One reason so many startups fail is that business education focuses so heavily on making plans and forecasts, which can be inaccurate for new companies, says Eric Ries, author of "The Lean Startup." Instead, entrepreneurs should take a page from the concept of lean manufacturing and focus on "learning how to build a sustainable business," Ries says. "Instead of trying to figure out how to efficiently make more stuff, we want to efficiently figure out which stuff to make."

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