Lean Startup: What Are the Disadvantages of Using It?

Even if you are thorough in creating a business plan and get a fairly large amount of investment, unfortunately, this will not give you any guarantees that your startup will be successful. The fact is that the traditional approach to business development in the case of startups is often ineffective. This prompts startup owners to look for new approaches and turn, for example, to the lean startup methodology by Eric Ries, which is adapted for implementation in conditions of increased uncertainty.
At the same time, it would be dishonest to deny that there are still some negative lean startup examples. Let’s talk about the disadvantages of this method below.

The Concept of Lean Startup

The lean startup method was made for the implementation of continuous innovation. Its mission is to help entrepreneurs avoid the risks associated with excessive financial and time costs for the sake of creating a product that ultimately does not appeal to the target audience. 

This startup methodology allows startup teams at the initial stages of development to remain flexible, get the most out of mistakes, and test their hypotheses as quickly as possible without spending huge money and attracting expensive specialists unnecessarily. At the same time, it cannot be considered a universal approach that will ensure 100% project success. Below we will analyze what difficulties startup owners who use it may face.

5 Disadvantages of Lean Startup

So what are the disadvantages of the lean startup method? We found five top ones.

Frustration due to negative feedback

While feedback is an integral part of the lean startup method, it can sometimes be detrimental to the further development of a project. The fact is that due to testing the product on usually small groups of users, their reviews about it can be perceived as an objective truth and, as a result, lead the startup team on the wrong track.

Moreover, the team may completely abandon worthy ideas because they received negative feedback from the test group and, thereby, not implement what was originally intended.

How to cope with this problem and understand what is worth taking into account and what is not? The reality is simple: take negative feedback as a direction to optimize your idea, not as a reason to abandon it altogether.

Non-compliance with generally accepted standards

Because one of the core principles of lean startup is to work with mistakes, their presence can seem like a small thing to startup teams. However, this is not the case when it comes to non-compliance with generally accepted standards and policies.

For example, if you try to launch a product that does not meet the privacy standards of user data or, for example, goes against the specific digital standards of the business niche in which you work, this can turn into a complete failure for your product in the early stages of its optimization and what else worse, create a negative reputation for you and your team.

Therefore, it is important for you to find a balance between reducing the time required to launch new product versions and increasing the time needed to ensure compliance with the standards applicable to your business niche. Thus, you will minimize the risks associated with the failure of your product. 

Loss of motivation

Lean entrepreneurship is about ups and downs, and ups and downs after those downs. However, when encountering too many downs (and they happen often, as the methodology suggests), it can be quite difficult for startup teams to maintain their previous level of motivation and follow the idea that was thought up at the very beginning of the journey.

To deal with this, it's important to be clear about the mission you're pursuing with your product before embarking on the development process, and remember that negative feedback is an essential part of product improvement.

The risk of endless improvement

The lean startup methodology also implies a cyclical improvement of the product, and it can be difficult to stop there. The fact is that no matter how perfect your product is, you will still encounter negative feedback, which, according to the lean startup concept, should be taken into account during the development of the next version of your product. Thus, you can spend more and more money and time on a solution that is already good enough to start bringing you a steady income and pay for itself, and at the same time delay the start of large-scale development.

In order not to fall into this trap, at the very beginning of your journey, you must set clear criteria for identifying the success of your startup and optimize it until they are satisfied.

Difficulty with further scaling

When you define a lean startup as the most appropriate method for releasing your product, you should also consider that at this stage you will most likely need to develop an MVP as the basis for launching a more complex solution. Unfortunately, with some projects this is irrational.

In particular, the project that you create according to the lean startup model may not scale well, and when it comes to starting a full-fledged development, you will have to redo everything from scratch, using new technologies, approaches, and tools. Therefore, in order not to face this problem, you have to evaluate the prospects for scaling your startup.

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Final Thoughts

As you can see, despite all advantages, the lean startup methodology can cause some challenges that the team can face. Therefore, before implementing it, objectively evaluate all its advantages and disadvantages.

If you are looking for a team that will implement your startup, feel free to contact us, and we will provide you with the best industry experts who will turn your business idea into a successful and profitable project.


The central hypothesis of the lean startup methodology is that startup companies can reduce market risks by building products or services to meet the needs of early customers. This approach sidesteps the need for large amounts of initial project funding and expensive product launches.

The central hypothesis of the lean startup methodology is that by iteratively building products or services to meet the needs of early customers, startup companies can reduce market risks and sidestep the need for large amounts of initial project funding and expensive product launches.

The Lean Startup method reduces a startup's risk of failure by introducing a minimum viable product to customers for feedback. By doing this, companies can avoid high failure rates and reduce risk.

Table of contents:

The Concept of Lean Startup

5 Disadvantages of Lean Startup

Final Thoughts

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