Launchers, raise your hand if you’ve listened to countless business experts talk about the concept of a minimum viable product. We’re guessing there are lots of hands raised.
It’s something that everyone says you should have, but nobody can seem to tell you what it actually looks like. What’s the benefit of creating a minimum viable product when you’re able to dream of something so much better?
On a recent episode of The Launch Youniversity Podcast, we talked to business growth expert, Bradley Martin, and asked him just that. He gave a simple and brilliant analogy that all launchers should hear.
The Perfect Solution
Imagine you’re a launcher who’s come across a problem you want to solve: People are tired of standing and need a place to sit.
To solve the problem of needing a place to sit, the launcher dreams up the perfect solution — they set out to develop and launch the La-Z-Boy.
The process of creating a product of this caliber is long and expensive. You need to spend money on a team of ergonomic experts for research and a staff of your own to keep everything organized. It goes through phase after phase of critique and change to figure out what isn’t quite perfect yet.
If you’re one of the rare, lucky ones, your product makes it to launch. Then, you wait anxiously and nervously to see if people like the La-Z-Boy.
However, if you’re like most, you never make it to launch.
Product development was too overwhelming or too expensive. You ran out of time, money, and energy. You couldn’t shake the fearful question in your mind: What if nobody buys this?
So, you go looking for a different problem to solve.
The Simple Solution
Now, imagine hitting the rewind button. Go back to when you first realized people needed a place to sit.
This time, instead of going all in on the La-Z-Boy, you launched a minimum viable product.
Instead of building the La-Z-Boy, you built a stool.
Simply put, a minimum viable product is this: Get to the heart of the problem you’re solving, build the thing that most simply solves it, and bring it to market.
Once you’ve brought the stool to the market—and you see that people like it—you ask your customers: How can I make this better?
Maybe your customers tell you the stool is great, but after a while, the hard bottom is uncomfortable, so you add a padded seat and bring it back to market.
Then, your customers tell you they’d really like to lean back, so you add a back to the padded stool.
Next, they tell you they’d like to be able to turn without getting up, so you add a swivel bottom and bring it back to market.
Before you know it, you’ve built the La-Z-Boy.
How Can I Make It Better?
Too often, launchers make the mistake of assuming they know what people want without talking to their customers. They end up focusing on perfection, making decisions they can’t financially afford, and launching a product that nobody was asking for.
Launching a minimum viable product keeps the focus on where it should be: your customer. What do they like? What don’t they like? How can it get better?
And when you focus on the customer, you can scale your business responsibly. You don’t need to hire a big team from the start, or spend thousands of dollars on research and development.
When you start with the simplest solution, you’re giving yourself and your customers the gift of time and room to grow. Eventually, you’ll launch your La-Z-Boy. And you won’t be too drained to enjoy your success.