“If you’re not embarrassed by your first product release, you’ve released it too late. Why? Because your assumptions about what your users want are never exactly right. You need to test a real product, with real customers as soon as possible – basically the moment you have a bare-bones version. It’s the fastest way to build something users can’t resist.” – Reid Hoffman, Co-Founder & Executive Chairman, LinkedIn.
In this LinkedIn Pulse article by Richard Branson, Branson discusses his views on a webcast by LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman. The discussion is essentially on the lean start-up approach to starting a business or releasing a new product. By getting the first version of your product out into the market as soon as possible, you can gain valuable feedback on how to improve the product and any issues which need to be addressed. You can also save a lot of time and money on research and development.
Although this method may not work for every business, such as Bransons Air and Space travel companies, it should definitely be considered by all businesses.
A good example of the lean start-up approach is the story of shoe retailer Zappos.
Zappos founder Nick Swinmurn wanted to test the hypothesis that customers were ready and willing to buy shoes online. Instead of building a website and a large database of footwear, Swinmurn approached local shoe stores, took pictures of their inventory, posted the pictures online, bought the shoes from the stores at full price after he’d made a sale, and then shipped them directly to customers. Swinmurn found that customer demand was present, and Zappos went on to become a billion dollar business based on the model of selling shoes online.
To read the full LinkedIn Pulse article by Richard Branson click here.