This will be the second to last post of a series of how to apply the Lean Startup approach to a new business.

Until now in this series on applying Lean Startup, we started with an introduction, then looked at the ideation phase, the discovery phase and the pre-sell phase (also known as the Death Valley).



Applying Lean Startup in the concierge phase - Baker Marketing Either because you have made it this far in reading this series or, even more important, you have successfully crossed the Death Valley (pre-sell phase) and came out of it with the holy grail of a product/market fit (when the hockey blade becomes the stick on your revenue chart).

You now find yourself in the concierge phase.


What is the concierge phase

The boxes below presents a very high level summary of usual situations your start-up can expect in the concierge phase.



  • Your core features all work pretty well
  • You created your first (official) road map to additional features

Physical product

  • If you are outsourcing, you are either looking at optimizing your suppliers or taking steps to bring production in-house
  • If you are manufacturing in–house, you are looking at getting decent equipment to start producing at a larger scale


  • You are looking at more efficient tools to learn about your customers, markets, and environments
  • You are exploring new customer segments
  • You are aggressively growing your initial markets
  • You are constantly reassessing the total size of your markets
  • If you are an innovator in your market; you are keeping an eye out for the chasm (1)

[1] The saturation of the early adopters market and passage to the early majority  (re. The innovation adoption curve)



  • You are feeling the need to put processes down on paper so your teams has a more homogenous approach
  • You realise you need a lot of processes and procedures but don’t want to bog down your agility


  • You are on boarding team members at a rapid rate
  • Job definitions are getting more specialised
  • Your core team is trying to find a fit with their new, more limited, roles in the company (spoiler alert – some won’t adjust)
  • Your core team feels as though they spend more time coaching new resources than getting work done



  • Money is coming in at a decent rate from sales
  • Labour costs need to be controlled as they are growing faster than your sales at times
  • Extra office space and equipment mean increasing your bank margin or taking out (mostly) short term loans
  • Investors are now calling you and want to hear about your scaling strategy


Too busy for Lean Startup


Applying Lean Startup in the concierge phase - Baker MarketingYou are now running a small business that is experiencing the fastest growth rate it ever will, short of an acquisition.

It is easy and oh so tempting to abandon the build, measure, learn approach. After all, you know your initial market’s needs very well by now and you are crazy busy fulfilling orders, fixing issues and well, running a company.

It is a trap most entrepreneurs will fall into. Until their growth rate slows down, stalls and starts to plummet. The dirty secret of the concierge phase is that most companies’ revenues during this period don’t look like a straight hockey stick handle. That straight upward slope is just the trend of your revenues. The revenues themselves go up and down regularly. If you want your slope average to be positive and steep, you need to minimise those downs. Most times these down periods will happen for the following reasons:

  • Your customer needs are changing due to a shift in the market (often due to a new competitor)
  • You experience process or production failures
  • Your initial early adopters market is getting saturated and you didn’t react quickly enough to open new markets
  • Your early adopters markets are saturated and you haven’t figured out how to sell to the early majority customers.

Continuing to apply the Lean Startup approach during your concierge phase will ensure that any new features or internal processes will answer the needs of your customers (external and internal). It will also ensure that market changes are captured and acted upon. This does mean that many of your processes must incoporate Lean Startup elements in them. In some cases, it can also mean that the you will need the build, measure and learn processes themselves to be written down and into job descriptions.

Incorporating Lean Startup in your processes is the key to keeping your company innovative and agile as it grows.

Your product, processes, marketing and overall strategy will adapt continuously. When you need to cross the chasm to reach your early adopters, the Lean Startup approach will be your natural bridge to the other side.

In our next and final post of this series, we’ll take a look at the tools that are most useful in the concierge phase.

[1] The saturation of the early adopters market and passage to the early majority  (re. The innovation adoption curve)