Awesome Ideas · Business Execution

I have my MVP ready and I have no idea how to take it to the customers, What should I do?

Bala Murugan Cofounder & CTO

April 18th, 2017

I have been working on product called Virtual Dressing Room. But I have not validated the idea properly. Now I built the MVP and wants to sell it to retailers. But I have no idea how to approach them and I have never done marketing before, so I have cold-emailing lot of people but no response from them. Please advise me what should I do to reach next level?

Sam McAfee Building Popup Incubators for Corporate Innovation Programs

April 18th, 2017

First, a critique. Then I'll help. I am sorry to tell you it's not an MVP. This term unfortunately is incredibly misused and misunderstood, it's almost not worth using anymore. The original intent of a "minimal viable product" from the Lean Startup book is a mechanism for learning about the viability of your business model. It's not just a down-scoped version of your product. It has to do with the INTENT of measuring some customer effect BEFORE you start building it. You can't just build a small product and then later call it an MVP.

Now, scolding aside, moving on. You have a thing. You haven't validated it. You're not alone. Many do this. First, get used to the fact that your product probably is the wrong thing and you will very likely have to change it significantly, if you're lucky, and scrap it and start over, if you're not.

Second, stop building your Virtual Dressing Room. I am sure it's lovely, but you need to validate your business model before you invest any more time in it. Create a Business Model Canvas or Lean Canvas around your business idea. When you've figured out who your customers are, go and approach them any way you possibly can. Ask them to validate their problems (not whether they like your product).

Cold calling and emailing is only effective for sales and marketing when you've already validated what they want. It's not great for customer discovery. You need to go to where they are and approach them. Doing your canvas will help you brainstorm who they are, where they are, and what problems they might have that you can talk to them about.

As Steve Blank says, "Get out of the building!"

Good luck!

David Austin Relentless problem solver and innovator.

April 18th, 2017

You have to convince them they win by merely interacting with you, regardless of the outcome.

What do you both want that you have in common, which you can immediately provide or facilitate? A fascinating report called "Study Results: Virtual dressing room payback for Retailers".

This report, not your app, is the bait. Try saying this: "I'm doing market research with a virtual dressing room app we developed, would you be interested in the results?"

"Yes? Could we test your customers with it?"

"No, what is the best way to send the report to you?"

Now you have a relationship and a point of contact that works.

Every company has a preferred mechanism for communication THAT WORKS (email is never it). Use it. If it's by phone (which it generally is)... it may take 7 phone calls before you're talking to the right person. Interference is part of the game ... If you're worth it you'll find your way through ... At least that's the theory. Many assistants consider it a badge of honor to be able to derail as many incoming requests as possible ... And it's their job on the line if they don't.

Fyi .. Retailers don't care how much money it brings it if they have to do nonretail stuff to make it happen. They do retail. Period. You need to provide all the expertise and manpower to make your solution work or they won't give you the time of day. That's retail.


April 18th, 2017

Please get in touch. I could help with validation.