What do Facebook, Airbnb, Spotify, and Uber have in common? All these popular apps started small. They didn’t achieve success overnight. They took the risk and came out with MVPs – minimum viable products. It helped them properly assess and work on the opportunity to succeed. This is precisely what an MVP is for.
What is a Minimum Viable Product?
A minimum viable product is a simpler, barer version of a product. Although, it does not yet carry all the features and functionalities you want to offer, it does have the most useful and interesting ones. Companies and developers often come out with an MVP before going full-scale because it is faster and works well in engaging consumers, therefore helping them gauge the viability of the product.
The main goals of releasing an MVP are
- for businesses to create an impact among users,
- hype up the product, and
- collect feedback from the early adopters.
An MVP helps determine if it is reasonable to proceed with creating the full-fledged version of the product. Companies, particularly startups, also prefer coming out with an MVP than a full product because it saves time and costs.
There are many other reasons why startups should consider a minimum viable product.
Benefits of a Minimum Viable Product
If you have a startup or are about to start one, coming out with an MVP for your new product offers the following benefits:
MVP focuses on the core features and functionalities.
A minimum viable product allows you to focus on the most essential features and functions of your product. This way, you are able to clearly identify which ones have the most value to your users. Zooming in on your target market is also easier. If you come out with a full-featured app, it will be difficult to test your product’s viability with the right audience.
MVP allows startups to understand their customers better.
MVPs are intended to draw feedback and reactions from your target customers, and this is vital in helping you understand them. What they like and want, what satisfies them, what they’re willing to spend. These are factors that help you understand consumer behavior. As such, you’ll know which tools are a hit, and which ones you should consider eliminating or improving.
Starting with a minimum viable product is the best way to connect and build a relationship with your customers. With a strong customer-developer relationship, trust will follow and your early adopters will help you market your product through word of mouth. This is important, especially if you’re looking for potential partners and additional funding.
MVP lets startups release their products faster.
Developing a full-featured product takes time, but you won’t have to worry about this if you release an MVP. Since your development team is focused on building the core functions, coming out with the product on the scheduled release date – or even earlier – is a guarantee.
Moreover, your developers will improve their efficiency as they won’t be time-pressured.
Also, because of the more efficient and quicker workflow, you and your team can assess the product’s initial performance thoroughly. Gathering customers’ feedback and analyzing them will be more convenient.
MVP allows startups to easily improve and scale their products.
Around 74% of startups fail because of premature scaling. Building a minimum viable product is the best solution for this problem.
MVPs leave a lot of room and opportunities for updates and upgrades. As such, adding new features and functionalities, as well as adopting new technologies, will be easy. You do not have to create another app or product. You just need to scale up and upgrade your MVP.
MVP allows startups to create a user-friendly app.
A minimum viable product, unlike a full-featured one, is “lighter” and more user-friendly. Your early adopters do not have to deal with clutter and confusion.
MVP helps reduce costs.
No company in the world, especially a startup, wants to build a product and watch it slowly fail. Aside from all the wasted time and effort, this will also cost the business a lot of money. You wouldn’t want to be a startup that fails even before they start creating an impact in the market, would you?
There are a lot of reasons why a product fails. One contributing cause is customer satisfaction. If your users do not like your product, your competition will benefit.
With a minimum viable product, this would not happen. You won’t be coming out with a full-featured app. The costs are minimal, and so are the risks. Best of all, it allows you to apply changes and improvements according to your customers’ needs, and turn one failure into a successful venture.
MVP can attract potential partners and investors.
Getting investors is not easy. However, if you have a minimum viable product, all you have to do is provide your partners and investors with actual consumer data. You can also choose to have them try your MVP. This gives them chance to personally test your app.
Your chances of getting additional investors are definitely better with an MVP.
Now that you know the benefits and advantages that a minimum viable product offers for startups, it’s time to determine what to do to begin the process.
Facebook, Airbnb, and Spotify started as someone’s idea. Airbnb, for example, was a clever idea of friends Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky who had rent problems in San Francisco. To offset their expenses, they decided to turn their homes into cheap accommodation alternatives. They opened their living room and set up mattresses for conference participants and travelers. The two eventually developed a simple website that offered short-term “AirBed & Breakfast” services, hence the name Airbnb.
So, yes, start going through your ideas now. Set them into writing and visual illustrations. It’s also important to work with an experienced and highly-skilled development team that can help evaluate the viability of your project.
Lastly, don’t forget to study your target market before turning your plans into action.