The term ‘MVP’ in business is not exactly a position you want your business in, it means “Minimum Viable Product,” and that is where most businesses start. We’ve all started there and if you are reading this, chances are you are ready to grow your business to the next level. (Scroll down to find our worksheet to help you get out of the MVP stage and push it to the next level.)
I had a major realization in my business that it was time to move past the MVP stage when a 50 cent Ikea hanger broke causing a $1,000 garment to fall to the ground right in front of a client. I knew at that moment it was time to invest in higher quality accessories. I’m sure they agreed. You could have similar examples:
- A Financial Advisor with a $20,000,000 portfolio but you hand your clients flimsy 3 cent binders for their documents
- A retail store with unbranded packaging
- A client services company without proper and cohesive branding
- Anyone with a @gmail or @hotmail e-mail address, not having @yourcompany.com is unacceptable at this point
The best way to start a business is by hitting the ground running and to learn as you go. A business that tries to start off being completely professional and perfect never gets off the ground. The term Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is used for a business that has enough to get off the ground and start selling. The MVP stage is never meant to stick around, the goal is to grow, tweak, adjust and refine as you go. If your business has started at the MVP stage, chances are there are portions of your business that are still there.
Here is a list of things you may want to start implementing in your business to refine it:
- Have you started out with no systems? It may be time to implement new Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) which will help you hand off certain tasks to current or new employees.
- Are you spending too much time on menial tasks such as Social Media, e-mail follow ups, invoicing, etc.? Using programs like Hootsuite for social media bulk uploading, Hubspot as a Customer Relationship Management Software or hiring a VEA (Virtual Executive Assistant) can take those time stealing tasks off your plate
- Did you start with a low quality product to prove the model?
- Now that you are rapidly growing are you finding your customer service suffering?
- Are your cost prices too high? Do you have more buying power to negotiate a lower price?
- Are the bags, mail outs or stationery you use a low quality? Is it time to spend a little more to get something that is high quality?
- Do your clients demand too much of your time? Have you done an analysis to see how much per hour you are making when you factor in driving time, time with the client, paper work, etc?
- Is it time to reach higher clientele? It may be as simple as raising your prices or expanding your network to reach a higher income bracket.
- Did you higher interns or those with no experience just to get started? If there are employees who are more of a headache it may be time to replace them.
- If you love your employees start investing in training. Most training can be a tax write off and the government may offer grants to cover the cost.
If your business is moving past the MVP stage, congratulations! Taking these next steps will help ensure it has a long life and we would love to help you with restructuring and taking the menial, time consuming tasks off your plate. Let us know if there is a way we can help.
To complete the work sheet below, simply fill out the areas of your business that are stuck in the ‘MVP stage’.
Make sure to check out the services we offer to help as well as our blog post on ‘Why Are You Still Doing the Menial Tasks?‘
Derek Burbidge, Manager of Sales & Marketing