Minimally Viable Business
I’m hearing a fair amount of pitches lately, whether I am at Startup Drinks, or at the Get a Real Job Fair. The one thing I consistently hear is “we’re trying to get to a minimally viable product” Lets step back for a second. Bare bones products are good. As a utilitarian and minimalist I appreciate this immensely. However, from the time you sign those incorporation or partnership papers, or in the case of sole proprietorships your general business license, you have one real purpose: to make money. In reality, very rarely do “minimally viable products” ever make money. So then we start talking about the “we have a lead-gen” business model, business speak for “we have no fucking clue how we’re going to make money, but we’ll get a lot of users and get acquired.”
Other conversations are more about the company I work for, Simply Measured, and how we do so well in a market that most consider saturated. Its actually quite simple. We have a product that delivers value to our customers and a price point that our customers find palatable for the value proposition we provide. That’s it. Let me reiterate this, people pay for our product. There is nothing secret to it, its just basic economics. Yet, to people in the day and age of lead-gen business model, this seems completely alien.
So, where does this leave us in this conversation? Lets go back to the start. Lets stop talking about a “minimally viable product”. lets instead talk about an old is new again concept: the minimally viable business. what is the simplest thing people will pay money for. there is your business model. produce a product/service people will pay money for, and boom, no more excuses about lead-gen or freemium business models, you have cash in pocket and you can go home and eat your top ramen in peace.