Have you developed an MVP but not sure what project to focus on next, how to go to market, or what the next step is? Have you put it in the hands of innovators to improve or even market your product? The problem is that you’re not sure what’s next or what comes after Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
There are multiple variations of an MVP that stand to confuse entrepreneurs and startups, all with varying differences and advantages.
However, the main concept of a Minimum Viable Product and its variations remain the same. To enter a period of validated learning & feedback gathering that could help you understand the next step and future MVP development process for an ideal user.
Also, to collect the maximum volume of information to improve your product’s development to better market to your customers and address their needs, find out exactly what they want and what problem they are facing.
In his book, The Lean Startup, Eric Ries outlines the MVP concept and its main goal. His advice to startups is to test a product with the least effort possible while gathering important feedback for long-term success.
However, while an MVP has clear advantages, other variations could help test ideas further to build a version of a new product that customers love soon after launch.
The MMP is the first ‘real’ version of your product that can actually solve users’ problems with a limited number of features.
What Are The Criteria of an MVP?
As we’ve learned here, an MVP is an essential component of technology startups to test a viable idea and see what stage the product is at as soon as possible. It allows a team to focus on collecting vital information about a product’s features and user behavior. If you show customers what you have already in an MVP it shows what capabilities and capacity your product potentially has.
Yet, while building and testing an MVP is important, many entrepreneurs struggle to keep things lean and are tempted to make & market fully-featured products, which could end up proving wrong & costly.
To first understand an MVP and its variations, we must first start by acknowledging the MVP minimum criteria to be successful.
1. Identify and Understand The Business Needs
Successfully identifying your customers’ needs and why you are building an MVP will allow you to enter a period of validated learning and help steer your development in the right direction by collecting essential user data. Trying to please a broad audience is one of the biggest mistakes a startup can make.
Find out what your customers want & need, identify the key performing indicators of your product, and design an MVP to test your assumptions and gather feedback.
Your goal is to give value to the user, something you can’t do if the version of the product you are building is something nobody will love.
2. Find The Opportunities
It’s a big world out there. We know competitors come in many shapes and sizes, with a lot of markets saturated with companies providing viable products and services in your industry.
The key is to figure out how your product can differentiate itself from others to be successful and what your goal is. Do you plan to disrupt an existing industry through innovation? Or do you want to carve out an entirely new market altogether?
Start by identifying your target customer’s pain points. What concerns will force a user to seek out your product rather than someone else’s? Is there room in the industry to compete on price? Or are the competitors missing out on offering excellent service which you know can issue value to your customers?
Learn about your market and learn about the opportunities that could make a difference in your product development’s early stages already.
3. Decide What Features to Build
This is where working with an MVP development service can give real value. A startup MVP development service will wireframe your MVP ideas to determine which features you need to start building to gather the most amount of feedback from your target audience which will help with achieving validated success.
The idea is to create a lean product that collects feedback to make future decisions for your business. Creating the wrong features can be as harmful to your MVP success as creating too many.
What Are The Variations of an MVP?
Now that we know the importance and qualities of a minimum viable product, next, we need to consider the development process of what comes after an MVP.
Minimal Marketable Product or Minimal Sellable Product (MMP/ MSP)
If an MVP is the lean version of your product with limited viable features, the next step, an MMP, is the first ‘real’ version of your existing product that can actually solve users’ problems with a limited number of features.
While the MVP focuses on getting your product into the hands of innovators for feedback, an MMP or MSP’s function is to document feedback from users who are happy to pay for your product.
Like the MVP, the MMP is still geared towards initial users, those that are eager to test and try your product while willing to overlook the bugs and kinks that still need to be ironed out.
To make sure of this, your MMP should perform how the customers want it to. Including only features, you know they want from soliciting direct feedback and advice.
Since an MMP allows for real user interactions and monetization of your product, large investment rounds are often made at this stage in the product’s development process.
Even though at this point, your MMP is not flush with features, nor is your customer service robust enough to handle thousands of customer inquiries, an MMP will still contain technology competitive enough to sustain the advantage you need.
Getting an idea about your best minimum marketable product is ideally done by testing several MVPs to gather enough data about which basic features should be required to satisfy customers. This will give you a clear understanding of which features are successful and which are not.
The bottom line is, your MMP minimum marketable product must be beneficial in addressing your targeted users’ immediate needs.
Minimum Lovable Product or Minimum Delightful Product (MLP/MDP)
The clue is in the name. A minimum lovable product refers to the concept that if users have their first pleasurable product experience, they will continue to use it and tell others.
With that being said, creating a viable product that wows customers is no easy feat for a startup. To create a minimum loveable product, it’s important for a startup to work on and build features that are not only easy to love but one that will please the user.
Here the goal is not only to create a viable product that contains the necessary features for users but is also fun to use.
While we’re still targeting those initial users who are more patient with new technology, MLPs need to communicate that not only is the product functional, but it’s cool as well.
To do this, begin with a catchy design, build the minimum loveable product with the customer experience in mind, not just the functionality, and always try to create a wow factor.
Minimum Marketable Feature (MMF)
An MMF is a small set of product functionality that brings value to the customer. MMFs improve customer loyalty, saves costs, and generates revenue for the business.
For MMFs, users expect your product to have a feature that will solve their problems and alleviate pain points faster, in a more efficient way that acts as an alternative to the main product’s features.
This function must be new. We’re not talking about a bug fix or upgrade, but a completely new feature that allows customers to solve their problems but at a lower cost.
While MMFs assist in creating strong customer loyalty, they can also provide users with a new product which allows investors to see the value in an early-stage technology venture.
Each positive MMF pushes investors to consider that the market size available can increase and therefore allows entrepreneurs to attract more funding.
A minimum lovable product is a revolutionary way of providing users with a memorable experience
Minimum Viable Product or Minimum Lovable Product (MLP vs. MVP )?
Now that you know the main differences between MVP & MLP, which one do you choose to begin with?
On the one hand, an MVP provides users with your product’s core functionalities, with all the bells and whistles stripped away, it also helps considerably with the MVP development process.
It is a cost-effective approach to understanding your product’s potential and what to or what not to include in future iterations. On the other, an MLP you and your team develop provides users with a memorable event.
It may be a more cost-intensive approach, but you can be certain of gaining traction among viable users who will want to continue using your product and even recommend it.
A minimum lovable product is a revolutionary way of providing users with a memorable experience.
While the MLP vs. MVP debate will rage on, it is determined by your initial goals and time to market.
While the development process of an MLP could be longer as you seek to develop a memorable encounter and lush UX design, the core idea may take longer to hit the market.
Whereas, while the time it takes to launch an MVP is much quicker, the product’s functionality may suffer. Customers are less likely to love your product. However, your initial development cost will be lower.
Understanding Customer Segments To Align With Your MVP Strategy
We’ve spoken a lot about initial users, innovators, and the different types of customers MVPs should focus on targeting. But what does that all mean?
Innovators are the first customers that adopt a new product or service. They are less risk-averse, are often young with disposable income. Startups & companies rely on innovators to use their product or service in order to gather information from them about the company’s idea. Their motivation to buy comes from wanting to be first, to provide reviews, or increase social status.
Once innovators have passed, early adopters come in and adopt an innovation. Similar to innovators, they are young, less risk-averse, and have disposable income which can soften the blow should the technology fail.
The early majority take advantage of new and emerging technology only once there has been an acceptable level of adoption in the product already. They are slower in the adoption process but are willing to accept a small risk on emerging technology. They’re often members of the general public who use the product for personal use rather than opinion pieces.
Only once an acceptable number of the general public have used the product, will the late majority jump on board the bandwagon. With a high degree of skepticism, the late majority are more careful with their spending and in contact with initial users to know more about the product’s benefits and potential problems before buying.
The last group to take up a new product. Laggards follow “traditions”, are not risk-takers, and tend to be the oldest of the 5 customer segments. Laggards usually only adopt a new product if it’s absolutely necessary. For example, older people only adopted mobile phones once they had become essential components of society.
Where Can You Pitch Your MVP & MLP?
Find Angel Investors That Match Your MVP, MMP or MLP
All MVP variations are ideal platforms for raising funds for further product development. MMPs provide the best version of your product that can attract Angel investors’ attention, given the product’s time to market release.
However, don’t just try and pitch your idea to any angel investor. Try and find one that is within your niche. An investor is more expected to invest in your product if they have expertise in that subject area.
Like appealing to a particular market of customers, finding an investor who shares an interest in your field could be the difference in getting that investment or not.
Develop a Go To Market Strategy
We talk about the importance of developing a Go-To-Market strategy for companies here. Creating a Go-To-Market strategy is going to help launch your minimum marketable product. This release is critical in the preliminary stages of your product development.
Your marketing team should launch an ad campaign, create landing pages, devise google ads, and build an email list. Whatever marketing plan you end up building, make sure your message focuses on the problem that your MMP or MLP solves.
MLP Vs. MVP Vs. MMP Summary
There are a number of variations to choose from when deciding what to do with your MVP, MLP or MMP. Each has its respective advantages and disadvantages on launch, depending on your idea or product development goal will determine your next steps.
Whether you want to raise money, create customer loyalty, or test assumptions & collect data with basic functionality, there is a minimum iteration of your product that you can use.
Whichever you chose, keep in mind that the ultimate goal of any project is to benefit the user and learn as much as you can about your product for the best chance of developing sustained success.