What is your story about developing a minimum viable product?
Lean companies that bootstrap face the same challenges - funding, people, executing on ideas. But the thing is, there is one thing in common among all startups. That thing is the minimum viable product. I'm going down this very same road myself right now and would be grateful to get an edge, while I'm trying to get something special out the door and finally test my hypothesis in the real world, with clients.
Hi Avi, this is a tough one, after reading Eric's book, I realised I had adopted the 'build it they will come' approach, I had to re think my whole strategy as to what was to be delivered, I believe I had identified a niche, I built something, I actually use it every day in my business for the last 7 years now, but the commercial version I had to bring back, stop the feature creep and deliver a product that my customers could use. The difficulty in building products for social use and products for business, as a business owner I will only try products that work, products that don't work or are buggy cost me money, which Eric says is ok, but I'm not so sure, so my product development strategy became, this is the problem.....I want to get from point A to point B in the least amount of steps, it also mustn't break and must cost me very much!... form there, I will find early adopters and release and get feed back and begin my new iteration developments, Its a tough journey for sure and one where you are constantly learning, be strong and be lucky!.
Thank you for all the comments. There are far too many silos in branding, marketing and business development. Your answers have broken the silos related to customers, relationships, value propositions and sales down well. I'll follow up over the next several months with touch points about the growth (or non-growth) of my product. Cheers, Avi
great question MVP for me is about identifying a need and then solving it, creating a testable hypothesis is important but first you have to separate the problem, the need and then start brainstorming the solutions, your MVP is just one possible solution to a much bigger problem
i view it like a puzzle and the MVP is version 0.01 of your first piece to a much larger puzzle.
it is important to create something tangible, something that works, maybe not perfectly but something that bring some value to a specific user case.
How to Test a Web/Mobile Concept
The problem phase is markedly different for Web/mobile startups, where feedback comes far faster. The best strategy is to use a "low-fidelity" minimum viable product (MVP) that can be as simple as a landing page with your value proposition, benefits summary, and a call to action to learn more, answer a short survey, or preorder. It could be even a quick website prototype built in PowerPoint or with a simple landing-page creation tool. Your goal is something basic--no fancy U/I, logos, or animation.
And no matter what, there's no substitute for face-to-face discovery with customers to see their reaction to the problem or the solution. Do their eyes light up or glaze over? (You may have to do all this for each "side" in multi-sided markets, where the issues differ for buyers and sellers/users and payers.)
Get the MVP live as quickly as possible (often the day you start the company) to see if anybody shares your vision of the customer need/problem. Your website/prototype should:
Describe the problem in words or pictures ("Does your office look like this?")
Show screen shots of the potential solution ("Pay your bills this way")
Encourages users to "sign up to learn more"
Measure how many people care about the problem or need and how deeply they care. The most obvious indicator is the percentage of invitees who register to learn more. Next you need to learn if visitors think their friends have the same need or problem, so include widgets for forwarding, sharing, and tweeting the MVP.
Focus on the conversion rates. If the MVP gets 5,000 page views and 50 or 60 sign-ups, it's time to stop and analyze why. If 44% of the people who saw an AdWord or textlink to the MVP signed up, you're almost certainly on to something big. What percentage of people invited to the test actually came? What percentage of people in each test (a) provided their email address, (b) referred or forwarded the MVP to friends, or (c) engaged further in a survey, blog, or other feedback activity? Of those who answered survey questions, how many declared the problem "very important" as opposed to "somewhat important?"
Having certified these, you can cash on these opportunity to launch your products/prototype.
Look at categories and dynamics. That's my contribution.
You need something that matters in a more-than-economic sense (unless you have some kind of investment product).
Counter-intuitively, once you have a product that matters in a non-economic sense, you may need to immediately turn around, and make it matter for economics. I think these are two different stages, and it may be hard to handle.
I look at cases like board game successes, and not only do they have good ideas, but when it comes to marketing, they hit the ball out of the park.
To be honest, I don't have the experience to tell you exactly what works, but following through on some of the above traces some of my intuitions about the subject of successful products.
(1) Categories of functionality and vitality
(2) A product in a non-economic sense.
(3) A product in an economic sense.
(4) I can add, you may also need a lot of repeatability about this product.
And don't stress out----you have it or you don't. Try not to make foolish investments.
You have to gauge the lead time between launching of the product and cultivating the customer. There is a learning curve, creation of market and developing the customer lead into a direct sale. Testing the product, communicating well, and marketing successfully are the keys.
Are you asking me what my story is, or do you want to know what your story should be? Any story that will be successful starts with developing a compelling value proposition i.e. what is better, faster, or cheaper, than similar products or services that already exist? If you can't describe clearly, succinctly, and passionately why the world needs your product, then you are not going to make it.
The only way a product is viable is if it fills a need or want and people are ready to pay for it because it offers value or a solution
VIABILITY must be REAL and forever not just a temporary fad
I would like to answer u in two ways. First, when u really start strumming the strings, it is must that a sound is produced. So u have to meet up many people. Some might give you ideas, some may question ur skills, some may oblige u to think more and some could give ur company a kick start. As far as productis concerned, minimum viable product, it will automatically shape itself on the basis of needs u will dig out during ur discussions. Second, such viable product could b best which is based on your own skill set. Not dependent on any other or on any materialistic resource. It could be managing ROI for companies specially when it comes to brand activation or activities. Once u define ur target market, or targeted segments, based on their needs u can easily develop the solution of their problems. Thanks
You might want to go to a trade show and set up a booth. By doing this you get your product out there and the chances of it being replicated are very, very slim.
I facilitate a Lean Startup Circle and we've had some really great projects come in for our working sessions. One manufacturing project that comes to mind was for ladies garments. The entrepreneurs approached us to see if they could get some help with some inexpensive prototypes manufactured. As the discussion went on, we realized that they hadn't "gotten out of the office" yet. So, we backed up the bus and recommended a few sketches on an iPad to get real customer feedback coming out of their favorite stores.
They got great feedback and all it cost them was their time talking to people - saved them thousands of dollars.
This is only one story - we tend to get great stories every month... I could go on and on. Good luck with yours!
Cost management is directly related to the viability of the product, market research and presentation. The thing that should be taken into consideration is how your product is better than other in the market and how you communicate it to the client. I advise you to prepare feasibility and satisfy yourself first, that the product is a positive scheme to do.