Key to minimum viable product - your value proposition. It is about more than iterating your product on customer feedback. It is very much the big idea you'd use to guide your grand vision and ambitious long-term plan.
Because in new (ambitious) markets there are few or no other products that users can compare you to. It's simply too early for users to understand how you are different. Hence, your value proposition should communicate a vision for what could be.
Importantly, your 'maximum' value proposition is not finite. The best value propositions dare to be incomplete. They leave room for imagination. They focus on the bigger picture; problem, purpose, passion, love.
Still, your value proposition brief is probably the earliest and minimum-ist viable product you'd develop as a lean startup.
Ranging from an one-liner to a couple of paragraphs, it is the messaging you attach to whatever medium—it be an email, a news article, a website, a poster, a Google ad—that serves your minimum viable product strategy (that version of your product which allows for maximum amount of validated learning with the least effort).
Here are three steps to get you going on your maximum value proposition.
1. Understand the job your customer want's to get done
HBS-professor Clayton Christensen argues that a successful customer value proposition begins with genuinely understanding the customer's jobs-to-be-done -- the higher purpose for which customers buy your product. Out of the functional, social, and emotional types of jobs, the latter might be the most powerful one. Inform your user research accordingly.
2. Start With Why
Simon Sinek developed his very own movement by teaching us how to create movements through inspiration. His key argument is, “people don’t buy what you do; people buy why you do it.” When starting at your value proposition copy, start with why.
3. Create a sentimental bond
Don Draper of Mad Men famously said; "Technology is a glittering lure. But there is the rare occasion when the public can be engaged on a level beyond flash, if they have a sentimental bond with the product." In delivering your pitch, have the courage to touch upon feelings.
What these steps have in common is, they want you to tell a story that emotionally connects with your audience. You'd want to know who your audience really are, and what moves them. You'd want the story to be about them, not about you.
And the minimal viable product is here to help you learn. Because, early on, you don't know what your customers want. Even your customers might not know what they want.
Whether on website copy, advertisements, slide decks or in good old fashioned elevator pitches, remember, minimum viable product is not just about the product. It is an approach to finding product-market fit. For that you'd want a value proposition for what could be - a reason to exist.
Make sure to check out the 7 proven templates and examples for writing value propositions
This is an edited version of a post originally posted at http://torgronsund.com/, by Tor Gronsund, Founder, Lingo Labs. Entrepreneurship lecturer, the University of Oslo and BI Norwegian Business School. Say hello at @tor. You are free to re-edit and repost this in your own blog or other use under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License terms, by giving credit with a link to www.startupcommons.org and the original post.
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