4 mins read

MVP isn't always the answer

Managing Director

Managing Director
Adam, the Managing Director of Rawnet, boasts a robust career entrenched in the digital realm. From the onset, he immersed himself in the digital business landscape, concurrently steering and founding three distinct internet startups in his early career, all of which evolved into multi-million-turnover triumphs, spanning both B2B and B2C spheres. More importantly however, this invaluable experience equips Adam with a profound understanding of strategic and commercial nuances, a potent asset he now channels into the projects spearheaded by Rawnet. His dynamic trajectory, punctuated by entrepreneurial successes, positions him as a visionary leader steering Rawnet towards innovation and excellence in the ever-evolving digital landscape. Under Adam’s astute guidance, Rawnet continues to thrive as a trailblazing digital agency, poised to reshape the industry’s landscape.

Strategic Planning for the New Year Ahead.

As we head into a New Year, my thoughts always turn to what direction I want to take the business, what can I proactively push and pull to control where I want us to head rather than just allow the external forces of the market to have a total monopoly on the evolution of our direction and proposition. 

I mean, it’s great to adapt and change based on what the market wants, but that doesn’t create an edge. That creates a generic and rounded business model that suits the average business, averagely well. I’ve always tried to maintain a healthy mix of listening to external market needs but also relying on intuition on what I think could really make a difference to our clients as well as us as a business.

The more I read on LinkedIn, the more I struggle with the chasm between what seems to get likes and traction vs what I know through learned experience to be true. A thought that’s been bubbling for a while now, I’ve decided to finally let out and use it as a guide to cement our position as a consultative agency suited to a new future. 

Let’s backtrack on the MVP mindset

All industries, as a whole, have over-corrected towards what we hail to be the silver bullet of the ‘MVP’ (Minimal Viable Product) mindset.

Bold huh? Who in their right mind doesn’t love an MVP?

Before I spectacularly end my career with insane statements, please allow me to give some background into my thinking. And explain why I think the industry as a whole has swung too far in this direction and why the world could benefit from a slight correction in this regard. As I said, market forces still push it, but I don’t want to be a generic ‘fits-all’ agency the same as everyone else.

So let’s look back at why the promise of MVP gained so much traction. Before we entered the new ‘innovation age’ of today, software and IT teams, who were probably used to writing and creating big behemoths of systems, needed a way to get to market quickly and test ideas. The definition of MVP is widely accepted as “A new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.”

So what happened? Everyone went nuts about MVPs, getting to the market fast, failing fast, learning fast, coding fast, designing fast, and releasing fast...

Suddenly, ‘least effort’ became a strategy.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for not wasting time and budget, validating ideas and testing features, but have we seen a decrease in the number of startups that go bust because we’ve found a great new way to test and innovate? No. No, we haven’t.

Research reaps reward

Call me old school, but I’m still a massive fan of doing things properly. Taking the time to research the audience, their pains and gains, speaking to as many people as possible, and having a sensible and lengthy discussion over what features to do but do well. Taking the time to think about all customer journey types, their behaviours and motivations. Unleashing creative passion, creating a brand that you can ‘feel’. Agonising over the proposition, addressing a problem, owning a segment, creating waves and gaining attention.

All of this is undervalued, or in some cases, skipped entirely,  under the false promise that it’s better to get something average out there, fast. 

But an MVP mindset never gives anything a proper chance. We almost invite failure. We’re so keen to test an idea we don’t think it through. We’re so keen to get to market we fail to create anything of real value. What difference does a day, a week, or a month make, really? Do we overcompensate for a timely advantage over an innovative one? Is time to market and cutting costs more important to success than proper quality and true innovation? Cost is only a risk if you have no faith in the idea.

I’ve seen this play out enough times to be confident this is a better approach. I’ve seen products rushed and stagnate. And on the flip side, I’ve witnessed value in upfront research and painstaking discovery that result in beautiful products that thrive.

I’ve also seen products undergo extensive research and be pulled before even a line of code is written. Validation can be achieved at desk research level, so if cost risk is a factor, invest in foundational research, not in creating something quick and substandard.

The future of Rawnet

So this is how I’m shaping Rawnet for 2023. We’re investing more in creative strategy, in business analysis, in customer research. Our two latest projects we’ve won as a business have decent “Discovery” budgets to ensure we get it right and make a dent in the sector in what we eventually build. Both clients understand there are no second chances, and avoiding the ‘test and see’ approach rather than being bold and creating something amazing is a shared vision.

We want to attract clients that also value the same. Those who share our belief that to create the best chance of success, you have to give something the best chance of success. You have to breathe life and soul into a project from passionate people, not smash it out the door to ‘test what works’. How many great potential businesses didn’t pass the ‘validation test’ because of a fail fast, learn quickly approach? 

Rawnet has spun out three homegrown businesses since its inception. All three are now multi-million-pound businesses in their own right. There are easily 20+ or so client businesses and products that have soared to success in a variety of sectors which we can claim to be a valuable part of. So if 90% of new businesses fail, this hit rate can’t be ignored.

It’s because each one was born out of passion, proper research, clarity around the brand, and flawless technical and creative execution. We ensured v1.0 had the best chance of succeeding, and they did. Had we rushed something out in a few weeks, yes, we would have launched quicker, but we wouldn't have excited anyone, we wouldn’t have come up with anything revolutionary or meaningful, and we would have probably killed the venture before it was given a chance.

So yes, in a world where everyone is saying de-risk everything, experiment if you aren’t sure, we’re saying focus more on having faith in your idea - have the vision to create sector envy from day one. If you don’t believe or have faith in your idea, it’s best not to do it at all, then to ‘fail fast’. It creates a safety net. It gives an easy escape as a failure somehow becomes an acceptable part of the process. Scrap that, and have the mindset of creating something amazing. Give it your all, and make that edge. 

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