One of our assignments for class has been to write product assumptions. In that assignment I learned about minimum viable product (MVP). MVP is a proof of concept, the act of “getting something” out there. Some people go as far as defining it as 6-20 customers and most folks agree that by releasing an MVP, you give your company credibility. Yes, it’s important to get a product to market, but I wondered if there were some things companies shouldn’t do when launching a product.
Entrepreneur magazine is a trusty source for a lot of my research given they tailor content to start-ups and small business owners. Today wasn’t the day to let me down. Contributor Cory Levy wrote an article called, Starting Up Wrong: 6 Product Testing Mistakes You Need to Avoid. Spoiler alert, there are 6 things he says to avoid in this process and you’ll have to read the article for the details but here are the headlines:
- Letting Bias taint, the process
- Data problems
- Relying on technology to test
- Ignoring the competition
- Waiting to ‘sell’ until it’s built
- Leaving assumptions untested
While it’s important to get a minimally viable product to market, it’s also important to balance that with testing.
In the Four Steps to the Epiphany – Successful Strategies for Products that Win book by Steve Blank, he talks a lot about the customers. I fact, he probably writes the word customer more than the word product. He knows that without finding and marketing to appropriate customer groups, even the best products are destined to fail. Blank walks through several aspects of engaging customers to include:
- The customer discovery model
- And Creation
- Additionally, he includes a comprehensive customer development checklist
This book is a great reference and guide for any entrepreneur who is trying to launch a business or product. Companies are doomed to fail without finding their tribe of devoted customers. And once you have those customers, it’s important not to let the brand voice dominate the voice of your best brand advocates: your customers. To drive home this point, I recommend checking out Jason Maynard’s article for Entrepreneur Magazine called, When Your Customers Are Talking, Quiet Your Brand Voice and Listen.
The purpose of this exercise for ENT 645- EntreprenurialMarketing is to understand your customer base. For AD White, it’s a matter of understanding three customer bases: e-book readers, paperback readers, and “buy local” enthusiasts. Watch the screencast for more detail.
Happy Independence Day!