Trevor Owens was like most young entrepreneurs – he failed, and failed often. Failing isn’t an issue in itself, as there are important lessons learned from failing. Trevor had been taught to approach a new business through using the standard business school method. “I was used to a business school environment where we would write a pretty long business plan, take about a year, and our ideas wouldn’t change very much.” The Lean Startup Machine, which Trevor is founder and owner of, addresses this problem head-on. “In the lean process, within 24 hours of going to this workshop your idea is usually proven wrong, and you’re forced to pivot.”
Trevor Owens came upon the work of Eric Reis, before his book The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses became a bestseller. Trevor decided to host a workshop so he could learn more about Lean Startup and to meet Eric Reis. The workshop received tremendous feedback and due to its success, eventually led to the creation of Lean Startup Machine.
Lean Startup Machine is an intense three-day workshop on Lean Startup methodologies and customer development, hosted in 50 cities around the world on 6 continents. “They come to get over their fear of failure.” This past year, Lean Startup Machine hosted over 100 workshops. Trevor Owens started the company less than two years ago, in January of 2012. After graduating from TechStars NYC in June, Lean Startup Machine launched Javelin – product development software for teams and enterprises to launch new products using the lean startup method.
Trevor has personally worked with over 1,000 teams using the Lean Startup method and has worked to aggressively refine their product over time. From kicking teams out of their building, to getting customer feedback to providing the best possible mentors who have built successful companies using the method, Lean Startup Machine turns three days into a unique entrepreneurial experience. Due to their success and influence, there has been a lot of competition. “A lot of people have tried to copy us since we started, in terms of adding validation to their workshops – which is awesome, they should copy us. We are experts at this process.”
Asked what his best piece of advice for people under the age of 30, Trevor replied, “Do the thing that scares you the most. If you are afraid of starting a business, then that’s what you should do right now.” He recalled a time when his finger was hovering over his mouse, not sure if he wanted to click send on an email that said they wanted to do 50 workshops in a year. Fortunately for Lean Startup Machine, he pressed send.
What can you press send on and get started on today?
– Why Trevor thinks Lean Startup Machine may have scaled to fast.
– What’s the best way to protect your business? Continue to innovate. “People are going to try to copy you…the only thing you can do to keep up with the market is to innovate.”
– Is starting a business at a young age an advantage or disadvantage? It’s a huge advantage to start a business at a young age. People want to mentor you and see you succeed. “While I was in college I played that card all the time.” The best way to experience is to fail as an entrepreneur first. You can only win when you’re young even if you don’t make the business a success.
– If you could add one entrepreneur in the world to your team, who would it be and why? “Abraham Lincoln, because he’s the best President of the United States and he’s also a wrestler.”
This interview was originally published on Under30CEO as a part of The Starting a Business as a Young Entrepreneur Interview Series Sponsored by Hiscox Small Business Insurance.