. This has been made possible by the price of hardware decreasing as well as more free and easy-to-use software becoming available to the general public. This has sparked a global boom in entrepreneurs that aim to make their millions through their own business ventures.

Roughly a ⅓ of people in Norfolk and Suffolk are employed within a micro-business (consisting of 0-9 staff) which collectively account for 83% of all new businesses established in the region since 2011. A particularly good article was written by Ryan Platt titled ‘Why start a business in Norwich?’ which covered the various characteristics of the Fine City which make it so appealing for aspiring entrepreneurs to set-up shop; these include access to skilled workers, funding, and business support.

Unfortunately, statistics show that a majority of start-ups fail to take-off after a couple of years and this phenomenon is experienced across the UK as well as the rest of the world. Existing companies as well as future start-ups need to learn the methods to aid them in managing their processes and developing a sustainable business. But is there such a method out there? Yes.

“To succeed, grow, thrive, you must be focused on creating real value for known customers. You must be fast, agile, quick thinking, and quick acting. You must continuously improve the process of outputting. You must be a leader and a follower … You must be able to innovate sustainably and disruptively.”

– Brant Cooper and Patrick Vlaskovits, co-authors of ‘The Lean Entrepreneur’.

The Lean Start-Up

The lean start-up method originates from the automotive industry giant, Toyota, who coined the notion of lean manufacturing when developing the Toyota Production System in the mid-twentieth century. The philosophy of lean is to optimise all processes which add value to a product whilst minimising or eliminating all activities where value is not added – value in this scenario meaning value provided to the customers such as cost, time, and effort. The customer includes anyone involved with the product at any stage of its lifecycle (e.g. development, delivery, usage, and disposal).

The key points of lean are:

  • It is impossible to deliver value without marketing and selling.
  • Aiming for perfection is not an unrealistic aspiration.
  • The complexity of ‘value creation’ allow for lean-start up to be more efficient than traditional practices.

Additionally, another concept of the lean start-up is that of continuous learning and improvement through performing incremental changes. One of the lessons from the Toyota Production System that tends to be forgotten is that on-top of producing higher-quality products at a greater efficiency, high-growth businesses should be able to improve how they make their products.

These concepts are not just exclusive to manufacturing, but also involve outward-facing elements of a business that engage with customers such as marketing, sales, and support to name a few; these all help a company develop its brand.

For a business to reach maturity, it must quickly adapt to understand its customer and therefore survive the chaos that exists in the start-up phase. The faster an entrepreneur executes their tasks in this pivotal stage, the faster its growth and the greater its likelihood of survival.

Start-Up Masterclasses in New Anglia

For those who are interested in starting their own business or learning more about the lean start-up method, Hethel Innovation shall be running their Activate masterclasses this spring. The workshops are broken up into four sessions that are hosted on a weekly basis over the duration of a month. These tend to be hosted at venues based across Norfolk and Suffolk and the details of the upcoming workshop series are shown below.

Register your interest by clicking the headers below or by emailing Abygail Hadley at

Activate @ HEC


 Location: Hethel Engineering Centre, Norfolk, NR14 8FB

Time: 17:30 – 20:30

Session 1: 28/02/2018

Session 2: 07/03/2018

Session 3: 14/03/2018

Session 4: 21/03/2018

Activate @ SEP


 Location: Scottow Enterprise Park, Norfolk NR10 5FB

Time: 17:30 – 20:30

Session 1: 01/03/2018

Session 2: 08/03/2018

Session 3: 15/03/2018

Session 4: 22/03/2018