If you come up with an idea of a new product or service, you need to test it before contributing much effort to it. Better focus on the aspects that will help you understand how to build a minimum viable product.
Many famous brands started as MVPs before developing into great products we know and love today.
The article below shows you how a minimum viable product can help you grow and deliver a successful fully-fledged project.
Why is MVP important?
MVP, or a minimum viable product, is the central concept of the lean startup approach created by Eric Ries. MVP means an early version of the product including the core features that users can test. It gives the minimum value for customers proving business assumptions about your product or service.
Let’s discover the advantages of an MVP for business ideas.
Testing a Project
According to the lean startup methodology, there are two main hypotheses to test:
- The value hypothesis: does a product deliver value to customers when they use it?
- The growth hypothesis: how will the product evolve if customers accept it?
The main point of the lean startup loop is to create the preliminary version that can be tested. So, MVP testing is simple and focused.
Also, the test brings measurable results on the hypotheses you check. The outcome supports the assumptions of how your service or product serves users’ needs.
Getting Early Feedback
Feedback from customers gives you insights into what is valuable in your product. You can see how people use your MVP and discover what appeals to them.
The feedback to MVP differs from regular feedback in that it is inclusive. The reaction is related only to the features included in the MVP. Discovering the practical result of how the MVP is used helps you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your product or service.
Also, your customers will feel a connection with you if you introduce changes that they suggest. Thus, you build a community that values your product and potentially can grow in the future.
Spending Fewer Resources
As an MVP includes only basic features, you need less effort for creating a solution. It’s easier to form a team with dedicated specialists for MVP development.
Also, the development team delivers only the core features, so they need less time. As a result, the cost of MVP development is less than a solution with complex functionality.
Attracting Early Investors
The first thing why startups fail is the inability to raise capital. Investors wouldn’t contribute to a project without proven payback. They see the product in work, so it’s easy to understand the problems your product solves and its market fit.
Also, an MVP shows the potential of your product. If the MVP was successful, the fully-fledged solution is likely to succeed, too.
MVP allows incrementing new features. Testing the core functionality shows the value that your customers see in the MVP. Knowing that you can add the features gradually and check if it resonates with your users.
Now that you know why an MVP is essential, let’s see prominent examples of MVPs that grew in successful businesses.
Though it is hard to believe, at the very beginning, Uber was just an MVP with a plain and simple design and limited functionality. The only feature available was connecting iPhone users with taxi drivers and enabling passengers to purchase their ride with a credit card.
Despite the simplicity of the offering, or maybe driven by it, the brand successfully entered the market, enhanced its application, and got the first loyal customers. How did Uber make it big? The company focused on a small category of users located in San Francisco. Their valuable feedback allowed the brand to add to their app such exciting features as driving cost estimates, split fares, scheduled rides, multiple drop-offs, etc.
That’s how Uber looked like in their early days.
The story behind Instagram development is a perfect illustration of the main idea of the MVP approach. It is clear why choosing one particular feature is a more wise solution than building extensive functionality.
Before starting Instagram, Kevin Systrom worked in marketing and learned to code at night. He created a prototype app allowing people to check in their locations. After the first meeting with investors, he raised $500,000 for the prototype and quit his job.
At this phase, Kevin Systrom needed a team to improve his solution. Mike Krieger agreed to join him. They removed all unnecessary features, leaving only images uploading, commenting, and liking.
The initial version of Instagram was called Burbn, and below, you can see its interface.
With an MVP, you can test the feasibility of your business without paying through the nose. This statement was proved by Nick Swinmurn, the founder of Zappos. Today it is the largest shoe store that started with an MVP.
Nick Swinmurn assumed that shoppers might want to buy shoes online. He did not invest in purchasing shoes or developing expensive software. Instead, he went to local stores and took photos of items on offer.
Swinmurn created a simple website and uploaded photos to see if somebody got interested. When a platform visitor clicked the Buy button, Swinmurn bought the requested pair in a shop. Then he sent the order and handled payments.
The early version of the Zappos website looked like the following way
MVP created as a core notion of lean startup method helps discover the viability of your product or service. MVP tests if your idea is feasible. It is a working version that users can try. They will provide you with valuable feedback that leads to insights on how to improve your MVP.
As an MVP includes only key features, you spend fewer resources for developing it. Also, showing the workable version of your product or service helps you prove to investors that your idea has market potential.
I hope that the examples showing the core aspects of the MVP approach will inspire you to check the potential of your idea.
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