The seed contains the plant: four lessons for start-ups which want to grow

Last week’s blogpost addressed the topic of growth and development. It concluded with a flower in bud, waiting to bloom. This week I have been reminded that my business proposition, like those of my potential, future clients, is still in its infancy, or in the start-up stage called MVP, as are those of many of my potential clients. The analogy of the dandelion seed being blown by the wind fits my experience and it might be valuable for you to keep this image in mind while you’re developing your new business.

LESSON 1: Don’t underestimate what you might learn during your MVP stage
In Lean Start up, Eric Reiss defines MVP as: “The Minimal Viable Product is that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort”. In other words, the MVP is about gathering learning using the least amount of time and money.

LESSON 2: Always remain alert for opportunities
This this week I showed my website, albeit without its planned developments, to a couple of new contacts who I’ve met, thanks to local networking. They were very enthusiastic and were able to use their business experience to spot potential opportunities which might be mutually beneficial for us. This was not what I had anticipated from our meeting, and I began to feel like a dandelion seed being blown by the wind, which has taken my embryonic idea to a place which I did not foresee, thanks to the chance encounter. But, like the seed, this conversation was only a new beginning with nothing to show yet. Instead, I have additional momentum for driving my business idea forward, a timetable to meet, and a clear objective in mind. This encounter has revealed the possibility of a new segment for me to consider which will sit comfortably alongside my existing, core proposition and target group. It has raised the possibility that I may be able to grow by developing a strategic partnership with a third party. The dandelion seed, once it’s been blown, must settle on the soil and wait for the correct conditions to prevail prior to germination. Like last week’s flower bud, there is now the need to allow for time and favourable conditions.

LESSON 3: Be prepared to adapt
Eric Reiss explains that after you’ve discovered what your customers want during the MVP stage, you can then begin production. You will need to build a prototype, test it, and refine it. As you identify the true needs of your customers, you are likely to need to alter your product or service to acknowledge your customers’ requirements. This will be particularly relevant if, like me, your early research reveals a new potential segment

LESSON 4: hold onto your vision, but be prepared to adapt when necessary
Much has been written in marketing theory about the difference between strategy and tactics. In an ideal world, your objective will remain unchanged. The strategy which you have identified for yourself should be maintained consistently, but the methods which you choose to implement it, your tactics, can change as you nimbly respond to the prevailing conditions and opportunities. Hence, it can be very appropriate to pursue an unexpected route, as I plan to do, in the coming months.

If you have the germ of a new business idea which you would like to develop with the assistance of a marketing professional who believes in “thrifty marketing” please consider booking an appointment at my next marketing clinic from £15  Or drop me an email [email protected] for more free advice