You've got an idea for a new product, but you're not sure how to make it successful. While there's no one-size-fits-all solution, building a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) can be one of the most important things you do as it can validate your business idea effectively and quickly.
In this blog, we will break down the concept of MVP, explain why it's important for your business, and lastly show you how to build one.
What is an MVP?
An MVP, or Minimum Viable Product, is a stripped-down version of your product that has enough features to satisfy early customers and provide feedback for future development. An MVP can be quickly developed and tested in the market, allowing you to assess its viability and potential for success before investing heavily in further development.
The MVP approach in digital product development is often used by startups and entrepreneurs as a way to validate their ideas and get early customer feedback, without the risk of spending too much time or money on a product that may not succeed.
Why Develop an MVP?
Building an MVP can mean the difference between success and failure for your business. With an MVP, you can validate the market fit and understand the customer's needs, hence building a strong foundation for a successful product or service. And not building an MVP can lead to the risk of building something the market does not need or want, leading to significant financial losses.
One prime example of a successful MVP is when the founders of Airbnb rented out their apartment to test the idea of renting out space in people's homes. This simple MVP helped them validate their idea and gather feedback from early users. From there, they continued to refine their platform and add new features, eventually becoming the massive hospitality platform we know today.
Moreover, Instagram first started as a simple photo-sharing app to gather feedback from early users and refine the app’s features. This MVP was so successful that the app gained over 25,000 users on the first day it was launched. Now, it has over 1 billion monthly active users.
It’s clear that in this competitive market, building an MVP can help you in staying ahead of your competitors and getting a foothold in the market. According to CB Insights, 42% of startups fail because there is no market need for their product. This emphasizes the importance of validating the market need for a product or service before investing a significant amount of time and money.
Explore in our previous blog, the different types of MVP & which suits your business .
Steps to Build a Minimum Viable Product
Building an MVP includes understanding your target audience, identifying their needs, and developing a product that solves their problems. By following these steps, you can create an MVP that fits the demands of your customers and gives you a competitive edge.
1. Define your product vision and goals
This is the first and most essential step. Your product vision should describe the problem you are trying to solve and the value you intend to deliver to your customers. And on the other hand, your product goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).
2. Identify your target audience
Your MVP should meet the needs and requirements of your target audience. To achieve this, start by creating buyer personas that represent your ideal customer. Then conduct market research and collect feedback from potential customers to better understand their needs and pain points. Finally, use this information to develop a product that meets their needs.
3. Define your MVP features
Define the features of your MVP that solve the problems of your target audience. Focus on delivering value to your customers by developing essential features that meet their needs and avoid building unnecessary features that do not add value to your customers.
4. Build and launch your MVP
Build your MVP using an agile approach that focuses on delivering value to your customers. Then test your MVP with your target audience and collect feedback. Analyze user behavior and usage patterns to identify areas of improvement. Finally, iterate on your MVP based on the feedback you receive from your customers.
Know the 4 Key Benefits of agile approach
Best Practices to Build a Successful MVP from Scratch
Building an MVP can be challenging, especially for startups with limited resources and time. However, you can build a successful MVP by following these best practices.
Focus on solving a problem
One of the main reasons for building an MVP is to solve a problem. Therefore, identify the problem you want to solve, and focus on developing features that solve that problem. For instance, Uber's MVP was designed to solve the problem of getting an affordable ride.
Keep your target audience at the core
Facebook designed its MVP for college students to connect with each other. They knew their target audience and their needs and created an MVP to meet those goals. Hence, they were able to accelerate their product's reach.
Keep it simple
Building a simple product that delivers value to your customers is key to building a successful MVP. It should only include core features and not try to be a fully functional product. Also, overcomplicating the product can lead to longer development times, and higher costs, and may not provide value to users.
A great example of this is Dropbox's MVP which was a simple file-sharing system with a single feature that allowed users to access their files from anywhere.
Use agile methodology
Agile methodology is a flexible and iterative approach to building an MVP. It allows you to deliver value to your customers quickly and adjust your product based on customer feedback.
Checkout How Agile Delivery Can Help in Successful Product Development?
The success of building a Minimum Viable Product largely depends on collecting and analyzing feedback from your target audience. In fact, many of the top companies that started with an MVP owe their success to the critical insights gained from their users. By gathering insights from your users, you can identify areas for improvement and iterate on your MVP to better meet their needs.
How to Measure the Success of Your MVP
It is important to track the success of an MVP to evaluate its effectiveness and make educated decisions regarding future steps. One common measure to monitor is user engagement, which includes the number of active users, time spent on the platform, and usage frequency. These metrics can provide useful information on whether the MVP is meeting the demands of users and generating genuine value.
User retention, customer feedback, and conversion rates are also key KPIs. By tracking these indicators regularly, you can identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions about the product's potential.
Ultimately, measuring the success of an MVP is about continuously evaluating and improving the product to ensure it meets the needs of users and delivers value. By focusing on the right metrics and leveraging user feedback, you can build an MVP that sets you up for long-term success.
Building a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) can lead your company in the right direction. However, when building an MVP, it's important to maintain focus on your core product concept and the problem it solves.
An MVP is not simply a scaled-down version of a larger product you plan to build in the future; it's the first iteration of your idea, the one that helps you discover whether or not there's sufficient demand for what you have to offer. This saves both time and money and allows you to roll out future updates to your product easily. Now that's a win-win!