You’ve come up with an idea for a business and, with a lot of hard work, launched your startup using the minimum viable product (MVP) model to cut costs. Maybe you had an idea for an app and you released a basic version for users to try out. Perhaps you’ve kept your staff to the bare minimum and limited production to keep costs down while you experiment with your product to see what works for your market and what doesn’t. What you have now is a stripped-down, bare-bones version of what you hope your business will eventually become. Smart move, because this likely has enabled you to save money early on–money that you will need to spend when your growth escalates.
The question now is: How do you scale from here?
1. Gather your data
During the MVP stage, what you released to the market was really your core product with only the most important functionality. This allowed you to test your product on your target market with minimal effort and expense. You also had access to valuable feedback from your customers. (If you didn’t get that, use an app like Delighted to aggregate that info.) You got to see firsthand who used your product the most, what your customers liked, and what they didn’t. This information is vital to growing your business.
Now the trick is to decide how much of this data you’re going to use to grow your business.
2. Focus on adding value
The key to moving on from the MVP stage is adding value to your MVP. This is the time to use some of the funds you saved during the MVP stage to make a product or service that people would actually love. For growth to take place, you need to help your customers see that the basic version is not enough. This is the time to add a new feature to your app, for instance. By introducing new features gradually, you add value to the product that would make your customers love it even more. Creating an MLP (minimum lovable product) will go a long way to obtaining loyal customers.
3. Focus on feedback
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It’s also a great time for you to implement a suggestion or two from your early stage customers. Listening to customers is crucial to growth in a new business; it’s what wins their hearts. Free word-of-mouth advertising by satisfied customers is your reward for using customer feedback to improve your product or service delivery. Creating a product that people love is what lays the groundwork for invaluable word-of-mouth marketing, and it is then that you will see your business start to grow and prosper.
4. Sustain that growth
Now that you’ve begun adding new features to your product, this is the point at which your business starts to look the way you envisioned it turning out at its inception. The surefire way to keep your business thriving and flourishing is to continue the cycle of gathering data and using it to keep creating products your target market would love.
With a tested and proven product in hand and satisfied customers spreading the word about your business, you will be on your way to achieving, not just a startup success story, but a thriving company.