Every entrepreneur dreams of developing a product/service that “makes it” into the big leagues, BUT, only above-average entrepreneurs can make this dream happen.
Take Your Startup to the Next Level Using Kaizen Philosophy
As an entrepreneur, you dream of fast growth, but here’s a word of caution … do not rely on “only fast growth”. It’s also important to consider the alternative slow and steady alternative method as an option, and although this might be anathema to everything you believe as a small business owner, it’s one of the options you need to consider for the growth of your small business.
There’s a word, phrase, and philosophy for the slow and steady approach to small business growth.
It is better known as the Kaizen method; a Japanese philosophy which literally means “good change”, with its legendary implication believing in continuous improvement or continually improving for the better.
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Currently, the Kaizen methodology is most commonly applied in management and business (both production and services).
The concept helps you, the entrepreneur to better realize your business vision and gradually modify your small business processes accordingly.
The ultimate result is an entrepreneurial success!
The core principle of the methodology is “there’s always a room for improvement”, which fosters the importance of taking small steps for constant enhancements and doing so as teamwork. It’s probably the most effective lean system for production business which emphasizes ensuring the elimination of “waste”.
How to Implement Kaizen Philosophy in Your Startup:
Kaizen is all about teamwork; so you need to get all your employees involved in the process. They share their observations and ideas related to business processes optimization, increase workplace productivity, save resources, improve quality and safety.
Employees must be stimulated to actively participate in the realization of their ideas, and you may need a Kaizen expert to help you get them active. Moreover, attending training seminars can also help a lot.
Some DOs and DONTs:
Kaizen is a lot more than just getting employees engaged in the process of development. As an entrepreneur, you have to gradually improve a lot within yourself. Focus on your individual efficiency, optimism, and moving forward along with the company’s vision, and you’ll see a major change in the long term.
Here are some guidelines for entrepreneurs to follow in order to be highly effective with Kaizen principles:
- Do not rely on your own expertise alone; consider the wisdom of others in the team.
- Don’t blame others; take responsibility for what you’re assigned with.
- Treat others as you want to be treated.
- Replace “I can’t” with “I can”.
- Don’t wait for perfection; 50% improvement is fine for now!
- Correct the issues and problems as soon as they are discovered.
- Don’t hesitate to ask, if you are not clear about something.
- Make decisions based on stats and not on opinions.
- Remember that improvements are never made in the conference room; so 20% on discussions and 80% on practical work!
- There’s always room for improvement, so keep learning!
How did Kaizen originate?
Like we said before, the Kaizen philosophy originated in Japan. It was first meant to be a way of life, not necessarily a framework for business-minded people. But, think about it— when you have a philosophy as compelling as this one, it’s easy to translate it into any setting. Even if all of you reading weren’t aspiring entrepreneurs, this mindset could likely help you in other areas of life.
The Kaizen philosophy was adapted to the business setting because it advertises (ha!) a disciplined, humble, can-do attitude to ingrain into every venture, big or small.
Does it actually work?
As of now, we can’t say for certain that if you adopt the Kaizen mentality and its principles, you will gain success overnight. In fact, there are probably very few ways anyone could guarantee any entrepreneur success overnight! But think—that’s exactly what the philosophy entails. It entails patience and seeing a payoff from genuine, conscious hard work.
There are no direct studies that mention success based on a conscious effort to follow Kaizen guidelines, but there is research that essentially proves it to be true. After all, I’m sure we’re familiar with the various studies done on CEOs. Usually, successful people share common traits.
Successful people who follow Kaizen-Esque principles:
Elon Musk – CEO/Founder of Tesla
Elon Musk is one of the most notorious businesspeople/CEOs, for many reasons. Quirks aside, it’s no question that he’s achieved immense success from following principles like those of Kaizen. Example: His can-do attitude is unmatched. He has started several businesses, some successful and some otherwise, but has never given up. Through hard work, he is where he is today.
Sara Blakely – CEO/Founder of Spandex
Sara Blakely didn’t become a self-made billionaire overnight. She paved the way for female representation and success in business, and while doing so embodied Kaizen principles. She made her decisions about Spandex based on stats and stats alone while other people were trying to tell her what she could and couldn’t do. Ignoring the critics, she rose to where she is today.
So, I hope you learned a thing or two today about the Kaizen philosophy, where it originated, and how to implement it into your own mentality. Clearly, the opportunities are endless for a person who follows rules that promote discipline, humility, and eventual success. Now, forget about instant gratification and start working to become the most efficient version of yourself.
And remember, with Kaizen, the success is slow, but it’s certain! If internalized and used properly, it can fuel your startup for steady growth and can take your small business to the next level.