Often, people have a bright idea about a product or new business and before you know it, they’ve launched head first into something time consuming and expensive, only for it to ultimately fail. And that failure is often down to a lack of research.
What we’re saying is, building and launching anything based on unvalidated ideas is never a good idea. And here’s how we can help.
Whether you’re an established business looking to innovate, a potential start-up or just someone with a side project, an MVP is the best way to ensure that the idea you’re thinking about has the legs it needs to make it to market.
MVP stands for ‘minimum viable product’. This is a testing technique which is often used for new products and businesses to ensure that what they’re offering has a value worth investing in, through testing on the smallest possible (minimum viable) scale.
In simple terms, say you want to open a new burger restaurant and although you assume that people in the area will want to buy your burgers and pay the price you’re setting, you don’t actually know this for sure.
An example MVP in this scenario would be a food truck, serving a cut down version of your menu. Running through this exercise will let you test your assumptions about location and cuisine before investing in the real thing, the restaurant.
Sometimes a second MVP is required to test assumptions which haven’t been proven first time around. With the burger restaurant, for example, you might still have questions about pricing because customers might expect to pay more for a meal in a sit-down restaurant compared to a food truck. In this scenario, a pub kitchen takeover or hiring a small space like a shipping container to test the pricing and service hypotheses could work well!
Entrepreneurs often worry about being the first to bring their offer to the market. What if someone finds out and beats you to it? For this reason, there can be a tendency to sit on an idea, keep it secret even and then release into the world unknown, hoping for a first-mover advantage.
Sitting on ideas only leads to (in most cases) failure. Talk about them, don’t be afraid to get criticism and opinion from your friends, family, contemporaries and business network. Why? Because, honestly, your ideas have no intrinsic value until they are validated. So why would you risk moving forward on something important without it?
Opening your ideas and plans up to criticism will help you to refine them. But the only way to truly know if your product, idea or website is going to succeed is to validate it by testing your target audience.
Now that you understand what an MVP is and why it’s useful for any new business startup, let’s go back to basics. Before any new business idea or venture should start with these hypotheses:
Once you can answer yes to each of the above points, you are in a great place to move forward. To confidently answer yes, a mix of conversation, criticism and critically, user testing (through an MVP) are all essential.