Get leaner. Don’t waste your time on MVP to validate your idea.

So you have an idea? Great. Many people are going to tell you to quickly come up with a prototype or an MVP and validate the acceptance of the idea. You start working on it and a month goes by for your MVP to shape up. Awesome.

What if I tell you that you can start validating your idea the very day the idea strikes you? **Have you heard of Dropbox getting famous without any servers but just with a video? **Well, with my experience I can say that there are many cases when you can confirm your idea without the MVP itself. Hers’s how I did it.

Motorpsychos, is a motorcycle renting service in Pune, India. When this idea struck me, there was a dire need of such service in Pune.

The most deceiving thing about any business idea is that — they all sound great.

Then I made a move, which turned out to be a smart one. Instead of going with the MVP and buying a second-hand motorcycle to see how many users are actually renting, I did something else. It took me one day to create a quick website with a contact-us page. I uploaded information about the service on few blogs. I registered myself on Justdial, Yellow Pages as Motorcycle renting agency. I didn’t procure any vehicle.

I just wanted to see if anyone would respond to Motorpsychos. To my surprise, on the very 2nd day, I got my first call. But then for a week nothing happened (I am guessing the 2nd day call was from a competitor). Suddenly, after one week I started getting 10 to 11 calls a day requesting for motorcycles on rent.

The point is, if people need something they will find you out. You just have to be easily available.

Way to go. Demand and Market was validated. But I still had doubts like what motorcycles to buy? How much the rent should be? Here are the 5 smart things that I learnt without an MVP.

  1. I didn’t have any bike to cater. So when people asked for it, rather than telling that we don’t have bikes available, I would say “Sorry, we are overbooked and have wait listed you.” This gave them a feeling that we are doing good and are trusted by others who are renting from me.
  2. I also got an idea on what motorcycles they are interested in renting. If they would ask for a 150 cc vehicle, I would say “it’s not available but I can check the availability of 200 cc and call you back if you are interested” just to see if they are okay with that. This helped me immensely in the decision making while procuring vehicles.
  3. Before starting the business, I got a fair idea on how much the customer is willing to pay as rent. This gave me a good heads up with regards to my turn over before I procured a single bike.
  4. I got an idea on what segments of people to target. All the while I was guessing the college goers will be my major target audience. But to my surprise, there were many working girls too calling for 2 wheelers. I was able to concentrate and focus on my marketing in a better way.
  5. Motorpsychos was already a brand before the business started. This approach wouldn’t have been successful if I had not been extra nice and extra polite to the users who called. I was treating them personally. I followed up with them even if I couldn’t rent them a vehicle, saying “Sorry, you were wait-listed but there were no cancellations, etc.”

Having MVP is great, but not always necessary. Remember, the customers always want the moon if you ask them before starting a business. But most of the time, they just want someone to make them feel special and then they will buy whatever you sell.

Mitesh Bulsara

Serial Entrepreneur and Coach