I can't believe I am using Boxing to explain entrepreneurship
One of the most important lessons I learnt from the New Venture Strategy taught by @Jonny Mirkin at the University of Otago is about the concept of MVP (minimum viable product).
I have been training for Thai Boxing for almost 8 years, and I always think combating is a game of strategy rather than pure power or techniques. Imagine you are stepping on the ring for the first time in your life, and you know nothing about your opponent. There is no recording or document about their previous fight or boxing style. Both of you are new stars in the field of boxing. Then, your opponent is just like the new market or industry you are getting into. Are the consumers ready to embrace the product? What is their reaction to this category? At what price they are willing to buy it?
As the boxer in the ring, I will be thinking about the same types of questions. How hard is their punch? How fast are they? What is their weakness? In the ring, your stamina is your cash. How are you going to spend it? Using all of them in the first round or distributing them evenly in 3 rounds? You barely see a fight in which boxers throwing hard punches and all their power in the first round, especially a fight of two experienced boxers with equal performance levels. They can, but they won't. They are smart. There are some exemptions, but we will discuss them later in a future topic about business competition.
A smart boxer will try different techniques, throwing some light punches or kicks to get information about how the opponent would react. The more information they have, the higher the possibility for the boxer to predict the opponent's next move. And then throwing the critical punch or kick to win the game.
This is basically the key concept of MVP.
There are two highlights about the minimum viable products:
You have actually to DO something to get information - do the tests
Do not throw all your stamina (cash or capital) at the very beginning - Do small tests
Of course, market research is important. However, there is not always much data available to you which perfectly match your situation out there. The most reliable data comes from your own business experience, communication with customers and sales. So, go out and make some prototype and let the market tell you the truth.
Finally, build cheap prototypes or free prototypes would be even better. Do not throw away all your stamina (cash) at the very beginning. You would be doomed and lost all the future opportunities if it did not work well. Save it for the RIGHT PUNCH.
Entrepreneurs, be brave and smart.