How do you increase your chances of a successful new business or new product launch? Start small. Build an MVP and/or prototype first. What you build depends on many factors including the type of product you’re launching, your target audience, and more.
Making changes to a fully completed product that is not performing well is both difficult and costly. Instead, start small by launching a minimally viable version (MVP) of a product or service—for example, a bare-bones website (also called a landing page), a pop-up space, or a manual version of your offering that will be automated in the future—and get it in front of your target audience. By doing this, teams can gather numerous insights about usability and product-market fit and can make critical changes before investing extensive resources into a final version.
Beyond avoiding costly mistakes, experimenting with prototypes provides early awareness of your offering among potential customers. Launch-and-learn (yes, this is the lean startup principle) is especially effective for digital products and services since revisions can be made quickly and easily with minimum interruption, however service and retail industries can also learn from this practice. You can take a look at these videos to be inspired by DropBox, Zappos, and Buffer. In fact, Tony Hsieh’s now-infamous early prototyping of the Zappos service offering is actually quite ingenius.
Per IDEO, the global design and innovation firm in the heart of innovation in Silicon Valley, when teams explore and iterate with five or more different ideas rather than selecting one or two ideas and moving them forward, they are 50% more likely to successfully launch. Why risk doing anything less than what’s necessary to increase your chances of success? Start small. Launch. Learn. Repeat.
Are you unsure about the difference between an MVP and a prototype? The terms are used interchangeably quite often. Check out our previous blog post about this topic.