Before learning about the Lean Startup approach to building online products, the first ideas that came to mind were big dreams of complex apps that were obviously going to be the next big thing: Facebook but for rats, Uber for haircut services or a Tinder for dogs.
Whatever the idea was, I found myself overwhelmed by the theoretical difficulty of my projects before I thought about the really important stuff first: If I was actually solving a big problem for people and if they would actually pay for it.
So, apart from the logical fundamental steps of learning how to code while using services like Zapier to glue together some API’s to launch a quick MVP (will talk about this in another post). One of the skills I’m trying to develop is the Minimum Viable Product muscle.
The Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
An MVP can come in many forms if you are creative enough. They can range from a google spreadsheet or a simple form asking for the user information. The most popular kind, however (and the least original) takes the form of landing pages.
The entrepreneur builds a single page site with a clear description of the problem and how her product is solving it. Using a fake “Buy” button and some tracking analytics she tests if there’s enough demand for her product by studying how many people actually clicked “Buy”. Now that she knows that they are willing to pay she can now start building a solution. Here’s a cool recent example I found a week ago.
And like that example, there are much more. If you train your brain to spot MVP’s in the wild you improve your chances of coming up with good lean tests to see if your idea is really worth it. And that takes me to my next point:
Finding a cool little business in Cozumel
I recently decided to stay in Cozumel for a couple of weeks while working remotely and getting a scuba diving certification. I was in need of a service like Uber eats or Grub hub and since food delivery startups in México are really big (at least 500 million in sales a year big) I asked some friends if there was something like sindelantal.mx here. They told me of something called “Room Service” a nifty small business that delivers whatever you want right to your door.
- You can call them, use Whatsapp or FB chat.
- Tell them what do you want to order and from where.
- Give them your address
The thing with Room service is that it could be the perfect MVP:
- No code needed
- Uses existing services (Fb chat, Whatsapp, Calls)
- Almost no cost to test it ( spend on ads or market it through Facebook groups)
- You can test demand immediately
They don’t even have a website, just a FB page and I’ve seen their bikes pretty frequently so I say they have a healthy amount of daily orders. Of course, there are other variables involved in this kind of businesses like the cost of delivery or the covered area (it works really well in Cozumel since it is a small town and you don’t need to travel long distances).
The point of this is that if they have a working and growing business without complex tech. Then what is stopping you from testing that idea that you have?
Copy what works and iterate fast, let me know what you think about this in the comments or tweet me your opinion would love to talk 😄
Photo credit: Alex Barlow