Minimum Viable Product: Always Go With It

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One of the key buzzwords in any business, especially online business, is “over-deliver.” We’re told that we should always strive to give the customer or visitor more than they bargained for, more than they expected. Never stop giving more, more, more, they say, and eventually, everyone who visits your blog or business will start showering you with money. So it really seems to go against all the rules to suggest that you should also always go with the minimum viable product. How can the two co-exist? Let’s take a look.

What Is Over-Delivering?

In a nutshell, over-delivering means giving the customer more than you promised. And no, I’m not talking about giving away 5 free PLR ebooks with every purchase. If the product itself doesn’t deliver then no amount of free bonus offers will make up for it.

For example, if you’re selling a shoddy, low-quality ebook that promises to show the reader how to lose 50 pounds in five days, then no amount of free bonus material is going to help if they only lose 10 pounds. You didn’t deliver on your promise and that’s all your customer is going to remember.

If, however, they follow your expert advice in your high-quality ebook and lose 75 or even 100 pounds in five days, then you have over-delivered and they’ll buy whatever you’re selling for the rest of their lives.

This concept applies to every facet of your online business. You should always deliver more than you promise in your blog post and article titles, deliver more than promised to your newsletter subscribers, and even deliver more than promised in the free guides or products you offer to new subscribers.

What is Minimum Viable Product?

While over-delivering addresses issues from a marketing standpoint, the term “minimum viable product” is relevant to the business decisions you have to make; more important, it breaks down to that timeless saying: Time Equals Money.

Sometimes we get so caught up in over-delivering that we shoot ourselves in the foot. We spend so much time creating this amazing product and then it doesn’t sell or, if it does sell, we’re not getting a decent return on the investment of time and resources it took to create that product.

Delivering a minimum viable product means knowing when to stop worrying about over-delivering and just release the darn product. Whether it’s an ebook or a piece of software or a handcrafted widget, you release only the bare minimum into the marketplace to determine just how much further you need to go.

For example, let’s say you design premium WordPress themes. There are about a jillion different bells and whistles you can add to a theme – multiple sidebars, widgets, customization options, SEO features, built in plug-ins and so on. But adding all of those features takes time which, in the end, equals money. Are all of those features necessary? Probably not.

Would you be over-delivering if you included all of them? That really depends on how much you plan to charge for your theme and how much the market will bear. You can charge $300 to recoup your investment, but if people aren’t willing to pay it then you’re not really making any money, are you? So it comes down to perceived value, which is a topic for another article.

Instead of working and working to over-deliver, deliver the minimum your customers will require at the price that nets you the best return on your investment of time and resources.

It would take you a lot of time to write an ebook that promises to deliver “Everything you wanted to know about the Top 100 Bloggers in the World.” And most people are going to look at it and say, “UGH! Who has time to read all that? No, thanks.” And even more important – you’re going to kill yourself trying to over-deliver what you promised in the title.

But if your book is titled, “Everything you wanted to know about the Top 10 Bloggers in the World” you’ve invested a lot less time and resources, you can easily add another blogger or two, or adding additional tips and advice, to “over-deliver”, and more people will be interested in paying whatever you charge for this book because it’s all they really need and they’ll actually have time to read it. As a bonus, you’ll get glowing reviews because this book is actually small enough that they can absorb the information and put it to use. You’ll be a star simply because you delivered the minimum viable product.

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  1. Steven Fuller

    Great advice, Stevie. I’m finding that delivering a small, well-defined, easily conceptualized product of large value works much better than trying to deliver a large, nebulous, diffuse, ill-defined product that the customer just can’t wrap his head around. Thank you for this reminder.

    1. You’re saying it perfectly, Steven. K.I.S.S.: Keep It Simple Stupid.

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