I've been thinking about an interesting intersection between concepts in coaching and innovation. It might prove helpful to get you started on any tasks or projects that you have.
In my first blog post I mentioned the MVP – Minimum Viable Product. This is a term I first heard out in Silicon Valley. At its core, the MVP is about getting something out in the hands of potential customers as quickly as possible. There are a few thoughts behind this. First, you want to find out if customers actually want what you are selling – and to figure that out before you invest too much time and money into it. Second, you want to find out how customers actually use your product or service and what qualities they focus on. It may be that something you (as the creator/seller) think is unimportant is actually the feature of greatest interest to customers. Third,it gives you a chance to upgrade the product or service as you get feedback. And finally, getting some revenue flowing in is a great way to not only get momentum, but in some cases to fund future growth.
MVP is a way to focus on what is most important. Starting a coaching business is an example. I could spend a lot of time and money on business cards, a great website, marketing materials, or other important things. Instead, I am focusing my time on providing actual coaching and writing about things in this blog. That does not mean the other stuff is unimportant – watch for my new website soon – but ultimately a coaching business needs to be about coaching. I know some really smart people who spent months developing a great marketing video for a smart phone app they created – but never actually tested out the service the app was meant to deliver. By the time they got ready to launch, they realized there was no market for their service. Getting an MVP out quickly would have saved them a lot of money.
The MVP is about getting to good enough and getting that out into the world. Once it is out in the world, then you can focus on making it better. Of course, MVP is also a way to get to failure quickly. In Silicon Valley, failure is part of the culture. You try, you fail, and then you pick yourself up and try again. Think of it like learning to ride a bike.
“If you aren’t embarrassed by the first version of your product, you shipped too late.” Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn
Now in coaching, good enough has a different focus. What often holds people back from even attempting things they want to do is the fear that they are not good enough. This can stem from events in our past or be based on what we see from others. The rise of social media like Facebook has made things worse. Facebook is where people post the best things about themselves, rarely letting anyone take a peek behind the curtain. This can make people hold back – never writing that song or book, painting that picture, or creating that business. You could end up being criticized or even failing in front of a lot of people – all those high school and college friends and their friends too. You could of course also be wildly successful in front of and even because of those same people.
Let’s be clear – you might fail. You might write a book that no one wants to read – or wish they never read. You might start a business that fails or just limps along. But . . . how will you know if you don’t try? And if you do fail – can’t you learn something and get better? Isn’t that what life is all about?
Think of an area where you are successful or where people have responded favorably to your ideas or hard work. If you have done even one thing well one time, you can replicate that. You are only here today because your ancestors and their ancestors and their ancestors overcame lots of incredible difficulties. There are mostly reasons why you should not even exist – so it is amazing that you are actually alive. Don’t waste your opportunities because you are worried that you are not good enough. The only way to get better is to practice, to try, and to learn. Decide what your Minimum Viable Product is and get it out into the world.
If you are struggling with feeling good enough or with having too many things to do, I still have a couple of slots available for complimentary coaching sessions. I also have created a special “Friends and Family” package of coaching sessions at a ridiculously low price. Just drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can set up a free session.
Now go make it happen,
PS -- All of the art I feature at the top of my blogs is from my talented wife Molly Susan Strong -- you can check out some of her stuff at https://www.facebook.com/Molly-Susan-Strong-84225180996/