You can optimise your business in small, simple steps.
Last week I wrote quite candidly about step change in technology; that once incredible steps forward can now seem less pronounced because our expectation of advancement has increased.
Today, I am going to attempt not to contradict myself by avidly incentivising growth through the laws of marginal improvement.
In business (and particularly applicable to tech startups), the acceptance of a minimum viable product (MVP) by your customer base is the first stage towards the goal of critical acclaim. But getting your product, software, innovative solution or any form of deliverable to an MVP stage is just the beginning.
Traditional models may suggest that the most fruitful path is that of major step change progression, usually supported by additional financial investment and the expansion to other areas of that business plan drawn up way before you had any hard and fast data on which to test in an ‘open loop’ (I’ll write more about loops another time). At this point I would strongly recommend reading Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed which delves much deeper than I can in 350 words.
But public acceptance doesn’t mean the hard work is done. Quite the opposite in fact as you shift goalposts from general validation of a business plan or product to true user adoption, revenue generation and a sustainable, thriving business.
Between now and the next milestone or objective in your business plan (which may have evolved quite radically), lies the opportunity for a larger number of small gains – tested, reworked and re-tested in an effort to achieve an optimum result. Instead of making potentially costly leaps, considered incremental improvements can make for a better product, a more involved and satisfied customer base and pave the way for success.
Of course, leaps of faith are necessary in the business world and can seem far more exciting. These are likely to be higher risk strategies – introducing new product features, service offerings or even entering an entirely new geography or market space. But for those like me, who relish the opportunity to evolve, test, apply feedback and repeat, the continual growth in the fabric of your business (even at 1% per task per day) is extremely rewarding indeed.
I’ll leave you with a challenge. Today, don’t aim for the stars and expect to reach them in the space of 24 hours. But make a small, marginal improvement in three aspects of your business. Do this every day for a month and just see how far you’ve come.