What’s a minimum viable audience (MVA) and why should you care about it?
It's the smallest group of people you can serve effectively and deliver a meaningful result to that audience and helps them solve a specific problem.
Starting with a minimum viable audience is one of the key secrets to building and growing a profitable business over the long term.
How's MVA different from a minimum viable product (MVP)?
MVA is focused on the person, not the product. Focusing on the person rather than the product is more likely to inspire generosity and empathy.
This "audience first" approach means you're more likely to create a product that delivers a better transformation to the audience in a way that's more meaningful to them (as compared to if you'd just focused on the product)
Here are a few reasons to focus on the smallest viable audience:
- It's a forcing mechanism to increase your focus on the few people you seek to serve. To deliver a meaningful impact that you can see for yourself and use as a motivator to continue contributing meaningfully.
- If you're reading this, then chances are you're a small business owner and have only one or maybe a handful of salespeople in your team. You don't have the time to reach everyone. If you are specific, you do have the ability to reach everyone ... in your target audience.
- If you have the smallest viable audience, chances are it's a close-knit community of people. This means they're likely to tell the others about your outstanding service and the word's likely to spread faster (small communities talk and news travels fast)
- You're in a better position to serve that audience with generosity and empathy (both of which offer you a significant competitive advantage because they're so rare)
When we hear the term "market share" we tend to think of the Amazons and the Microsofts of the world.
But you can control the market share in a small portion of the world. A specific community that you serve and serve well.
Generosity and empathy towards your MVA means:
- You'll build a better relationship with your audience and are more likely to earn their trust (rather than steal it)
- You'll be more likely to ship something useful (but not necessarily perfect) because the relationship you cultivate will likely create positive tension between you and your audience, which will drive you to solve their problem with a sense of urgency rather than getting trapped in perfectionism
- You'll be driven to continue iterating based on feedback from your audience to (eventually) create something much closer to perfection and you'll be much better off than if you'd agonized over getting it perfect before letting the market give you valuable feedback on what's working and what's not.
- If you're creating something for a minimum viable audience, you'll have the benefit of being nimble.
- Because you're serving a small audience, you'll have the advantage of delivering a very customized service which means they're more likely to tell their friends.
Bigger isn't always better.