Most entrepreneurs spend hours working on their product and for several months when starting their business. Research is great, however, there becomes a point where you have to test your business idea and find out whether your product will sell.
There is no value in holding onto a product for until it’s 100% complete and when it’s released onto the market people do not understand or like the product. It is much more valuable and time-saving to release a product that is functional but does not have all the features you have planned and let your customers try out the product.
If you don’t have a trading history and you require investment to start the business, the best option would be for you put your business plan aside for 4 to 12 weeks and develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) of your product/service and test the market.
The MVP allows you to understand whether your business meets customer requirements and provides you with a platform to improve your business based on their feedback.
The MVP should be a functioning product without all the planned added features, remember the main purpose of the stage is to prove that there is a market and gain valuable feedback from your customers.
For example, if you are planning to launch a new social networking website, start a blog and/or Facebook page about your idea to attract and engage people with your business.
If you are planning to develop software as service (SaaS) either develop a prototype online or deliver the service manually in person, over the telephone or using a teleconference service.
This concept is also applicable to services, you need to scale down the service appropriately to prove that people buy it.
For instance, if you are a beautician and you want to open your own store, a great example of a prototype would be to treat your customers from your home or their homes.
Investors are interested in how many sales you have made and the feedback you have gathered from your customers. Conducting and MVP will improve your product, business model and marketing campaigns and improve the quality, and may even replace the need for a business plan. At the minimum, you will be able to write your plan much faster and the quality will be vastly improved.