You start with an idea. After countless hours of brainstorming with friends, your once simple idea has morphed into pages of notes and possibilities. It might seem like a good idea to incorporate as much as possible to score the largest possible market share. Resist that urge. We’re slowly changing into an iPhone minded society. We have no patience for instructions or complicated products.
• Google Wave (Failed)
• MySpace (Failed… Twice)
• Microsoft So.cl (Failed)
I know what you’re thinking, “What about Facebook?” It’s easy to forget that Facebook started out simple before hitting critical mass and adding new features. When the iPhone originally came out there was no multitasking, no MMS, there wasn’t even real GPS. You can always evolve with your community, but you need a community first.
Roger’s Adoption Curve illustrates the five stages of product adoption. If your MVP crosses from the “Early Adopter” stage into the “Early Majority” stage, you should have enough customer feedback to help drive your product to critical mass.
It’s easy to assume that you know your customers’ wants, needs and how to market to them. Start-ups are usually formed based on assumptions and some intelligent guesses.
After an unsuccessful launch, finger pointing becomes the default response. Pain and frustration often leads to blame-storming – yes, sitting together as a group, discussing why the product or project failed. Adding a variety of new features is rarely the solution.
Minimum Viable Product
Eric Ries, the Father of Lean Start-ups, and Steven Blank, a successful entrepreneur, popularized the Mininum Viable Product or MVP. It is a strategy where start-ups are directed to maximize and allocate their resources more efficiently. It calls for faster market testing. Products are deployed in the market with only the basic features that will make them functional. An MVP is not actually a product per se, but the process of creating and selling a product to consumers, and testing its viability for business success. It helps start-ups answer the question, “Will consumers actually buy or use my product?”
Eric Ries put it this way, “Entrepreneurship in a lean startup is really a series of MVP’s.”
Yahoo initially launched as a directory of web listings. They’ve now expanded into news, email, advertising and more.
In 1984, Virgin Air started with a single Boeing 747. This project took off literally and expanded with more planes and destinations.
Start small, prove your concept and expand.