What I Learned in School Today: MVPs

Today I attended a webinar for early entrepreneurs about creating a minimum viable product (MVP). I know the presenter and wanted to support him. I also wanted to hear the latest and greatest on this concept. An MVP is a bare-bones version of a product. It’s designed to address your issues just enough to enable you to get feedback from customers. The feedback shapes what you build going forward.

Listening to the session today, a few things stood out. Speed was one. Getting something in the hands of customers quickly is key. Setting a launch deadline and meeting it, no matter what, is a great strategy—even if some features don’t make the cut. I can attest to that because I did the exact opposite at CCAW. Coming from corporate America, I was used to perfectly worded emails and lots of conversation before any action was taken. I kept working that way, wasting tons of time on things that didn’t matter at such an early stage. Perfection was the enemy of progress. It took me a while to learn that lesson, but I did. An email wasn’t perfect . . . oh well. We pushed the product out by the deadline but it was only 80% finished . . . no biggie. Progress was what mattered, and for that we needed feedback.

Another important thing the presenter said is how simple an MVP can be. It doesn’t have to be something that requires coding or other technical skills. You just need something that allows you to test and get feedback. The presenter once used spreadsheets (Google Sheets) as an MVP. Talk about simple and quick! He mentioned no code-platforms like Webflow as a possibility. His message: don’t overcomplicate it. You may end up scrapping it based on customer feedback anyway.

If you’re considering entrepreneurship, make sure you understand the MVP concept and how to apply it. Getting something in the hands of customers quickly can help you find a product–market fit much sooner—and succeed sooner. Wouldn’t that be great?