Smallest viable market – the idea of building a specific product for a specific (small) audience, while resisting the temptation of going for the mass market.
Everyone want to reach as many people as possible – to have as many impact as possible, and become the next Unicorn.
Serving The Mass is a Bad Idea
When we aim for the mass market:
We compromise and diverted from our original idea.
We made changes to the product so that it can fits everyone.
We end up becoming mediocre, and just another “Me Too” product.
It’s tempting to follow the path of big brands like Apple, or Nike that leads to global reach-out, and making tons of money in the process.
It’s tempting to become the next Amazon, and sell everything under one roof.
But it’s far more reasonable to focus on the smallest viable audience – trying to serve everyone often end up serving no one.
Focus on the Smallest Viable Market
When we focus on serving the smallest viable market, we force ourselves to build a better product, a better service, a better marketing
Not better for everyone, but better for that specific audience we want to serve.
This is hard.
Serving smallest viable market requires us to think hard about who we want to serve, and who we should leave behind.
Serving smallest viable market requires us to start understand how our audience think, what is their wants & needs, and be empathy with what’s going through their mind.
Serving smallest viable market requires us to build our product around the audience we want to serve, and not the product we want to build.
It’s not an easy decision.
After all, being rejected by smallest viable audience hurts.
But, at the same time, it also tells us “We’re not good enough, and still have many rooms to improve”.
All we need to do is go back to the drawing board, and start again.
The best part in serving smallest viable market is – you get to fail fast and learn faster.
Each failure gets you closer to learning what you smallest viable audience really need, as well as the product your audience really want.
When we serve the smallest viable market well, they spread the word.
As good word reached every corner of the market, more people will join in, and your influence grows.
That is how we “cross the chasm” of early adopters into the mass market.