How to build and make your Minimum Viable Product work for you
In the first and previous edition of our Codeword series, we discussed why you need to #Prove your market viability.
But we should also get real: not all startups have huge budgets; most work in small teams and the infamous garages that Apple or Airbnb came from?
They might still hypothetically exist in the shape of London apartments. In recognising these realities, #Proving becomes a game of creating the right tests in the right conditions – and this usually means a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) opportunity.
MVPs are minimal ways of proving your hypotheses – low-cost, low-resource (low-risk) exp[eriments used to interact with a target market, before generating facts useful for proving.
It’s a highly-accessible method because it turns many startups’ weaknesses into opportunities.
Airbnb has a famous example of setting up $80/night mattresses in the founders’ home, but we like their Obama Cereal story better.
At the peak of Airbnb’s debt in 2008, Chesky and Gabbia could only turn to their creative backgrounds and their obsessive level of knowledge surrounding their target market.
In leveraging that, they designed ‘Limited Edition’ Obama-themed cereal boxes targeted at the same market: it sold out, and fans were even paying resellers $350 for them on Ebay.
This may have paid off Airbnb’s debt, but Chesky and Gabbia’s bigger success was in proving their ability to package and sell new concepts to their target market – from Obama-themed cereal boxes, to the ‘ridiculous’ idea of vacation home-rentals.
They shared that success with an investor, and eventually secured their next round.
Airbnb’s may not be the go-to model for building an MVP, but it’s a great example of how the founders leveraged on their existing skills to prove their strengths.
Mirroring a similar strategic mindset, we’ve listed some of the techniques that our SeedReady community adopts in building an MVP:
- Set goals and expectations with this MVP: what hypotheses are you trying to turn into statistics or data?
- Be realistic about the ‘Minimum’ conditions you have: how much capital can you budget for it? When do you need it by? Who can support you?
- Also be realistic about the ‘Maximum’ conditions you have: what are your strengths and skills? What do you have to leverage on to ensure its success? Who else in your community can help you?
- From there, get creative in building your MVP.
Our Codeword series discusses some of the ‘words’ and processes our SeedReady startup community consult us most about. If you’re interested in knowing more about what we do and how we can help you, feel free to meet us at one of our events or book a time below for a chat.