Minimum viable product is a familiar concept for most modern digital startup owners. You might have even heard of the term “Minimum Viable Product” once, but what exactly is this? Moreover, how does it affect your business?
A minimum viable product (MVP) is the early version of your product. As a startup, producing an MVP can help you prevent spending a hefty amount on your product or service. This can help you further improve your product to ensure maximum user satisfaction.
But, how do experts define an MVP?
What Is A Minimum Viable Product?
A minimum viable product (MVP) is the earliest version of your product. It is a reduced-scope version of your product that includes enough features to satisfy early adopters. Think of it as the stripped-down version of your product. It could be anything from a sample landing page or a simple service without automation.
MVP aims to show the essential functions of your product and observe how users will interact with it. This concept helps generate feedback from product testers or early adopters. Moreover, this feedback will help you further identify how to improve your product. Startup owners can also use this concept to know their potential business opportunities.
What is the Lean Start-up Methodology?
The best way to create an MVP is by using the Lean Startup Methodology. Many seasoned entrepreneurs swear by this technique because it helps them develop products that people want and need. Moreover, this technique will help you save tons of money and effort while gaining relevant feedback.
Eric Ries, founder and CEO of Long-Term Stock Exchange, devised the Lean Startup Methodology. According to Ries, Lean Startup Methodology is a scientific approach to developing desirable products. This method aims to minimize mistakes and maximize production time and user satisfaction.
The traditional method requires business owners to produce a complete version of their product to find out later that it is a failure. The Lean Startup Methodology begins with looking for a business model. The owner will assess, improve, and discard business hypotheses to obtain more feedback. This process will continue until you end up with the best version of your product.
How Will You Benefit From A Minimum Viable Product?
Aside from the benefits of a lean startup, a minimum viable product also offers unique advantages. A startup founder will surely benefit in many ways once they create an MVP for their business.
For one, this technique allows them to test out different ideas with less risk involved. Furthermore, it helps them generate more feedback at lower costs than traditional launching methods. With these valuable insights, you can identify any problems and improve on what doesn’t work well for users before investing more resources into your project.
Most investors or venture capitalists are looking for a product that users have validated. An MVP is the perfect way to do this. Moreover, if you plan to raise funds through online platforms, having an MVP would increase your funding chances.
Pitfalls of A Minimum Viable Product
Of course, anything that has benefits have their fair share of risks. As a startup founder, you must be aware of the possible dangers of employing an MVP strategy for your business.
One risk is that you might not get the required feedback from customers or early adopters. Without these valuable insights, you will find it challenging to improve your product and could waste more time and resources in the long run.
Another risk is that some companies have the wrong definition of an MVP. Although MVP refers to the most basic form of your product or service, it does not help if you don’t show what your product can do for your customers. Most people believe that an MVP is a product with the least functionality.
Remember that an MVP aims to introduce your product’s functionality to your customers. It would be helpful to show your customers how they can use your product and other potential uses your product can provide.
Start-up founders must understand these risks to prevent them. An MVP can be a helpful business tool if you know how to use them. MVP does not only stand for a ‘minimum’ product with functionality. It should be ‘minimum’ with ‘viable’ features. In addition, you and your team must understand the purpose of an MVP to obtain relevant feedback.
What is the Purpose of Creating A Minimum Viable Product?
An MVP is created primarily to test a hypothesis and generate feedback from customers or early adopters. It can help validate or invalidate a business model. An MVP could also help determine whether there’s a market for the proposed product.
Businesses might opt to develop an MVP to produce a marketable product as soon as possible. They might also employ this concept to examine a business idea before investing a large amount of money for the complete development of the product.
An MVP also helps reduce the risk of startup failures by assisting founders to know the essential features their current customer base wants. It also helps business owners gauge if their product can find a new audience or customer base.
As a business owner, you must understand that an MVP isn’t for marketing purposes. Instead, this methodology was designed to test business ideas, gather insights, and hasten product development. These reasons helped the Lean Startup Method earn a reputation in the startup world.
What Are The Characteristics of A Profitable Minimum Viable Product?
Certain characteristics separate a successful MVP from those that don’t perform well. When developing an MVP, you must be aware of these characteristics to maximize its effect on your business. Your MVP is only as effective as you make it to be.
To further understand these characteristics that constitute the ideal MVP, we created the list below:
Minimum Viable Product Characteristic #1: It must align with your business objectives.
Before you develop an MVP, the first step is to identify how this product you intend to build aligns with your business objectives. What is the purpose of this product? How does it help you advance with your long-term business plans?
Your intended product must add value to your business and your target audience. This means that you need to build a viable product that helps solve your customer’s problems and helps you advance with your business goals.
Once these questions are clear to you, it’s time to start with the early stages of product design. Your MVP must produce the outcome you intend even at its early stages with the right goal in mind. You can start creating a framework for your MVP.
Minimum Viable Product Characteristic #2: It must identify customer problems
At this point, you have a concise idea of the product you want to build. What you need to do next is identify which specific customer challenges you are trying to resolve. Remember that you are limited with the functionality you can present to early adopters with an MVP.
As a startup owner, you need to design an MVP addressed to the customer’s specific problems. An effective MVP provides them with immediate benefits when using your initial product.
You will need to thoroughly assess what functions you can exclude in your MVP. What you want is an MVP that can satisfy what your early adopters need but, at the same time, doesn’t drown them with too much functionality.
You can accomplish this by conducting in-depth user research and competitive analysis. Furthermore, an MVP needs to be flexible enough to accommodate changes after gathering customer insights.
Minimum Viable Product Characteristic #3: It must be actionable
After evaluating long-term business goals and what functionalities you want to include in your MVP, it’s time now to devise an action plan. Your MVP cannot provide the complete functions of your desired product, but it should help customers complete their tasks.
The design of your MVP should satisfy your customer’s needs and improve their user experience. It’s also imperative to create some sort of a feedback loop where your users can share their insights.
Although an MVP is not your final product, it could help you generate solid support from your early users. Your MVP will help you shape the best service in the market.
How to Develop An Effective MVP?
Creating an MVP is not a simple process. Establishing an effective MVP requires an immense amount of patience and effort. Now that you understand the purpose and benefits of creating an MVP, it’s time to learn how to develop one.
Minimum Viable Product Development Step #1: Determine an existing problem
The first step is to determine a problem that you can solve with your product. You must put yourself in your user’s shoes and see things from their point of view. This will help you focus on the right features for your MVP.
You should research the market and identify an existing problem for your target audience. You can also try reflecting on your past experiences. There might be some personal challenges you faced before that you want to resolve.
Minimum Viable Product Development Step #2: Research, research, and more research
As a startup owner, you must know who you are up against. Even if you have an attractive unique selling point, underestimating your competitors can be your downfall. Moreover, thorough competitor analysis will help you develop your plan of action.
There are various tools available on the internet that can help you with this. Some of these online apps are free, while a more advanced app will cost you some money.
Competitor analysis, market research, and user research are all vital steps you need to include in this process. Understanding what design appeals to your users can help you open your intended product to a wide customer base.
Minimum Viable Product Development Step #3: Develop your first MVP
After conducting thorough research and identifying your user’s problem, it’s now time to build your MVP. You should develop your MVP based on the data you gathered. Focus on the primary function you want to incorporate in your product and design it based on your customer’s preference.
Take advantage of beta-user programs, focus groups, and market interviews to generate valuable insights. Try aiming to get your products to early adopters. This group of users has great insights, and their approval could help you develop your product further.
Minimum Viable Product Development Step #4: Measure, Learn, and Re-engineer.
After producing your MVP, prepare yourself for user feedback. Learn how your early customers interact with your product. It’s essential to take note of the feedback that addresses the challenges they faced using your product.
Once you analyze all the insights you collected, you need to re-engineer. Adopt the most highly requested suggestions from early users, and provide a solution for the most commonly encountered problem. You will need to send back your updated MVP to your early adopters, and the same process will repeat until you achieve the best version of your product.
MVP is a beneficial business tool
The benefits of an MVP are immense for both you and your customers. It’s a great way to test the market, gauge customer interest in your product, and give early supporters something tangible they can use.
You must put yourself into your user’s shoes because it will help determine if the solution is something people want or need. Adopting this mindset can lead to breaking outcomes.
Our Designers can help you design your MVP
Landing page MVPs are critical for any startup’s success, but they can be hard to design and even harder to get right. Many startups put all their eggs in the landing page basket, betting that a great page will bring in hordes of customers. But if your design isn’t perfect, you’re losing out on potential business.
Design Match is here to help. Our team of vetted designers will work with you to create the best possible landing page for your Minimum Viable Product. We’ll make sure your page looks great and converts traffic into customers. Find your perfect design match now, with Design Match!