Eric Ries is an entrepreneur and author of The Lean Start-Up, which sold over a million copies and popularised the concept of Minimum Viable Product (MVP). He offers five essential tips any business can adopt to minimise the risk of a new product launch…
1) View the launch as an experiment
As soon as possible, get your MVP in your customers hands so everyone can figure out if the experiment is correct or not.
2) Separate the product launch from the marketing launch
The product launch is when the customer sees the product and the marketing launch is when we start to talk to the media about it. The product launch should be as soon as possible, and the marketing launch should be as late as possible. Talk to the media after you’ve dominated a market. Focus on what customers want.
3) Identify your leap of faith assumptions
What are the four or five things that must be true for this business to work? Sometimes the leaps of faith are very simple. For example, I have a lemonade stand – I think there will be a certain amount of footfall around my stand, a certain percentage of people are willing to pay £4.85 for a cup of my super premium lemonade and I want to test that now. We don’t need a global supply chain to work that out.
4) Avoid vanity metrics
One way to measure the lemonade stand is how much money I think I will take every day. Maybe I will take more money because my product is getting better. But maybe it’s because I started during a seasonal rush, so the figures are being masked by a vanity metric. Look at the results per customer, the conversion rate of customers who walk past and decide to purchase. Those metrics work if you’ve got 10, 100 or a million customers.
5) If it’s not working, persevere
Do what is called a pivot. Change the strategy without changing your vision.
The Startup Way by Eric Ries is out now, for more information click here