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Export – Should We Fail Fast, Fail Cheap?

When Eric Ries coined the term “Minimum Viable Product” for the first time he described it as:

“A Minimum Viable Product is that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.”

In the world of programming it would mean doing the very least possible while bringing something of interest (added value) to an end user.

The philosophy is integral to the silicon valley strategy of “Fail Fast, Fail Cheap”.

It is a strategy which moves from the traditional mindset in which people try to have a product or service that is “ready” before unveiling it to the world – but then you discover the flaws – oh so many, many flaws – and of course you have already committed so much time and money into what you thought the customer wanted that it’s now difficult to make the changes necessary.

The “Fail Fast, Fail Cheap” school of thought is that you should introduce a minimum product (or service)as quickly and cheaply as possible in order to gain feedback from a targeted group who should be open to your idea (in the world of technology they are called “early adopters”).

You can then take this feedback to either move on without having committed huge resources (fail fast) or change the product or service (based upon what customers want not what you think they want).

Could this same approach be applied to exporting?

What if we took an approach that allowed us to obtain feedback from a group in the potential export market with a profile that is close to that of customers in our home market (representing our “early adopters”).

The process would need to be fast and it would need to be cheap.

The feedback that we would receive would allow us to either fail fast (meaning we move on to other potential markets if the feedback is so negative or highlights matters that would be too expensive to overcome), or, if the feedback was positive it would allow us make specific changes that customers want in that market.

A new service has been launched which will deliver export market feedback from a customer profile you provide within three weeks at a cost of £199.

Perhaps our approach to exploring export markets has been wrong all along?

We just lacked a tool that would allow us to fail fast and cheap.

By reducing the time and cost of failure (in selecting the wrong export market) we take away the fear factor for many small business owners.

Every market we explore will not be a success but if the failures are so quick and cheap that they don’t slow us down then we can find winners.

To discover more visit

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2 Responses to Export – Should We Fail Fast, Fail Cheap?

  1. Jenny April 4, 2016 at 12:21 pm #

    Interesting concept once your sampling is a true reflection of the market opportunity (or lack there of).

    We have people coming to us to learn Chinese as they need to have internal boots on the ground from their own organisation to identify / explore opportunities. Whether they could have used your service is hard to know.


    • John Magee
      Johnmagee April 4, 2016 at 2:06 pm #

      Many thanks Jenny. I do see the service as a feeder to your company and others.

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