MVP. The approach to start and succeed in e-business. Part 2. Rules

By Aliaksandr Smirnou, CEO.

Read time: 5 minutes.


We apply the following rules for projects under Finger’s management. Please read about the assumptions that lead us to these rules.

 

 

1. Get clients first

Getting first clients is a huge milestone for a business. Achieving this milestone opens up the door to reality. This is actually the first time Big Idea faces this phenomenon — reality. Sharing Big Idea with your friends, selling it to potential partners and employees isn’t exactly “facing reality”: to make it clear, it’s the same if you expect the country to vote the way your community does. Clients bring you their feedback, their cash and the proof that what you are doing is important. These three deliverable are essential for a startup to evolve.

 

 

 

 

2. Fast time-to-market

Time is the name of the game in most business cases. Opportunities come and go, circumstances change dramatically and successful products meet their customers at the moment suitable for both sides. Getting to the market fast is a matter of design process — a part of functional requirements.

 

 

 

 

3. Risk less, but more often

This is about treating resources while having huge amount of functional ideas in mind. The initial trend is to design a complex and multifunctional product to deal with a lot of use cases. This will unfortunately eat the finance you will need later to evolve the product. Fingers’ team implies benchmark to spot must-have functions and helps to focus on most profitable user scenarios. The other part of savings comes from a soft launch on one platform. The entrepreneur has both the product that delivers most valuable service and finance to evolve it according to client’s feedback and analytics, or distribute the product to more clients on other platforms as soon as KPIs meet threshold.

 

 

 

 

4. Efficient environment

We set an IT environment that lets an entrepreneur retain clients, see them, know them, know everything needed to run his or her new business, hear everything, see everything, devote time to analyse info and synthesise decisions. And spend reasonable amount of time to do that.

 

 

 

5. Argument-driven, not opinion-driven decision making (Ask-your-client concept)

Apply user behaviour analytics to decision making on all functional and nonfunctional requirements. Well-structured numbers are best possible arguments to advocate any product evolution. Argument-driven decision making is one of the basic paradigms in Fingers (read more in my blog on LinkedIn).

 

 

 

 

6. Plan and control

Every step in project management is aimed to achieve a specific goal that can be measured and is presented as a KPI. All KPIs are needed to be tracked and actual results are needed to be compared to the planned ones. Then retrospective analysis is held followed by replanning. This process lets us know if the decisions we make provide what is expected and if the hypothesis we work out are true or false.

 

 

 

7. Get strategic vision

Sometimes strategy is mistakenly perceived as a presentation with overall view of product’s roadmap, milestones that contain approximate numbers “just to get the idea”. This may be good enough for an elevator pitch, but isn’t enough to guide a product to success. We help entrepreneurs build a 1-year planning horizon holistic system of KPIs that cover every part of e-business, including product efficiency, promotion, development, resources, risk management and a framework for revision on a regular basis.

 

 

 

 

8. Start monetise ASAP

Focusing on cash flow lets achieve two very important outcomes: a) WOW, it works!; b) replenish resources for faster growth. In case an entrepreneur is applying an exit strategy (growing audience for further selling his share to investors) the idea is very similar - the focus will be on active audience.

 

 

 

 

9. Find partners you feel comfortable with

E-business is a long journey, make sure you know who’s on your boat and that your relations are regulated well.

 

 

 

 

10. Develop your new business, not just MVP

Big idea may work or not, but your e-business that delivers the service should work the right way.