Every business start up entails bringing a product of some kind to the market, whether that’s a physical product or service. A huge number of failures in business were caused because there was no market demand. Many businesses will fine tune a product for years and still discover nobody actually wants to purchase their goods or services. Cutting expenses and business risks within the product design and start up process is possible when recognised methods for testing and launch are utilised and business owners accept that failure is a necessary part of the business and success ethic.
In many ways launching your business product or service successfully can be likened to writing an essay or book, writers produce copious drafts and edit substantially before achieving final copy status. In the business environment it’s important to test and analyse the product to the finest degree to achieve the best product and sales outcome. Discovery of the flaws within the product is part of the trial and error procedure required and the reason why the minimum viable product process is important to follow. Use of minimum viable product techniques allows every business to acquire the knowledge needed to meet consumer demands whilst addressing key risks within the business venture.
Minimum Viable Product Process
No matter what product or service is being offered by your business start up or, indeed, if you’re an established business developing further products or fine tuning your existing base, the two areas needing scrutiny are:
1. Complete and ongoing analysis of business risk assumptions
2. Constant testing and experimentation of the product
One good example of clever minimum viable product testing is the way a company might commence a rapid launch of any app to the market, this makes testing the product on consumers a simple matter and is the reason so many developers issue regular updates and tweaks to apps. Spending vast amounts of time developing and amending the app for months or years prior to any launch means it’s just the software development team that are working on ironing out problems with the app.
Waiting for several months or years prior to launching a product can be considered a waste of money, throughout the pre-launch period salaries and ongoing business costs are being outlaid with no recognition of critical flaws within the product or business plan.
Using the minimum viable product technique every business has abilities to test their product at each stage whilst ensuring the final product offering meets customer needs in full. Just so long as businesses accept that trial and error plays a large part within the product development, there’s no risk of complacency and learning or data collection involved becomes an enjoyable part of the business start up process.
The savvy entrepreneur understands spending years developing and testing a product within the confines of the manufacturing environment can lead to a closed mindset and stagnant product development. Just so long as the testing process is robust and all learning outcomes feed into the product development, the physical product launch should be less hit and miss and offer greater likelihood of success.
Using the minimal marketable product methodology in combination with minimum viable product testing is a good way to progress any new launch. With minimal marketable product methodology the business adopts a mindset where “less is more” and focuses upon developing a product that will answer consumer needs with the smallest possible set of features. This way the user experience is met in full and products can be sold successfully.
Surprisingly, it’s often easier for product developers to create the most top-heavy, feature inclusive products and creating a simple, clean product is far more difficult. This is over-engineering products to the nth degree and, of course, in the modern technological world when a product is launched in its simplest version, launching upgraded versions can often mean added profits. The simplicity of the original iPhone launch in 2007 is one example. The iPhone was incredibly successful, yet it did not feature many of the applications that were common on other devices.
It goes without saying that the testing and experimentation process conducted within the minimum viable product procedure should be extended to every aspect of pre-product development and launch. This can entail launching a website with dummy product information to test customer demand and feedback, as well. So marketing and advertising professionals need to work hand in hand with product developers to ensure the testing process is conducted with rigour and the initial product is launched in its best form. Once the product has been launched it is an easy matter to continue honing and developing so that it keeps giving customers the experience and satisfaction required.
Image from Roni used under Creative commons