When everyone’s talking about MVPs, how do we define our critical path for success? What is the bare minimum we can make an impact with?
Well, if you were ask me whether you can start a business in three hours of three months, I would tell you both are achievable.
The real question isn’t about achievability, it’s about quality.
Registering a business name, a domain, setting up an email account and going to market is the easy part — but it should rarely come first. It should sit in the second half of your overall launch program.
So yes, in a matter of hours you can establish a business. But business success comes from a focus first on articulating your goals, your value-adds, your brand personality, and interacting with both internal and external stakeholders for a collaborative and co-defined outcome.
This is a committed process; it’s not just bashing out a ‘go to market’ solution, but rather curating a ‘meet the market’ solution.
If you utilise a human-centred design process, you’ll consider the 4 C’s of any company:
Caretakers — they are the brand custodians, and are usually the management and marketing team. They set goals and manage the direction and development of marketing initiatives.
Candidates — they can be considered both current team members and future candidates, as your activities and internal comms will most likely appeal to both groups. These are your tribe, the people that get the work done and who are your brand advocates.
Clients/Consumers — They are your main focus. Whether you’re a B2B or a B2C business, clients and consumers are the centre of your universe. They are the people you are trying to reach, trying to compel, and hopefully trying to help. These should be considered when designing any communications as they are your brand’s target audience.
Consultants — They are also a prospective brand advocate, or at the very least are a referrer. The broader you cast positive relationships, the further your brand will reach, not to mention you’ll get to work with better and more talented providers over time.
The first part of brand discovery should begin with talking to your internal decision-makers (your caretakers) to set aspirational goals and measurable objectives.
After this interview prospects and team members, which is the most effective path to defining your marketing and communications directives. Designing with the end-user in mind can even include your client’s clients — yes, you should delve that deep!
Once this data has been extrapolated, begin building out key call-to-actions, marketing initiatives and preparing to publish on relevant communications channels anywhere on the spectrum from press to social media.
Remember that the process of discovery is imperative for idea generation, which is a creative endeavour. Like most creative conquests, it requires time to breathe and grow into compelling representations of narrative.
Your brand narrative will be the story of your company; why it exists and how it makes people’s lives better. Without it, you are communicating an abridged version of the ‘what’, without the emotionally engaging prospects with an explanation of the ‘why’ people should act upon your call.
When you undertake this initial stage of investigation, you are more likely to nail your overall brand message and minimise confusion surrounding the benefits of your product and/or services.
Visual branding, websites and so on should be the second half of your overall preparation process, not the first. Doing is sometimes the easier path, planning the more difficult, but planning ensures you are on a path to success, rather than failure.
Often the sophisticated and seemingly simple solutions have been developed via a complex and thorough process. Don’t underestimate how important it is to lay the foundations before you build up.