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El blog de Mikel Niño
Emprendimiento digital, startups, Big Data Analytics y nuevos modelos de negocio

Building a startup is not building just an MVP

When we look for methodologies to increase our chances of success when launching a startup, we often risk focusing too literally on a method and its tools. In the case of lean startup, this might lead us to think that all we have to do is to focus our work on building a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and refining it iteratively. However, it is very important to notice that an MVP is just part of our work and that a sustainable digital business is composed of many more things.

Along this line, I find very interesting the reflection made by Justin Mares and Gabriel Weinberg when presenting their "Bullseye Framework", stating that from the beginning a startup's effort must not only take into account product development, but also the iterative refinement of the choice of channels to optimize customer traction. In that framework they propose a 50%-50% balance between product development and looking for traction, although I think we should take many more aspects into consideration.

We must not forget that a digital business has an essential component of organization, in terms of resources and people necessary to build our business in a sustainable way. Once we have validated our MVP, which team will I operate the business with? Which resources will I need to support it? How will I solve legal and tax issues? Will I need an office or will I manage teamwork in a distributed way? These are just some examples regarding extremely relevant aspects for the business' future success that -as it is the case with traction- must not be dealt with after reaching product-market fit, but analyzed to the right extent for this initial stage, posing and validating our hypotheses about them.

In any case, it is also important to manage correctly the priority and effort balance among all those elements, according to the startup's development stage, and not to devote the same effort and detail to all of them from the beginning. In other words, it is important not to forget relevant components of the future business and not to work with them only at the end of the process, but it is also equally important to focus our work during the initial steps on those aspects that are crucial to validate that we have found a problem worth being solved for a certain market (a customer segment) to whom we can propose a solution of their interest (a value proposition). As we gather evidence that we are following the right path with that market-problem-solution identification, we could add more tasks aiming at validating the rest of key elements for the future business.

[Haz clic aquí para la versión en español de esta entrada]

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