You may have heard of the concept of MVP or Minimum Viable Product, which, as defined by Wikipedia, is “…a strategy used for fast and quantitative market testing of a product or product feature…that has just those features that allow the product to be deployed, and no more.”
Well, I’ve tweaked the term to apply to not just to a product but to a whole business…so a Minimum Viable Business is, by a similar definition, “a strategy used for fast testing of a business model…that has just those features that allow the business to be deployed, and no more.”
It’s this kind of business – a Minimum Viable Business – which the corporate escapee, those threatened-with-redundancy, or the I-can’t-take-this-job/life-anymore employee can deploy to escape a situation they can no longer bear and make their first inroads into becoming a self-employed business owner.
Let’s be clear though…this isn’t necessarily a “business for life” type business, nor a business built around a passion – this is a “get something up and running and some income coming in, so I can get the hell out of here” type business (although it doesn’t have to be and they are not mutually exclusive).
A few characteristics I would consider essential for building an MVB with the minimum amount of fuss, in the least amount of time include:
- It leverages a skill or knowledge you already have.
- It serves an audience/group of people you already have some influence over, standing with or a connection to.
- It will generate just enough profit for you to live off; even better if you come out with more but that’s why it’s called a “minimum” viable business, it’s the minimum you need to survive – no more, no less.
- It doesn’t require anywhere near full time hours to set up, market and run, since you may well be doing this alongside other commitments to begin with.
In essence, it’s the fastest way for you to earn an income, under your own steam, using what you already know and assets you already have.
If you had to build your Minimum Viable Business tomorrow, what would you build?