Maulik Sailor (Full-Time MBA 2011) is an experienced businessman, with vast knowledge of start-ups and launching new businesses to market. He is the founder of Innovify*, a product management and tech incubator which helps entrepreneurs develop their products cost effectively. He also runs his own luxury online shopping site, which specialises in fashion. Maulik has supported the Business School returning to sit on careers panels, and judging panels for entrepreneurship competitions. Here he shares his insights into how to create a minimum viable business plan:
Certainly, the case with some recent high-profile failures like YPlan, Pronto, Shop and more.
I recently had opportunity to meet Kuba, co-founder of Eve Mattress, and hear the story about how they have gone from idea to initial public offering in just four years. I wonder what was the key recipe for success that could be applied to other start-ups? It was obvious. Unlike every wannabe entrepreneur focusing on MVP, instead they focused on developing a minimum viable business (MVB). I am going to claim the right to be the inventor of the term MVB!
Typically, founders develop minimum viable products (MVPs) in order to gain funding for their products. However, they tend to lose focus on what business opportunities their product creates. This often results in higher costs from agencies, developers and freelancers, with limited success and waste of investments.
So what is an MVB? I think, similar to MVP, it is a minimum viable business you can develop with following attributes:
1. It has a well-defined MVP. Which means the target users and their needs are well understood and solved with the product.
2. It has a very clear business model. Which means you have identified the price you going to sell, keeping in mind the costs and distribution channels.
3. A well balance marketing strategy that clearly communicates the 4Ps (Product, Price, Place, Promotions).
4. It has identified the KPIs that it can measure & grow. You have identified all the growth drivers and how you are going to grow them.
5. It has a well-balanced team with all the key skills (either in-house or contracted). Which means you have all the required skills to deliver on 1–3 above.
6. You time your fundraising and raise enough for you to deliver your KPIs, timely.
For founders, SMEs and companies looking for high-growth business, how do you develop your MVB? I think the following could help:
1. Understand your primary user needs.
2. Understand the customer’s willingness to pay and the reason behind it.
3. Develop your MVP to not only meet the user needs but also the customer’s willingness to pay.
4. Define your primary target market and stay focused on it.
5. Create a truly compelling marketing campaign that targets your user, customer and give them a clear reason to want the product and pay for it (the 4Ps of marketing).
6. Define KPIs and growth drivers based on these initial learnings.
7. Publicise the initial success and fundraising in parallel.
8. Raise enough funds for you to carry on the business for at least 12 months.
9. Invest these funds to influence as many growth drivers as possible.
10. Invest in your people and company culture. Hire the best person for the job and ensure a tight cultural fit.
11. Repeat all the above.
For more insights from Maulik you can take a look at his blog Innovify Insights.
*Innovify partner with founders, SMEs and companies to create innovative digital products. The have expertise in Lean & Agile methodologies for forward thinking solutions that can disrupt the marketplace. Innovify has developed successful solutions for companies such as Landbay, Brickowner, Instantt, and AtMayfair.