Have you ever launched a business that took blood, sweat, and tears (not to mention every last penny), only to hear crickets from your target market?
Maybe you’ve never launched a product or service, and you’re just trying to figure out how to take your idea from concept to reality.
No matter which camp you fall into, launching a product or business can be incredibly daunting.
Fortunately, I’m here to help!
Hey there, I’m AJ! Knowing the concept of a minimum viable product (MVP) is part of what enabled me to grow and (recently) sell my business for multiple seven figures.
My goal of Small Business Bonfire (SBB) is to help you build a successful small business, starting with understanding the fundamentals.
So let’s dive into what an MVP is and how it can help you bring your product to life.
Minimum Viable Product Definition
A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is an initial, simplified version of a product that fulfills the essential requirements for usability.
An MVP can be further refined and enhanced in the future, mainly based on customer feedback.
What is a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)?
A Minimum Viable Product, or MVP, is the most simplified version of your product that still delivers value to your customers.
MVPs are used to test the market and measure customer response.
The idea is that you should get your product or service out in front of customers as quickly as possible, then use their feedback to improve it accordingly.
Even if it’s just a landing page or a service offering, providing customers with a concrete opportunity to engage with your product is crucial.
With an MVP, you gain the ability to:
- Launch a basic version of your product or service
- Minimize the time and resources invested before testing its usability
- Ensure that it is something people are genuinely interested in
Picture it like a cake — in its most basic form, you need just a few ingredients (flour, eggs, sugar, butter) to make a cake, right? That’s your MVP.
You don’t need to add extra ingredients, like sprinkles or fancy decorations, until you have the basic cake down.
What is Lean Startup Methodology?
The lean startup methodology is a process used to build and launch businesses. It allows you to test business hypotheses through a feedback loop.
The build-measure-learn loop helps determine customer interest. You can leverage the test data to pivot and adjust your business plan if there isn’t any.
In other words, the lean startup methodology helps entrepreneurs focus on customer feedback and quick iteration.
Validated learning (testing your business idea in the real world) helps you cut through the noise and focus on what matters most: what customers want.
Lean startup methodology and minimum viable product can often be used interchangeably.
- Lean Startup Methodology: generally pertains to an entire business
- Minimum Viable Produce: focused on a specific product or service
What is the Purpose of an MVP?
The purpose of an MVP is to:
- Test the waters and gauge customer demand
- Get your product out there quickly
- Measure its reception in the market
- Use feedback to iterate and improve
- Validate or invalidate your business ideas efficiently
It’s important to note that minimum viable products are just the beginning, like a basic cake.
But with time and refinement, it can become the beautiful wedding cake you envisioned, meeting customer needs and expectations.
What are the Benefits of an MVP?
Launching an MVP has more perks than finding a five-dollar bill in your coat pocket!
Check out some of my faves!
Get to Market as Quickly as Possible
MVPs allow you to get into the market quickly and test your product on customers.
This helps identify flaws earlier in the process, reducing your risk of a failed launch.
Get to Market as Cheaply as Possible
Releasing an MVP requires much less time and money than launching a full-fledged, feature-rich product.
It has just enough features to make it functional without breaking the bank.
It also lets you get feedback quicker, so you don’t waste money, time, and resources on features your customers may not want.
A development technique like web automation can help you develop your MVP faster and with fewer resources.
Test an Idea with Real Users
Creating an MVP allows you to get honest user feedback faster.
Receiving feedback from a product’s initial users is crucial because it allows you to:
- Make informed decisions
- Design a final product
- Meet customer needs and expectations
Learn what Resonates With Your Target Audience
An MVP lets you test different basic features and functions with real users.
This helps determine which parts of your product resonate with customers and which could use refinement.
What if that feature you spent months developing was something no one cared about? That won’t happen if you launch an MVP first!
How do You Create an MVP?
Creating an MVP sounds fantastic, but how on earth do you actually get it done?
Well, fear not! Here are some steps to guide you through the development process of an MVP.
Step 1: Start with a Problem Your Customers are Facing
Start by understanding the problem your product is trying to solve.
In order to ensure the success of your Minimum Viable Product (MVP), it is crucial to have a clear understanding of the specific gap in the market that you are addressing.
By identifying the unmet needs or underserved areas, you can strategically align your MVP to provide a valuable solution.
Think back to the cake analogy. You wouldn’t bake a cake without knowing who it’s for and what they crave.
After all, it’s not just about the cake; it’s about satisfying those taste buds and making them go, “Mmm, this is the cake I’ve been dreaming of!”
Step 2: Come Up with an Inexpensive Creative Solution
Now you have a clear understanding of the problem your product aims to solve; it’s time to delve into the process of developing a creative and innovative solution.
This involves thinking outside the box and exploring various approaches to provide value in the most cost-effective manner possible.
Remember, simplicity can often be the key to success, as it allows you to prioritize functionality and user experience while keeping costs in check.
By taking a systematic and thoughtful approach to your product development, you can craft a solution that not only addresses the problem at hand but also exceeds the expectations of your customers.
Step 3: Create an MVP of Your Solution
Now it’s time for the fun part — designing and launching your MVP!
Keep in mind that this version of your product is temporary; you can always add more features later.
As you embark on creating the MVP, keep these pearls of wisdom in mind:
- Strike a balance between aesthetics and functionality when creating something basic and functional
- Avoid getting overly fixated on achieving perfection; focus on the core elements that make it functional and user-friendly
- Prioritize usability and simplicity to ensure effective purpose and visual appeal
- Remember that simplicity is often the key to design success, enabling easy navigation and interaction
- Embrace experimentation and iteration, refining your design as you go
Even further development will come with customer feedback!
Step 4: Test the MVP With Your Customer Base
Now that your MVP concept is released into the wild, it’s time to measure and analyze its performance.
Pay attention to the following:
- User Feedback
- Positive Aspects
- Usage Patterns
- Areas Requiring Improvement
This will help inform your decision-making process for future development of the product.
Once you have a clear idea of what your users want and expect, you can add more features to your product.
In other words, this is an iterative design process that will help you get closer and closer to the perfect cake!
Minimum Viable Product Tips
Ready to get baking? Here are some nifty tips that should help you build a delicious cake:
Tip 1: Focus on Your Unique Value Proposition, NOT Features
Don’t get too caught up in the features game when developing your product.
Focus on crafting a compelling and unique value proposition for your MVP instead. It’s like giving your product a superpower that sets it apart from the competition!
Not only that but make sure to highlight to customers how your product offers something truly distinct and unavailable elsewhere.
It’s like offering them a VIP experience that they can’t resist!
Remember, a well-defined value proposition is the secret sauce to attracting and retaining customers in today’s cutthroat market.
Tip 2: Don’t be Afraid to Pivot
Sometimes, you may find that your MVP isn’t working as planned.
This doesn’t mean it’s a total failure; it just means that some of your assumptions about the product may have been off the mark.
The trick is to stay agile and pivot if needed. Think of it this way: if the cake tastes terrible, it might just need a different recipe to make it delicious!
So, don’t be afraid to modify your MVP and give your users what they want. Your effort will pay off in the long run.
Tip 3: Talk to at LEAST 50 Potential Customers
As you develop your MVP, talk to at least 50 potential customers about it.
This will help you achieve the following:
- Validate assumptions and hypotheses regarding the product
- Understand what matters most to users
- Get a good sense of how users feel about the product
It’s like having 50 extra pairs of taste buds to give you feedback on your cake!
Tip 4: Gather Emails for Your First Marketing Push
Finally, make sure to collect emails from potential customers who are interested in your MVP.
These emails will be invaluable for your first marketing push when you launch the finished version of the product.
A list of people already interested in the MVP will help you generate more buzz and excitement around the main product launch.
Don’t forget to reward the early adopters of your MVP with exclusive offers and discounts! This will help encourage them to take part in the main launch.
Examples of a Minimum Viable Product
Now that you know the basics of MVP development, let’s look at some real-world examples.
Airbnb started as an online marketplace for people to rent out their spare bedrooms.
The original MVP was a website with four web pages: Homepage, Sign Up Page, Listing Page, and Listing Confirmation Page.
At the time, the founders had no idea Airbnb would become such a huge success!
Dropbox is a software development example of an MVP. The original MVP was a simple video demonstrating how to use the product and its features.
This helped customers understand the product and why they should use it.
The basic version offered only 2GB of storage, enough to get people interested and use the product.
Uber’s first MVP was a small fleet of cars driven by the company’s founders in San Francisco.
They would take customers from one place to another and gradually build their customer base.
The strength of this MVP was that it allowed them to gather valuable customer feedback and use it to improve the service.
MVP Closing Thoughts
As you can see, creating an MVP is essential to validate your product and its features.
It allows you to get customer feedback without investing too much time or money in the process.
Once you’ve tested your concept and gathered enough data, you can make adjustments and create a full-featured product that sells.
The key is to stay agile and use customer feedback to guide your decision-making process.
Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below. Good luck and happy baking!
FAQs about topic
A prototype is a preliminary version of your product that is used to test and validate assumptions. It usually has some basic functionality but lacks certain features or details. On the other hand, an MVP contains all the essential parts of your product but may have limited functionality or lack additional features that are not necessary for its core purpose. A lean startup approach is often used to create an MVP.
Yes, you can! Minimum viable products are often released as a beta version of the product that can be sold to customers. Since it contains all the essential features but may lack additional functionality or features, it’s important to inform customers about what they are getting before they make a purchase. This will help ensure the maximum amount of customer satisfaction and reduce frustration with the product.
No, a prototype is not an MVP. While they are similar in that they both help validate assumptions about the product, a prototype usually has limited functionality or details and lacks certain features. On the other hand, an MVP contains all the essential components of a product but may lack additional functionality or unnecessary features for its core purpose.