What’s it take to launch a business – maybe less than you thought
August 12, 2009
You are about to launch a new business…it could be a product, a service…it doesn’t really matter…what matters is that when you launch…you’re going to make sure it is the best it could be. You are going cover all the bases…it will have every feature imaginable, every fangdangle and watoozle. It will satisfy your customers every wildest desire…right?
Not so fast says Eric Ries, guru of the lean startup. I recently listened to Eric give a presentation at the Lean Startup Circle where he advocated a different approach…that of the Minimum Viable Product. I know what your thinking…it sounds like he wants you to make your product the least it could be. Well that’s right…at least to start, but the Minimum Viable Product is not about building minimal products.
The Minimum Viable Product is a product or service with the minimum set of features needed to learn from the early adopters with the least amount of effort. The idea is that by starting the product or service in the most basic form possible, only providing what is needed to get feedback from the most enthusiastic would-be users, you maximize your learning dollars spent and minimize the chance building something that nobody wants. Having customers fill in the feature gaps helps ensure the product is solving a real problem and providing a real value.
So what does a Minimum Viable Product look like? It could be as simple as designing landing page that describes the product or service you are going to offer. For Foodzie.com, Nik Bauman said they made Foodzie t-shirts and went to food shows to gauge interest and get feedback. So the Minimum Viable Product doesn’t even require a product at all, only an idea, a mechanism to capture feedback and the determination to measure it, act upon it, get some more feedback and repeat.
I highly recommend checking out Eric’s blog, Lesson’s Learned, where you can learn a whole lot more about the Minimum Viable Product and building a lean startup.