The Real MVP of Business
In sports, the term MVP refers to a team or organization’s “Most Valuable Player.” That person of unique talent and ability that helps to elevate the team and can be counted on when the game is on the line.
In business, MVP means something very different. In this context it means Minimum Viable Product.
Your Minimum Viable Product (MVP) solves a customer’s problem in as simple a way as possible. It is the basic model, without the special features, that you use to test the market.
Whether you’re new to business or a seasoned veteran, having a product or service that sells is paramount to keeping your business afloat. If there is nothing to sell, there is no cashflow. If there’s no cash coming in, your business is in trouble!
Here are four ways you can leverage an MVP to grow your business quickly and effectively…
Ironically, the cornerstone of business is failure. Every great organization is built on a mountain of failures. That is what an MVP can do for you, it can reduce the time it takes to see if something will work.
Even the most brilliant business minds have occasionally misread their clientele when coming up with new products and offerings. Failing fast means you can come up with something better without investing as much time and effort. In effect, this shortens the learning curve.
Failure is certainly less than ideal, but if a product is destined to fail would you rather invest a few thousand dollars and a couple of months time, or hundreds of thousands of dollars and years of effort?
Build a customer base.
The hardest thing in business is acquiring a new customer. Once you have a customer, they can do more business with you and refer their friends. By launching an MVP, you can get a good understanding of the basic problem that you’re solving. Your offering may not be the fanciest, but your service should leave a good impression.
A plumber could wear boot covers to protect their customers floors and a jumpsuit to guarantee there are no “wardrobe malfunctions.” You may start off only fixing leaky sinks and running toilets, but you can prove that your service is valuable and start moving into higher paying work.
Tweak your product based on customer feedback.
Not all customers are going to come out and tell you what you need to do to improve your product. But if you take the time to listen, they will often talk about their problems. By listening closely to their problems, you can find solutions that fit in with what you already offer. Consistent feedback in a particular area will tell you what you need to know.
You’ll also want to pay attention to what your customers are not Are they not referring? Are they not purchasing again? Are they uncomfortable when it comes time for payment? All of these indicate room for improvement in the customer experienceTake the time to do that digging, you will be handsomely rewarded.
You don’t have to be first to win.
Bob Connolly, a former VP at Wal-Mart, shared the sage advice that selling what people are already buying is much easier than convincing them to buy a thing they’ve never had before. He used the example of opening a restaurant. Should you open a unique ethnic food place or a burger joint? Bob argues that the burger joint has more potential because people already buy burgers, you just need to get them to buy your burgers.
Likewise, Uber was not the first into the ride sharing market. Lyft was already there. But Uber launched anyway and in less than fifteen years the business is now valued at over five times Lyft. While both services are similar, Uber expanded it’s reach around the globe and has worked to keep it’s prices lower than Lyft’s.
Using the Minimum Viable Product strategy, you can break into already existing markets or test out an idea that is not currently in the market.
By keeping things simple at first you can see if your offering resonates with your audience. Sometimes you’ll need to tweak your marketing. Other times you’ll need change the product or service itself. And sometimes you’ll need to cut your losses and let it go.
Listen, fail fast, modify quickly; You will be handsomely rewarded.
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