January 2, 2020

MVP is ready to be tested by real customers

Romain de Wolff @geniium

Some context

Tomorrow, all our bookings will be much easier to handle. We will be able to ask Siri "Book me a meeting with my hairdresser next week", and Siri will show up three slots that work both for me and my hairdresser. In a click, my meeting will be booked.

I have been working for the past 3 years toward that vision. Today is an important day in this amazing journey : the MVP is ready for real life testing.

A brief history

After reading Eric Ries' book "Lean Startup" [1] which is a great eye opener book, I have discovered Ash Maurya's book "Running Lean" [2]. It's a great blueprint of the actions required to create a startup while minimising the risk to build something no one wants nor needs. And this book has become my manual to bootstrap my business.

After iterating through multiple Lean Canvas and selecting one that seems the best to build a profitable long term businesses, I have identified my early adopters as small business that are accessible and book constantly meeting with their customers. Our perfect target are hairdressers. They have shops that you can enter and talk with them easily. That's an important part of the game: be able to talk with future customer early and continually.

Mentor

At the same time, I have approached an entrepreneur I have been working with that has built successful industrial businesses for more than 30 years. We shared lunch and I asked him to be my mentor during this journey. He did not see the added value of the project first. After a few meetings and some tweaks in my Lean Canvas, he was convinced by the project and accepted to mentor me. Since then we meet every 2 weeks. I prepare some slides to share the progress, the challenges faced and some KPI. This is a great way for me to constantly progress on the project and to keep everything well documented.

So what is so important today ?

Well today is the day that our MVP is ready. We faced many challenges during the last year. Some were known from the beginning but many were surprises. I have tried to document my whole journey to be able to avoid to reproduce the same mistakes again. Meeting minutes, challenges, etc.. everything is tracked. Solutions are always found. We just needs the patience and the courage to pursue our adventure!

What's next?

Our MVP is ready, the first customers are waiting to start using it. The next task is to go back visit customers that have signed to use the app and help them to get started.

During the upcoming days and weeks, I will follow up closely with the first customers and fix all the bugs as soon as possible. Staying close to our customers is key to measure what's going on. Talking with them often will allow me to learn a lot on the product and its usage.

Tasks

Our backlog has a long list of tasks and there is a lot of things to improve. But during the next weeks we will focus on fixing bugs, secure the app and stabilise it. We will minimise the number of new feature we add. We want to have an application that runs well. Meaning all the different parts of the app need to function without bug. And that is a real challenge when you cannot automate all tests (push notifications, subscriptions via Apple's In App Purchase, certificate updates, ...).

Goals

We target a weekly growth of 5%. We do not want to go too fast! This means we want to have 12 paying users by the end of the year 2020, 152 by end of 2021 and 1924 by end of 2022.

Learn

I have the chance to be working 80% in an amazing company named Liip [3] which empower entrepreneur like me. In January, Ash Maurya is coming to our office for a 2 days workshop. I am prepared to discuss many topics with Ash. I am very grateful to Liip to give us such opportunity to grow and learn. Looking forward!

What do you think?

That's the first element I publicly share about my journey. I have planned to share more with you in the upcoming months.

How does that resonate with you?

Have you had a similar journey?

What could I improve?

What would you like me to write about? Tech? Psychological challenges? Mentoring? Planning? Work life balance ?

Let me know! Am always keen to discuss and share.

References

[1] "The Lean Startup" by Eric Ries, cf. http://theleanstartup.com/book for more info.

[2] "Running Lean" by Ash Maurya, cf. https://www.oreilly.com/library/view/running-lean-2nd/9781449321529/ for more info.

[3] Digital progress! Check https://www.liip.ch for more info about what we do!

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