What is a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
The Practical Guide for Startup Founders
MVP is a product with minimum features that can be created in a short period of time. It should help to learn more about the users and their response.
It is created with an aim to collect feedback and improve it further.
Why is it important for startup founders to know
It is a quick way to get feedback from the customers, analyse what’s working and what’s not, know the weak points and strengthen them.
Also, it is a time-saving method that helps startups focus on their core products instead of doing extensive market research or spending too much time on improving the product.
MVP does not mean a finished product that will be launched in the market. It should be created to learn from your customers, validate your idea, test your business model and create an effective marketing strategy for your product.
The feedback will help you create better products and develop marketing strategies to make them successful in the market.
Things that you should consider while creating a Minimum Viable Product
First and foremost, you should create an MVP to validate your idea. This means your MVP should be capable of confirming whether your idea is viable or not. If the feedback is positive, you can proceed with developing your product further. If it is negative, you can re-think about your idea and develop a new one.
Before developing an MVP, it is important to determine who will be using it and what are their needs and expectations from the product. The main purpose of an MVP is to validate your business model and see if people are ready to pay for the product or not.
Therefore, while creating an MVP you should make sure that it caters to the target audience’s needs and expectations as much as possible. This will help in avoiding wastage of time in building features that users do not need or expect from the product.
While creating an MVP, one of the main concerns for startup founders is how much time they need to create it?
It depends on various factors such as whether you are creating a software application or hardware device etc.,
However, keeping in mind all these factors, one can take around 3–4 weeks to build a basic version of an MVP that can be tested on users.
It will also depend on whether you are going for Agile or Waterfall methodology while building the product (More about this in my next article).
It will also depend on whether you have already created wireframes for the product before starting with development process or not. In case of wireframes already created, then development process will be faster than without them.
Also having business partner/team member involved in building wireframes can speed up process further because they will understand requirements better than yourself only (unless if you have a business partner who does not understand what customers want).
A basic version of an MVP can take anywhere between 3–4 weeks based on various factors mentioned above; however startups do not need to go into extensive research because there’s no point spending too much time on research when they do not have enough funds at hand anyway!
Remember: startups should focus more on customer validation than extensive market research
What is your target market? Is it domestic market only or global? Is it mass market or niche market?
Depending upon these factors decide which features you need to build in your MVP. If you are creating a product for a global market, you need to consider features that will work for different countries.
Also, think about the cost of the product. If it is high, then it will be better to create an MVP for each country with few features that will cater to the needs of people from that country.
What is your business model? Is it a SaaS (Software as a Service) or C2C (Consumer to Consumer) model? Is it online only or both online and offline?
Depending upon these factors decide which features you need to build in your MVP.
For example, if you are creating an e-commerce website for selling products online, then there’s no point building features like offline payment gateways because they will not be needed in the beginning and they will increase development cost as well as time required to build them.
Do you have competitors already operating in the market? If yes, then what kind of features do they offer and how do they compare with yours? Is there any gap between your competitor’s product and yours? If yes, then how can you fill this gap with your product?
What should be included in an MVP?
An MVP should include basic features that are needed by customers so that they can get started using it easily without any confusion or unnecessary information.
This way customers can give feedback on what works and what does not work about the product/service. Startups should focus on building minimum viable product instead of adding too many unnecessary features in it.
For example; if you are creating an e-commerce website for selling products online then there’s no point building payment gateways because at first stage customers will only pay through cards or cash on delivery and later if business picks up then payment gateways can be added later on based on feedback from customers.
Therefore, while creating an MVP startups should focus more on validating their business model rather than going into extensive research.
Is Minimum Viable Product useful for all startups?
Should all startups create one before launching their business/product in the market? Can one develop an MVP even after launching their business/product into the market?
No, MVP is not useful for all startups.
For example; if you are creating a product that does not require any feedback from customers to improve it further then you do not need to create an MVP before launching your product in the market.
Also, if you are creating a product that requires lot of time and money to create then it will be better to launch the product in the market first and then create an MVP based on feedback from customers.
This way you can focus on your core business rather than spending too much time on developing features that customers do not need or expect from the product.
Startups should focus more on customer validation rather than extensive market research!
Remember: start small and scale up when needed!
MVP is created with an aim to validate your idea.
About the Author
I am the Founder of Cudy Technologies (www.cudy.co), a full-stack EdTech startup helping teachers and students teach and learn better. I am also a mentor and angel investor in other Startups of my other interests (Proptech, Fintech, HRtech, Ride-hailing, C2C marketplaces and SaaS). You can also find me on Cudy for early-stage Startup Founder mentorship and advice.
You can connect with me on Linkedin (https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexanderlhk) and let me know that you are a reader of my Medium posts in your invitation message.