With an increase in the number of university and college graduates and a limited number of government jobs, it’s becoming more and more difficult to find employment. I’m sorry to say that if you’re one of the college or university graduates—or even a high school graduate looking for employment, you’re wasting your time. The truth is you have a higher chance of being successful running your own business than finding employment in a government or corporate company.
Unlike before when you needed a huge capital to start a business, today you can start your business with a very small capital. However, my concern isn’t to talk about finances because financing a business today is very easy. Gone are the times when only banks would lend money to upcoming business people. Now, your fellow individuals with a bit of some capital would lend you money to start your business provided you’ve got a solid business plan. These individuals are called angel investors. What I want to do is introduce a concept to you called minimum viable product (MVP).
What is the minimum viable product? In his book The Lean Startup, Eric Ries defines MVP as “That version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.” In other words, the first version of your business need not be perfect. You just need the minimum version of your product or service to offer to customers. In fact, if you’re not ashamed of the early version of your business, then you waited too long. Remember that the early version of your product or service doesn’t have to be perfect. The MVP is intended for your customers to experience it so that they can give you feedback. You should then use this feedback to improve your product or service.
Here’s an example of how you can use the MVP. Say you want to start a restaurant business; instead of building or renting a restaurant, you can talk to a restaurant to sell your food there (of course, your food has to be different from the owner’s). Then you can judge from the customer’s response whether it’s worth it to start your own business or not. The minimum viable product lets you start your business with the lowest possible risk.
Therefore, rather than keeping your business ideas in your head, introduce them to the market so that people can give you feedback. What you think is good for your customers might turn out to be bad once they use your product. Think about the time you will have wasted improving your product or service only to be disliked by the very people you thought would love it. The minimum viable product doesn’t only provide you with feedback, it also saves you time. You can quickly move on to another business idea once you discover that the one you have isn’t working before investing too much money in it.
Whenever you come up with a new business idea, try to think about an MVP you can introduce to the market to see how your customers would respond to it. Doing this would save you time, effort—and most importantly—money.
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