What's your Minimum Viable Business? (Or 'How to launch your idea as quickly as possible')

If you've got a good idea, don't let it gather dust. If you want to make it happen, start now. Here's something to help you.

There's a concept in product design called the Minimum Viable Product - something that has just those features that allow the product to be deployed, and no more:

The product is typically deployed to a subset of possible customers, such as early adopters that are thought to be more forgiving, more likely to give feedback, and able to grasp a product vision from an early prototype or marketing information.

It is a strategy targeted at avoiding building products that customers do not want, that seeks to maximize the information learned about the customer per dollar spent.

Wikipedia

You can apply this principle to any idea or business you want to launch. Lots of successful companies started with a Minimum Viable Business.

Amazon sells anything and everything right? Not when they launched. They only sold books (remember that?) When they had proved that the principle worked and people had really taken to the business, they diversified. Now you can buy everything from a can opener to a laptop on Amazon.

What's the core of your idea? How can you launch as quickly as possible and just get the idea out there? Soft-launch your website or share your business with a select group first. You might trial your new workshop or service with some friends first. Or volunteer to be social media specialist at your current company before plotting your global social media consultancy empire.

Don't waste time on a fancy website and the perfect logo. (Seriously, no one cares about your logo)

Instead, invest your energy in the part of your idea that really matters, get it out there, get people using it, and get feedback.

That feedback will tell you what you need to change to make it really fly.

WordPress is used by over 25 million people and yet its original creator Matt Mullenweg says,

If you’re not embarrassed when you ship your first version, you waited too long.

So what's your Minimum Viable Business?

Launch your idea

Very soon, 200 people will be joining us to make their Minimum Viable Business (or other creative idea) into a reality in the 30 Day Challenge.

Read more about the 30 Day Challenge

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  • Winfried Bruckmeier

    Hi John,
    thanks for your suggestion but I have read your book and have taken it to heart. I have already started and made my first steps and will see what comes of it. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Winfried

  • Nicole

    Morning John - love all your tips but this one's a cracker. I've got one or two projects on the go, all of which are attracting collaboration. Think I might pare them down and go it alone for quicker results.

    Today is the launch of the happiness project isn't it? Have a wonderfful day.

  • Timely John, thanks, especially as I'm trying to use this 30 day project to launch my first product. Better to get it out there on a targeted release than wait to hit perfection.

  • Hi John,

    Thank you, that was exactly what I needed to hear today. I have been trying to perfect something before sharing it with the world but today I am just going to do it and tweak where necessary along the way.

    Your timing has been amazing!

    Carole

  • Beware Nicole - collaboration even with 1 person tends to make projects go much faster for less effort. The project takes on a momentum of its own as soon as there is more than just you pushing it.

  • Hi John,

    I'm a career counsellor in Toronto and I'm often discussing with my clients ways they can experiment with career ideas and business ideas -- so they don't wait and wait until they are "completely ready" to make a move. Love this concept of Minimum Viable Product. There's much to be learned through an experiment or a soft launch!

    Thanks for your blog!

    Best,
    Anne

  • Malin

    Thank you for your inspiration John! I couldn't make it for the 30 Day Challenge, but I am trying to do it anyway! And much thanks to your inspiration I got twitting for the first time today. (After long procrastination...) And it feels like singing ; ) https://twitter.com/#!/malinhedger/status/57844384066060288
    Tweet tweet...

    Thanks also for a great book and for being you!

  • What really made me go "Ouch!" was "Don’t waste time on a fancy website and the perfect logo". That's exactly what I was doing for my One Life notebook project - lovely handmade journals I sourced from my recent trip to India. I'd already persuaded myself I needed a cool 'One Life' logo and perfect website.

    So instead - today I sold my first notebook! Yes! (10 euros - kerrching in any language). And I got immediate 'this is great' feedback from the buyer. And I will get a quick and cheerful website up and running quickly which I can sell from - maybe using http://www.frooly.com/ - but I need stock to sell. So instead of waiting 4-6 weeks for my original designs to come from India I will customise some local notebooks and start selling them.

    Its great to just turn a twist on it!

  • Beverley James

    Thanks for this John. I was thinking that it would be vital to have a website up first. But over the last few days I've received some positive feedback from people just viewing them as I've walked along the street (with one or two samples). I've managed to make a few contacts this way.

    Thanks for sharing this!!!

  • Beverley James

    Me again John - I was talking here about the African Walking Sticks.

  • Liked this piece. neatly highlights why perfectionism seldom out paces 'good enough'. Bridging the gap betwen these two positions takes incremental improvement.

    Thanks

    Amechi

  • Thanks for the reminder to let something be 'good enough' and get it out there - Insisting something be 'just right' is a recipe for a clogged up hard drive and reduced income.

    Thanks for the encouragement to 'just do it'!

  • Sarah

    This is very true, which is quite a statement coming from a marketing person! I faffed about forever with having my logo designed and an overly fancy website. Subsequently, I hate it and designed my own by going through fonts and colour combinations I liked. I've also come to realise that I don't need anything too fancy. I am starting to apply the 'K.I.S.S' rule to my daily working life.
    Now I need to focus on rewriting the content for my website (18 months overdue and lost the draft which took me 2.5hours) and get a proper site up and running instead of a holding page - it may even result in more enquiries, so it's just down to me to convert them into a customer!

    Sarah

    PS: K.I.S.S - Keep it simple, stupid!