This morning I had a long mentoring session with one of our founders and afterwards realized that nearly all of my input was about focus. Specifically, choosing a market, a user-profile and a simple minimum viable product (MVP) with the emphasis on ‘a‘ as in a single one of each. We’re nearly halfway through the classroom sessions and most teams are still struggling with this and looking at pivots, as I discussed in my last post. My general advice at this stage is that you should be starting to understand how to refine your business model down to these segments: One market, One customer/user profile and one example you are showing people.
For the market, consider these filters:
- Ability and willingness to pay
Choose the one that has all of these characteristics and focus your model on it. If you don’t have one that meets these criteria, your idea is probably flawed.
For the customer/user:
- Early adopter
- Technology- friendly (it doesn’t scare them)
- Willing to accept imperfection
- Willing to refer you to peers
- Wants to buy
These are the people within the market that you want to focus on.
For the MVP:
- Only enough to demonstrate how it solves the problem
- Build the user interface, don’t worry about the code and underlying data
- Build your story- in this morning’s case, they needed to populate their demo with content to show how it works
Here’s the deal: Don’t spend time and money building functionality until your business model is complete and validated. Getting the user-interface and story right makes the actual development process much easier.
So, it’s time to focus on these three things. Let everything else go, especially the ideas you love that don’t have a market, a qualified user or an easily understood solution.