We built the product that we needed to generate revenue. In our case it was a robust booking engine for activity SMBs. Our revenue model is to act as a distributor for activity SMBs by connecting their inventory to sellers, mainly online travel agents and local hotel concierge desks. To eliminate the overhead associated with tour/activity distribution we needed the SMBs to adopt a software tool that would enable them to upload their inventory to our database but be useful enough for them to use on a daily basis, hence a booking engine that would allow them to accept bookings/reservations from their own website.
We did a very large amount of customer development with activity SMBs and built the product that they told us they would need in order for them to use it. Our software is robust and was built to be an 80% solution. Through cold calls, cold emails, referrals, and ‘trade shows’ we had about 70 SMBs create accounts within the first 60 days. 60 days later and half of those SMBs have used the service but not one of them are using it neither regularly or the way it was built to be used.
What I Learned:
-build a minimal prototype then iterate, iterate, iterate. Success will be measured through user adoption as a % week over week. In other words, how often they use it and for how long have they been an active user. More often and longer are the “up and to the right” signs we are looking for.
-this time around I’m asking myself, “What is the most bare-bones MVP that our target market will use everyday?”