Lean Business Principles to Keep Startups Ahead of the Competition

December 1st, 2023

What do we mean when we call a company lean?

Lean companies use fewer resources – employees, capital, equipment, office space – than their competition to create value.

When companies use less resources – hire fewer employees or conduct layoffs, keep office rent down, narrow product lines, cut back on spending, etc. – their costs are lower because they’re paying for less and being more methodical about expenses.

As a timely example of lean, Elon Musk recently cut Twitter’s workforce down from 7,500 to 2,000 in a matter of months, all while delivering a similar product to customers before the layoffs. Many tech companies are following in his footsteps and conducting their own rounds of layoffs in an effort to become leaner – getting work done with fewer resources and a tighter budget.

Toyota, the second largest car company in the world and a pioneer of lean business principles since the 1960s, perhaps summarizes lean best: “Making only ‘what is needed, when it is needed, and in the amount needed.’”

How can companies become leaner in 2023?

Here are a few ways companies can become leaner in 2023:

  • Analyze work practices. See what’s working and what isn’t working, and create a culture of continuous improvement, or kaizen. “Kaizen is a strategy where employees at all levels of a company work together proactively to achieve regular, incremental improvements.”
  • Focus on the customer’s needs and emphasize quality over quantity. Recognize the products/services that customers value, and minimize or discontinue offerings that customers do not value. Following lean principles, Toyota is able to consistently hone in on its winning products and narrow down its product line, thereby eliminating waste in production.
  • Reconsider hiring practices. Examine which employees/departments are providing value to your customers. Per the Houston Chronicle, possibly the most difficult part of streamlining a business is cutting or reassigning workers. Many companies have found that it is less expensive to outsource their payroll duties, rather than carry a payroll department.” 

How 10x Keeps Startups Lean & Ahead of the Competition

For over a decade, 10x Management has helped forward-thinking startups pursue lean business principles by reconsidering their hiring practices.

We’ve helped startups pursue an efficient alternative to full-time hiring by providing experienced and vetted freelance tech talent for one-off projects, specific deliverables, ongoing hourly work, part-time contracts, and full-time contingencies. Engaging freelance tech talent through 10x has allowed these startups to address needs as they arise, or in the words of Toyota, “what is needed, when it is needed, and in the amount needed.”

Per the Daily MBA, outsourcing allows you to control costs, which is the largest reason that companies use it. You can pay for services as you need them and avoid making major investments in infrastructure, software, and personnel. Further, you’re able to increase the efficiency of your business by getting expert help without having to hire experts full-time.”

10x freelancers can be placed on projects within two days and require minimal onboarding, as they’re already well-versed in what it takes to work with companies of all sizes. So the time to productivity is exceptionally short, a serious advantage in lean startup principles.

Partnering with 10x

The first step in working with 10x is to specifically determine the need at your startup and to list all the skills required. We’ll consider your needs and the skills required, ask further relevant questions about the project/role, and immediately match the right tech freelancer/team from our exclusive, vetted roster to the position, allowing you to focus on your customers and minimize overhead.
After more than a decade in business, we’re exceptionally good at quickly matching our talent to a need and helping startups minimize waste. Let us help your startup stay lean and provide the right tech talent for “what is needed, when it is needed, and in the amount needed.”