Discover How an MVP Can Be a Savior to Your Business


Are you looking for an innovative way to grow your business? Are you sick of putting in all the work and not getting any traction? It might be time to consider a minimum viable product.

This is a new concept that will take some getting used to, but if you're willing to give it a try, it could be worth it. Here's how it works: instead of waiting until everything is perfect before introducing your idea into the market, just start with what's called "minimum viable product." This means you'll release something without putting in a lot of effort and it's how you get customers to buy your idea before investing in more development.

If MVPs are done correctly, they can be used to help validate an idea for larger businesses that might otherwise need years or millions of dollars to prove viability.


What is a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)?

Definition of a Minimum Viable Product:

what is a minimum viable product

An MVP can be the first step an entrepreneur takes toward launching a startup. If you're unsure of your business idea, it's best, to begin with, something that is functional but not too extravagant—a minimum viable product!

The minimum viable product (MVP) is a development technique that entails creating an early version of the new website or app. It allows for lots of feedback from customers before finalizing the features and design, which can then be tweaked accordingly to meet their needs.


What is the purpose of building MVPs?




The launch of an MVP helps entrepreneurs test their ideas quickly with a relatively small budget. This approach still lets the entrepreneur collect feedback from potential users and gather insights on what features to add or take away in future iterations, while also saving time exploring other options for launching products based on experience.

A well-thought-out MVP can help you find the perfect balance between what your business is offering and what users really need. The purpose of an MVP is to test hypotheses by minimizing bugs and errors, so it's important not to waste too much time on complex features that may never get used or be necessary later.



Who came up with the concept of a minimum viable product?



 minimum viable product development

Eric Ries is the one, who introduced the concept of the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) as part of his Lean Startup methodology, he explains that an MVP is a product that has not been fully developed but contains features and designs that can help gather feedback from early customers.

Eric says that the Minimum viable product should be viewed as a learning tool that will allow teams to gain insights before building or launching.
Many people view an MVP release of their product as the quickest and easiest way for them to get it on the market, but this is not always true; in fact, there are often many more steps required after developing and releasing an initial version of your product than they might expect.



How would you define an Ideal MVP for your Business?




So, you’ve come up with a brilliant idea for an app. You and your team have been working on it every night since then; tirelessly working while sipping coffee as the sun comes up in the sky. But how do you know if this is really going to be worth something? How will your team know if this will work for your business?
Here are some things that you should look at when developing an MVP for your business

  • Your MVP should align with your business objectives:

Your company’s goal is the most important thing when developing your MVP, so make sure those match up with what you want to do.

What are your goals for the next six months? Do you have limited resources available? What are you planning to achieve with your business? These questions might influence if you should develop an MVP right now or not.
It's important to know what purpose this Minimum viable product will serve. Will it attract new users in a market for your current products? If that is one of the goals then your minimum viable product plan might be a success.

But if your company’s goal is to focus on your existing core market, then you might need to focus on an MVP designed for your existing customers offering new features and functionalities.
  • Identify problems and the solutions you will be offering to your Ideal customers:

Having determined that your planned MVP aligns with your business goals and objectives, you can start thinking of pain points and problems that your ideal customer faces. After that, you will have to think of specific solutions that your product will offer to your users.

Your solutions might not represent your product’s overall vision, it might only represent subsets of that vision. You can only develop minimalistic functionality with your MVP.

Your priority should be figuring out what features are absolutely necessary to include in your minimum viable product, and which can get pushed off until later. You'll want to give the end-user a seamless experience that will keep them coming back for more. You can determine this decision on the factors listed below:
  • User research
After receiving feedback, how quickly will you be able to iterate on certain types of functionalities
  • Competitive analysis
The relative expense in implementing certain user stories or epics
  • Convert your MVP functionality into the development phase
Now that you have defined all the strategic elements and decided which functionality to choose for your MVP, it’s time to convert it into an action plan for the development phase.

It’s important to remember that your product should be viable. It must allow your users to complete a job/task and must provide a seamless user experience. A minimum viable product cannot just be a user interface with broken tools or features. It must be a fully working product that your company could sell without compromising its credibility.

What are the main benefits of a minimum viable product?




The main benefit of an MVP is that you can find out whether or not your product will be successful without investing too much time and money. Your customer’s interest will determine the success or failure of your product.

Let’s put it this way, suppose you want to create a product but you created an MVP for it before and that product turned out to be a failure. Think of all the wealth you saved by not developing a full product for it.

MVP’s benefits can be categorized into three categories

Focus on Validation and Value proposition:

Validation of your product will save you time and money. MVP focuses on value propositions that will let you know if your product will be a success or a failure at an early stage.

Early customer acquisition

Acquiring customers pre-launch and building a relationship before the launch of the actual product is very beneficial for any business.

Resource optimization

You can enter the market a lot faster with an MVP. It will save you a lot of time and money, suppose if your idea proves to be a failure then all the development money is saved which you would have spent if you were developing the actual product.



What are the common MVP pitfalls?




For businesses, the term MVP is often misunderstood. Often companies believe that an MVP means delivering a small amount of functionality without any additional criteria for learning about its viability or usefulness to customers.

Some Companies confuse an MVP- which has a focus on learning - for MMF (Minimum Marketable Feature), or MMP (Minimum Marketable Product), which is more focused on generating revenue. There's not too much harm in this unless the company becomes overly focused and delivers something without considering whether it fulfills customers' needs.

Companies neglect the viable part of MVP to just focus on the minimum part. The product delivered has little quality for customers and can't accurately predict if it will be a success or not.

Companies neglect the viable part of MVP to just focus on the minimum part. The product delivered has little quality for customers and can't accurately predict if it will be a success or not.

The Company delivers its MVP and does not make any changes to it, even if they receive feedback from other people about the product.

Related concepts to the minimum viable product


A lot of concepts and buzzwords similar to the minimum viable product are in the tech industry. In this section, we'll try to explain some common ones!

Proof of Concept (POC)

Proof of Concept is used to test if an idea is feasible and see what direction should be taken. The POCs will never go public, however, they're a great way for companies to map out their ideas.
POCs are a way to reduce risks when developing technology and ensure that certain tasks can be done or not. So instead of building an MVP, POC is built.

Prototype

A prototype is a tool for early validation of concepts with stakeholders and users without the actual development. The early adopter of the prototype is their creators.

Supporting decisions regarding all the product development and cutting down the number of mistakes in the product is the main goal of the prototype.
Prototype deals with several aspects of a product, unlike POC that deals with only one aspect of the product.

The role of a prototype is to test the design, errors, user experience, and other functionalities of the product.

Minimum Viable Product

A minimum viable product is a digital product that ends up in the market with minimalist features and a good UI. Unlike prototypes that developers use for testing.

Minimum Lovable Product (MLP)

MLP is a new concept introduced in the software application market. It focuses on designing of product’s top features beautifully that will get the love of early adopters while putting in minimal effort.

MLP focuses on making early adopters being passionate about the product.

Minimum Marketable Product (MMP)

MMP is a product that caters to the needs of potential users and is ready to be sold and marketed.

The difference between an MVP and an MMP is that MVP helps you gain knowledge, test ideas, and address risks. While MMP saves you time in launching the product to the market, but its functionality will not be detailed as compared to an MVP.

Minimum Awesome Product (MAP)

MAP is often defined as the upgraded MVP with a more intuitive UX.

Minimum Viable Team

A minimum viable team is a group of people that are essential to make your product successful.

Types of Minimum Viable Products

Software MVP

It is an incomplete version of the actual product. It is the first version of the product so it works well when it comes to learning and measuring.
This type of MVP works well when you have already tested out the idea and have some feedback from the audience. This works well for companies that have limited budgets and want to gain quick traction.

Product Designs

These are basically not MVPs but they can be used as a substitute for an MVP.

Sketches

You can use sketches drawn by the hand of a web page or any other product page to show the working logic. This can be used if you are on a very low budget and you want to present your idea to a client.

Wireframes

Wireframing is a method of using minimalistic basic design elements to share complex concepts
These are very useful in testing out features at the same time keeping everything minimal.

Mockups

A mockup is a static representation of how an app or website will look and function. Mockups are typically more simplistic than the final product but can be used to provide feedback on design ideas before work has been fully completed.
Mockups are clickable which makes them good for testing UX.

Demo Videos

Demo videos can demonstrate the idea of your product and how it works, while also promoting the video to potential users too.

Landing Pages

A landing page is a simple page where a user lands, it represents the value proposition of a product or service, features, and benefits. It can be used to test out features and concepts for a business.

You might have seen, coming soon written on landing pages, that’s not an MVP.

The purpose of MVP is validated learning, which means that you have to setup up analytics on your landing page and track all the insights and KPIs about how the page is performing.
You want people to sign up for or buy the product, and have them go through a user flow-like process of clicking on buttons, checking pricing pages which is not just asking their email address. This is what makes an MVP.
The best example is Buffer, the first version of its landing page had a simple outlook, if visitors clicked on the pricing and plan, they were redirected to a page where they could leave their contact info. They will then be notified when the product is ready.
However this was still vague, so its founder created 3 different plans with their prices. When there were enough users willing to take up a paid plan, the product’s first version was created.

Piecemeal MVP

You use existing services and tools to create a functional product. More human resource is needed to create a product from existing technologies.

Groupon started out as a piecemeal MVP. It was created on WordPress.
Daily blog posts containing details of each deal were posted on the website. Coupons were generated manually in PDF files using FIle maker. The PDFs were sent to buyers through emails.
Once Groupon gained traction and found that they were a good market fit, they started developing the real technology.

Concierge Minimum Viable Product

Concierge MVP involves validating the product idea by offering services completely manually to a small group of people(early adopters).

This involves growing your customers and analyzing the audience without any development costs.

It is used when you understand your business needs and have a solid vision of what your product should do but don’t have the time, money, or resources to develop it.

Food on the Table is a great example of Concierge MVP. This mobile app collected user’s preferences for food and then gave them options for recipes, grocery stores, and best food deals.

This app would have involved core development, logic, and integration with stores. So the founders found some early adopters and visited their homes physically to collect information about their food preferences.
After that, they created the recipes manually, purchased the groceries, and delivered them.

Wizard of Oz MVP

The Wizard of Oz MVP is one of the fastest and most effective ways for entrepreneurs to test hypotheses as they create value. Entrepreneurs can quickly modify their MVPs, testing a large number of solutions so that they find what works best for customers.

A wizard of Oz MVP is almost the same as Piecemeal MVP, except that in wizard of oz people don’t know that the product is not ready.

In this method, you give a UI that gives customers the impression that the product is real.
The replacement of all the development and technology is human resources, which makes it a little time-consuming
But you can still get real feedback from users so that you know how good your product is doing.
Zappos is the best example of it. The founder of Zappos wanted people to buy shoes online.
He took photos of shoes at stores and posted them on his website. When people placed orders, he used to go to the store to buy that shoes and shipped them to the customers.
Now Zappos has been acquired by Amazon. Want to know some Prominent examples of MVPs? Check out Some of the best Minimum viable product examples

How to build a minimum viable product




Validate your idea


Not every idea is destined for success, that is why validation of an idea is crucial with respect to the target market.

The core reason for the failure of startups is low market needs for that product or service.
Researching your audience is imperative and collecting information before actually building anything is important.

Validation consists of 3 steps:

  1. Customer validation
  2. Market research
  3. Concept testing

Create a User Flow


minimum viable product flow chart

You have to look at your product from a user’s perspective, it simply means to get in the shoes of your customers.
The user flow focuses on the whole procedure of using the product.
From opening the app to making the final purchase, all the steps should be covered that a user will go through.

Here is an example to make things simple. Suppose, you are planning to create an app for renting bicycles in cities.

From the point of opening the app, choosing the preferred bicycle to actually using the bicycle, user flow defines how the customers will interact with your product. User flow makes sure that you do not miss out on anything on your final product and your user gets a seamless experience.

How to create user flow?

Let’s go through the general process of creating a user flow.

Creating a buyer persona:Understanding your ideal customer is important, you need to know his pain points and his problems so you can get users in a flow-state when they use your product.

Creating a flow outline:Create a mind map encompassing the entry point for the user, steps the user will go through, and the final interaction

Defining the elements of the user flow: Keep all the pages, screen UI, and actions of the app into the user flow.

Refining the outline of user flow: You will have to make changes to your first draft, make it perfect, logical, and clear.

Create user stories with story mapping

User stories are simple and short feature descriptions from the perspective of users.
By creating user stories you will be able to know if you missed anything in your user flow and that the user gets the best possible experience.

Make a list of features and prioritize them

Developers, at times, get so engrossed in building the perfect UI that they forget about the features that functional and very integral for performance. So prioritizing the features and listing them down is a good idea.

Build, Test, Implement

It’s not just about creating a product, it’s about continually testing then improving by feedback from users.
  • You have to acquire users so you get a lot of data to analyze. Paid services like BetaList can provide you users who will test your product and give feedback. Launching the beta version of your app is a good idea.
  • Collecting data is the most important part. This is where you track all the data usage, metrics, and KPIs which will determine how good your product is doing.
  • Collecting feedback from the early adopters is the point where you will know insights about your products. All the bugs, missing functionalities(if any) will be discovered by gathering feedback.
  • Tweaking and refining your product according to the feedback from the users will improve your product and make the users happy.

Frequently Asked Questions

MVP is an abbreviation for Minimum Viable Product.
No, Prototype doesn’t reach customers and only ends up being test by its developers.
Whenever you have a product idea you should start out with an MVP, instead of rushing into the development phase.

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