Building the MVP

When you are starting a company and you are used to working in a big company environment, you haven’t been exposed to the hacking world of startups.  I run into a fair amount of people like this.  They have worked for a big company and they have learned about the pain points of the business they are in.  They are used to corporate budgets and the corporate budgeting process.  They are a bit intimidated by the “coding world”.  The coding world whether intentionally or unintentionally can be frightening to a person that has never been around it.  Typically, they are younger, and let’s face it they are engineers.  It’s not as welcoming as you might think.

The corporate idea person usually thinks that they have to create the perfect product to solve the problem they have found.  The answer is you don’t.

All you need is something that can work for a short time.  Maybe just solve one small part of a larger problem.  Get it in the hands of a customer and see how they use it.  If they like it, then start adding to it.  A great resource for learning more about this is the book “Do More Faster” by Brad Feld.

One time I was talking to some successful entrepreneurs about how they started their company.  They built a website on WordPress so they had a front yard for customers.  The customers thought everything was automated in the back of the house. The reality was they were manually processing transactions on Excel.  Their reasoning was, “Why spend any money on development if this thing isn’t going to work?”

If you are working in the bowels of a bank, an insurance company or some other financial entity, you don’t need a huge budget to build a solution to a problem.  Just build something really cheaply and get it to function just well enough so a potential customer can use it.  See if it satisfies the basic need.  If it does, then keep building.  That’s going to save capital, and more importantly, save equity for you.  It’s also going to make it significantly easier to raise capital when you need it.