Minimum Viable Business

I’ve put my own company back on track. It took some doing, and some stubborn optimism. And I’ve started advising other startups, too. All of it is pretty great. I’ve had fun with it.

But, I’ve noticed something. A lot of companies create complexity in lieu of simplicity. They have some idea that the future may require that they have this giant workflow with a lot of tagging, a lot of automation and a lot of work.

But they don’t have the “bones” built to automate.

I was thinking about the things every business needs:

  1. Values: You have to know what you stand for and what you’ll never do.
  2. An Offer: I will do for $, by . It’s that simple.
  3. A Contract You’ll have to have an agreement to sign.
  4. A Payment Processor For both recurring payments and one offs. Make it stupid simple to do business.
  5. An Onboarding Process: What happens? What happens when something is confusing? How do we fix it?
  6. A Support System What do we do when people (inevitably) ask for and need help? Where do we go for that?
  7. A Delivery Process What do we do when our work Is “done.”

This should be done well manually, at first. Then it can be addressed with automation.

These are just a few. There are some obvious ones, too: people to run it, customers to buy, an email solution, etc. I tried to generalize. Even a hotdog stand (or lemonade stand) has these needs. The goal is to simplify the friction in every area.

If you don’t have this, the first order things done as frictionlessly as possible, you don’t have a lot of business doing other things.

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Christopher Johnson

Christopher Johnson is writing this blog. He's a startup veteran, having built a company called Simplifilm. This blog is about things that he's starting to - but may not actually - think yet. It publishes irregularly.

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