The Minimum Viable Audience In A Nutshell

The minimum viable audience (MVA) represents the smallest possible audience that can sustain your business as you get it started from a microniche (the smallest subset of a market). The main aspect of the MVA is to zoom into existing markets to find those people which needs are unmet by existing players.

Inside the Minimum Viable Audience

The entrepreneur looking into the concept of Minimum Viable Audience, will be more like an artist. As Seth Godin defined it:

The smallest group that could possibly sustain you in your work…

Seth Godin also further explains:

If you could pick them and needed to delight them because you had no one else available, would your product or service improve? If you had no choice but to ignore the naysayers (they’re not in the group) or the people who don’t think they need you or your work, would that force you to stop compromising and start excelling?

A simple case study to find your Minimum Viable Audience

Let’s apply this concept back to the entrepreneurial world, and let’s search for our MVA.

As a simple example, imagine the case you’re staring a bookstore online. None would find that interesting. At least not today. This idea was already proved commercially viable by Amazon, at the and of the 1990s. 

Therefore, you will need to zoom into the publishing industry and curve out your own niche first. 

For that, the major gatekeeper in the publishing industry can help you out. You can use Amazon search engine to identify your own category. This is only the first step. 

To make the exercise of finding your micro-category viable you need to drill down at least three times to what you might think is a viable audience. 

Drilling down at least three times

Thus, if you start from fiction, this is the process:

  1. Within the several possible categories, pick yours. What about starting from fiction? 
  2. Within fiction you will look for a specific sub-category, perhaps historic fiction.
  3. Within historic fiction, you will look for another specific sub-category, what about historic fiction, focused on Renaissance? 

Now you found your microniche. What about building up the best website/blog about Renaissance Historic Fiction? 

How do you know there is a viable audience for that? 

One simple way, perhaps, is to look at the volume of search in that category, especially for the most known authors (you might be surprised to find out there are micro-stars also within that microniche).

For instance, Johanna Lindsey is a great example of an author that has an incredible engaged following in a microniche. This is an example of how you kick things off and find your Minimum Viable Audience. 


Key takeaways

  • In today’s gatekeeping era, there are many approaches to enter the business world. One way is through the Minimum Viable Audience.
  • With the Minimum Viable Audience, rather than try to do something for everyone, we’ll try to build something exceptional for a small group of people, which needs are unmet by the current market.
  • Contrary to what happens in other markets, finding your Minimum Viable Audience means having a group of people that are willing to sustain and preserve your business as this adds so much value to them.

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