If an MVP fails, teams are liable to give up hope and abandon the project altogether. But this is a solvable problem. The solution to this dilemma is a commitment to iteration. You have to commit to a locked-in agreement—ahead of time—that no matter what comes of testing the MVP, you will not give up hope. Successful entrepreneurs do not give up at the first sign of trouble, nor do they persevere the plane right into the ground. Instead, they possess a unique combination of perseverance and flexibility. The MVP is just the first step on a journey of learning. Down that road—after many iterations—you may learn that some element of your product or strategy is flawed and decide it is time to make a change, which I call a pivot, to a different method for achieving your vision.
At the beginning, a startup is little more than a model on a piece of paper. The financials in the business plan include projections of how many customers the company expects to attract, how much it will spend, and how much revenue and profit that will lead to. It’s an ideal that’s usually far from where the startup is in its early days.
A startup’s job is to (1) rigorously measure where it is right now, confronting the hard truths that assessment reveals, and then (2) devise experiments to learn how to move the real numbers closer to the ideal reflected in the business plan.
The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries