Minimum Viable Set-Up

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: getting started is more important than being ready.

In truth, if you think that concept sounds scary, that’s because it can be. A lot of us experience perfectionism to some degree, and so the concept of starting before we’re ‘ready’ can create a lot of apprehension. But, starting before we’re ready doesn’t mean we’re starting without preparation.

Let me elaborate…

When we considered whether we are ‘ready’ for something, we can unconsciously ask ourselves whether we ‘feel ready’ to start. As with any new venture, it is normal to feel stress, anxiety, or tension about taking on the new risk. So, when we ask whether we feel ready, the conservative voice in our mind will tell us: no, we’re not, this is scary! But this voice isn’t always honest, isn’t just trying to protect us from the perception of increased risk created by trying something new.

In comparison, by acknowledging the voice yet still choosing to start forces us to act – and that action drives a need for a minimum amount of preparation. So, if the minimum preparation to start is met, even if we don’t feel ready or have everything figured out, we can start before we are ‘ready’. For example, I couldn’t carry out a truck service without oil and filters, so by choosing to act on a truck service, I require the preparation of purchasing parts and oils.

So, how do we figure out what our minimum preparation is?

I came across this concept when listening to Grey McKeown’s book Essentialism, on Audible. It wasn’t an exclusively business-orientated book, but it covered the concept of ‘minimum viable effort’ to achieving any objective. So, when my business partner approached me saying he wanted to launch the business earlier than we planned for some additional ‘pocket money’ I was forced to ask: what do I really need to do launch this business?

P.S. The Business Model Canvas was used in conjunction to this question, so if you’re not sure what that is check out my previous article where I explain this document’s importance (click here to read about Business Models and Business Plans.)

I agreed to have the business ready within one fortnight – 14 days – after my business partner approached me, and my first thoughts orientated around:

  • What was mandatory (either via taxation or government laws)?
  • What was essential for our business?
  • What could wait (so that I could keep our business start-up expenses low)?

This is a basic example of what I came up with:

I was able to come up with these minimum requirement by starting at the aspect I knew best: doing the work. From there, I just visualised what steps I would need to carry out after I had completed the work, and what I needed to do before doing the work. This mind map is far from complete, and your business needs and available resources will be different. But, by considering what the bare minimum requirements are (for example: using a personal vehicle instead of the ideal company vehicle with awesome signwriting) allows you to be prepared to start before you’re ready. There is no shame in being in-the-process! I borrowed my dad’s car to get started, even though it has his business’s signwriting and only one accessible side of the ute bed (far from ideal!). But it was good enough to start!

If you struggle with visualising what minimum tasks you will need to carry out in your business, I recommend returning to your Business Model Canvas, getting on google and finding out what legal requirements or permits your business requires, and considering what software you need to invest in to ensure sufficient record keeping. It is likely you will overlook something throughout this process (for me, it was setting up a default super fund so that I can pay my employee’s super!), but the beauty of starting means that you can become aware of the gaps in your preparation and fill them, quickly, without waiting to start!

Feeling nervous prior to starting something new is extremely normal. Even after setting up the business and getting my business partner ready to work, when it came to working my first day in the business – I was terrified! It is healthy to feel nervous about something that is important to you. I documented my feelings before and after I carried out my first day of work, so that you can know you’re not alone in how you’re feeling – but not feeling ready should never hold you back from starting.

Before Day 1 in my business:

After Day 1 in my business:

Recommended further reading:

If you would like some further content regarding the concepts of ‘starting before you’re ready’ or ‘minimum viable set up’, I highly recommend these two books – both of which I listened to with Audible – which helped create the perspective that allowed me to start before I had everything figure out 100%.

Essentialism, by Greg McKeown

Winging It, by Emma Isaacs

If you’d rather watch this article, check out the link to my entire video here:

Thanks for reading! Make sure to leave a comment and let me know what point stood out to you the most.

I look forward to seeing you here again!

Disclaimer: I am not a business advisor and have not provided specific business advice as business is a diverse field full of unique contexts and situations. I will show you where I sourced information and how I made my decision, but it is up to you to determine whether you need professional advice for your business situation.

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