The Smart Step To Make When You Do Not Know What To Sell Yet



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  • Steve Blank ( has an excellent blog on startups. He emphasises the ability to ‘pivot’ (a.k.a. learn and change your mind as you grow).

    About the MVP. I think what you are saying Yaro is that the MVP is not (necessarily) a stripped down version of your product. It is a way to test the market you are interested in. It does not need to be a stripped down version of what you plan to sell. It just needs to be something to test the market you want to be in.

  • Oh yes “Pivot” is one of the other new catchphrases from the world of Lean, and an important one.

    Regarding the MVP – yes that is true, your MVP might be just an assumption you want to test, although it will relate back to the product (for example one function of a software tool you plan to build).

    To clarify, the email newsletter is the channel you use to test the MVP, it’s technically not the MVP itself. With my chocolate example whatever chocolate product offer I choose to make is my MVP, while my newsletter is how I ask you if you want it.

    One way you can look at the email newsletter is as part of the MVP development process. You might not be sure exactly what even an MVP is yet, but you know one thing – you will need a channel to communicate with people once you have that MVP.

    Why not make your email newsletter the first step today towards the MVP. It will make your life a whole lot easier when the MVP is ready to go.


  • Rick Resch

    There is a rising demand for chocolate in the world. The price of it is going up, especially for dark chocolate from my understanding, since it takes more beans to produce it. I heard this from the news. I wanted to make an app for chocolate lovers and checked on Apple apps to see if there was some that already existed. There is some already. My idea is not clear, but I think you are onto something.
    I am a chocolate lover too, especially dark chocolate since it is more healthier than milk chocolate and I like the taste.
    What does “MVP” stand for?


    • Hi Rick,

      Have a read of the newsletter above and it should be pretty clear what MVP stands for 🙂


  • Rick Resch

    I checked out the newsletter again and MVP stands for “Minimum Viable Product.” I’m sorry I asked an obvious question. I didn’t read it good enough to pick that up.
    Good luck with your chocolate business. I wish you well.


  • Yea, it is a great idea to have a list and some sort of giveaway, even if that gets you between one and ten subscribers a day. The relationships that start this way can be really beneficial to the subscribers, you – the entrepreneur, and even if people who haven’t been it touch with you before.
    Loved this and the post about Toyota (and some Japanese companies) used it to dominate markets – think you published this 1 – 3 months ago Yaro.

  • Hi Yaro,

    Brilliant post!

    I learnt the same thing in business school about minimum viable products and Lean concept and couldn’t agree more.

    Just never realized how I could apply it in my own business. 🙂

    Great stuff!

    • Hi Erik,

      You are welcome – it’s good to hear business schools are keeping up with the trends!


  • Leah

    Hello I enjoyed this article. I am recently getting into the world of blogging and growing a real interest in an online business of some sort. I find it very overwhelming trying to find a niche and trying to sort out the TON of information that is out there between marketing ideas, and just blogging in general. Finding niches I am not sure what my niche is I just know that I want to work for myself and in my home with a computer. I have so many ideas and interest that I find it so hard to focus on one area. Would you have any more advice on this? Any insight that you can share further is much appreciated.

    • Hi Leah, I suggest you click the “How To Start” link at the top of this page and through the sections on choosing a topic. That should give you some direction. In the end though you won’t really know until you start testing something.

      Good luck!


  • I think an MVP may work for software or services but not quite for a physical product, especially when it’s a commodity. Not all concepts transfer well between industries.

    For commodities, branding makes a huge difference. And when you come into the industry with a cheap crappy version to poll the market, it’s almost impossible to rebrand yourself into the luxury segment. For such markets, the catch phrase is “you only have one chance to make a first impression”.

    I’ve realized this is also true for music, which is my “business”. I can create a good song but still need to work on the execution. It’s a bad idea to release the song and get some comments on the song itself because 99% of the people cannot distinguish song quality from sound quality and will dismiss the song because it doesn’t move them. I’ll get a response from that other 1%, which are musicians or songwriters like myself. And later, when I get a full version out of that same song, people may still remember that first crappy version and still not be moved.

    As an employee I’m in the software business and yes, agile and lean are the ways to go, but even there you need to be careful about things like architecture, design, scalability. You need some good foundational work before you get your MVP out.

    In niches where the target audience is willing to accept first versions, knowing there will be more and better later, you can go much sooner. When you are solving a problem that hasn’t been solved before, people will put up with the deficiencies.

    I’m quite sure that one needs to understand their market first and then decide how far to stretch the lean principle.

    • You raise some points I have thought about myself Knotwilg. I feel the same about products that require a level of quality before you can decide whether they work. For example a luxury car. You can’t “lean test” the a luxury feature until it’s developed to at least a certain standard.

      I like the concept as a whole though because like the theory of constraints, it helps you to “think smaller” when it comes to problem solving, which makes testing easier.


  • Barbara Fitchitt

    I am so glad to have found EJ ! I know you meant it for a BIG audience, but it felt like it was just for me – I think that’s got to be the winning formula for a blog, and now I’m inspired to start mine, thank you.

  • As for the Chocaholic….I know why you love the dark chocolate…like me….it is good for you so you think you can eat more….lolol….

  • Ephi

    so I have no experience whatsoever with newsletters and so I’m wondering can you set up the newsletter and simply share articles from the Web on topics that would be relevant to your potential product that would appeal to the market you are going after? Some Facebook pages do this sort of thing. They share links of articles from other sites which are not written by them. For example if my product is something to do with groceries could I set up a newsletter where I share articles like “10 tips before stepping into the grocery store” from a website. Especially if you don’t know how you’d be able to engage and keep your audiences attention if you’re not a good writer or not an expert per say.

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