Minimum Viable Audience

Seth Godin:

“The solution is simple but counterintuitive: Stake out the smallest market you can imagine. The smallest market that can sustain you, the smallest market you can adequately serve. This goes against everything you learned in capitalism school, but in fact, it’s the simplest way to matter.”

“When you have your eyes firmly focused on the minimum viable audience (MVA), you will double down on all the changes you seek to make. Your quality, your story and your impact will all get better.”

MVA is certainly not a concept I heard of either during the MBA years or even thereafter. Yet it makes sense. Rather than being a small fish in a large pond….become the larger fish in a smaller pond.

In our business….there were many fishes and the market was very competitive….in some ways that was OK as it made one a better competitor.

In the MVA model…the .key is defining the smallest market that can sustain you. if that market exists….than that is foundation for business growth.

Lesson Learned

Do it right

The author of the following wrote this about a surprising experience with Amazon –

“Study what makes you great in the eyes of your customers. Scrutinize it, specialize in it, safeguard it. Protect it like it is the most important asset your business has. Understand that without that magic potion, your company becomes one among many, instead of the only possible choice. And even when you think you have a way to make it better, don’t do a thing to alter it, unless you are absolutely sure your customers agree.”

The lesson learned for any organization/business….look at the business from the outside in….how do your customers perceive the business. Most businesses get only one chance to create a positive customer experience. The best businesses are those that develop repeat customers…. after all they are the best customers.

Continental Motors

From 1951

The Nov. 1951 Air Force Association magazine had many aviation company ads….Lockheed, Martin, Convair, Bendix and one from Continental Motors, Muskegon. Continental being one of the major manufactures of that era.

During WW ll, Continental supplied aircraft, tank and numerous other engines to the military. It continued to manufacture aircraft engines (Red Seal) in Muskegon until that production was moved to Mobile, Alabama. in the 1960s.

While Continental Motors no longer exists, the large tank engine plant remains as part of L-3 Combat Propulsion Systems. 


Saturated Market

I have written in prior posts about our business competing in a saturated market.


I would like to think that we did a good job of competing in a 1960’s and 1970’s saturated market….though vastly different in 2017.

I’ve stated the following many times….and they still are the keys to success:

George Whalin: “Be the best. It’s the only market that’s not crowded.”

Jerry Garcia: “You do not merely want to be the best of the best. You want to be considered the only ones who do what you do.”

Companies that end up succeeding don’t care who their competition is–they will find a way to be successful.

Cross Lake Shipping

Marine Highway

Map from Muskegon, Michigan to Milwaukee, Wisconsin A new venture is planned which may be of great benefit:

While this cross lake concept may seem new, it really isn’t. For many years the Grand Trunk Rail Road provided something similar with their rail car ferries from Muskegon to Milwaukee.

These car ferries operated year round….though often in a severe winter getting stuck in Lake Michigan ice. They were eventually eliminated when truck transportation became more efficient.

Now it seems it’s back to car (truck) ferries across the lake. Often in the past….some of these projects were good ideas….but never became operational. Such as: 

“The first crossing is planned for the end of August or early September, depending on when the ports can complete operational logistics, such as loading and unloading equipment.”

There was no mention of what vessels were to be used….so while a nice idea….the proof will be in the execution.


Project 04

While sorting through some books I came upon this Tom Peters publication.

Tom’s focus has always been on business excellence. The title could easily read Project 17. Of course it all began with “In Search of Excellence” published in 1982. 

Fast Company wrote in 2012:

“In the 30 years since In Search of Excellence was published, critics have found flaws in its methodology, its content, and even its writing style. But the case can be made that it is the most influential management book not only in these last three decades, but perhaps ever.”

I would like to think that in our business….we were always striving for excellence. Excellence was no different in 1975 nor 1982….or 2004….and in 2017.

Excellence is excellence and that is what make some businesses very successful.