If you have an impressive, innovative idea for your startup and are not entirely sure what to do next, this article is for you.
What is a Minimum Viable Product?
Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a startup methodology introduced by Eric Ries in 2011. MVP is the core component of the Lean Startup method that teaches you how to drive a startup-how to steer, when to turn, and when to persevere and grow a business with maximum acceleration. The concept of MVP means that an early version of a product solves at least one essential customer problem and covers only the functionalities that demonstrate your product correctly. The fundamental value of MVP is that it allows you to realize your product idea, which saves time and money on the designing and development of a complete product.
MVP provides the direction for the development and design team on where to move and what to improve. You now have a brief idea of what MVP is. Here is a team that develops the first version of the product to be released to customers. For example, it can be a simplified version of a mobile or web app. A well-crafted MVP allows getting all necessary insights about user interactions with the product.
Why it's so important to start with MVP? Why do we need it?
MVP allows you to launch a basic version of the product and prove that it's suitable for solving the exact problem the customer is looking for.
It sounds simple, but when it comes to practice, many products don't use it. The final product may look brilliant and have lots of features. But it should solve a user’s problem and become a hero-product for your target audience.
Here are some convincing perks to using the Minimum Viable Product approach for your idea:
• Time. Quick-release of the product to market. You can quickly get a competitive advantage on other companies and find highly-engaged users or even brand ambassadors.
• Money. Testing a more modest version of an app with real users before releasing it saves a large budget required for the entire product development. By building an MVP first, you can make sure that you're investing in a project which is likely to be successful.
• Gained knowledge about customer preferences. Successful MVP phases give the green light to developing full versions of the product. This tool is useful for companies that want to learn what resonates with their target market and what doesn't, therefore enlarging the potential user base and decreasing product failure risks.
• Awareness of market trends. By disseminating an MVP to your target audience, you can figure out which market trends offer the best direction for developing the full version of the product. The user feedback you gather following the MVP will lead your product to success.undefined
• Attracting investment. The best way to attract investors is by showing them a functional MVP with a solid group of early adopters to convince them that your project is worth being funded, which proves that the business model is valid and that your product brings value to users.
42% of startups fail because they don’t have the market need, and 29% of startups fail as they ran out of money. MVP covers such gaps.
Necessary steps involved to build an MVP:
It's best to start with a discovery phase because it saves your mental and material resources. The discovery phase allows us to identify what's essential for future MVPs and what your success criteria will be.
This method helps to organize workflow around core elements effectively. This stage includes research and proactive communication with clients. As a result, it gives us the lion's share of needed data and insights for the development team.
Step 1: Conduct Research
At times, it happens that ideas do not fit into the market needs. Before you initiate a plan and enter into an MVP development process, ensure that it fulfills the target users’ needs.
Conduct market research and run surveys, because the more information you have, the higher the chances of success. Also, do not forget to keep an eye on what your competitors
are offering and how you can make your product idea stand out.
Step 2: Specific Idea
What value does your product offer to its users? How can it benefit them? Why would they buy your product? These are essential questions to keep in mind to help better express your idea.
You should also be clear about the essential estimations of your product. As MVP implies, introducing benefits to the people, first outline them, and build your MVP based on that.
Step 3: Put yourself in the user's shoes.
Design process is an important MVP stage. Organize the design process of the digital product in a way that is convenient for users.
You need to look at the app from the users’ point of view from the beginning to the end. It’s necessary to conceive user flow as an essential aspect of future product and its user satisfaction.
The product goal is to be the end solution-user need.
Step 4: Prioritizing features
At this MVP stage, list all the features that you want to include in your product before you start building the MVP. When you have this list, prioritize them, asking yourself, “What do my users need?
Am I offering them something valuable?” etc.
Categorize all of the features by priority: high, medium, or low. Then you can define a scope for the basic version of the product, and move to build an MVP.
If you want to visualize how ready the product will look, approach a design team to create an MVP’s prototype.
Step 5: Building MVP
After digging into the market, users’ needs, and prioritizing, you can create your MVP. Kind reminder: MVP doesn’t mean top quality than you have a final product. It has to satisfy your customer’s needs.
Moreover, the MVP version must be handy, engaging, and suitable for your users.
Step 6: Testing
After the completion of product development, the product needs to be tested. Quality Assurance engineers who work to improve the quality
of the product (even if the product is not released) conduct the first testing stage.
Keep in mind that the end-user is the one who can honestly tell what is lacking and what is useless. After collecting the feedback from the users, start improving your product. Afterward, run testing, and refine the quality again and again until the product is polished.
MLP is the new MVP
It’s not enough to validate customers' needs; you need to impress them by being a step forward from the world.
According to MLP, it’s better to create something that a small number of users love than a large number of users like. Less is more. In the root of this approach is building a loyal audience that, for instance, adore your cake,
and definitely will come back for more and then involve their friends.
Essential checklist for building MLP:
Build products with a clear purpose. Add an emotion so your early customers will feel the connection with the product, as most buying decisions are based on emotion, rather than logic.
Focus on the one thing thoroughly. It helps to communicate what your product is and who it’s for.
Consider solving one high-value pain point, which is how you can stay ahead of the competition and create new value.
Today the world expects products that are more than just usability. They desire to receive an incredible experience.
MVP helps to minimize the failure probability of the product, and it saves money, time, and developers' resources. Using this approach, you could launch a product based on your idea, with small expenses, find the right audience, define the insights based on experience, save time, and make users love your product!