Creating MVP for Startups. How to Use Money Efficiently.
Building a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a key step in delivering your end product. Knowing what you want to create, and how to get there, will save you time and money.
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The only way to win is to learn faster than anyone else. - Eric Ries
First, what is a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)? You can easily find a lot of definitions in Google. If we turn to Wikipedia, it says: an “MVP is a product with just enough features to gather validated learning about the product and its continued development.” Therefore, we want to talk about why MVPs are so important. It allows obtaining the maximal amount of validated learning about customers with minimal effort. If you have an idea and want to check it straight away then you need an MVP.
An MVP for a car is a bicycle, but they are different. You cannot make a car from a proof-of-concept bicycle.
This picture perfectly illustrates the concept of an MVP. An MVP is not part of the car like a wheel, it can’t bring any value while being used on a stand-alone basis. An MVP assumes you have a product with some basic features that can already be used, like a skateboard. It does not guarantee that a customer will be happy straight away, but it allows you to add more features in the future. The thing is that you add value at each stage and keep modifying the solution until you have a happy customer using your final product.
Please use your MVP for a purpose. Launch it like an app. Know metrics that you want to track and targets that you want to reach.
You can spend a huge amount of resources and energy with no results, or you can experiment and learn from your potential users. Many projects fail when the product is completely done without getting any feedback from potential users. An MVP is an app that one can use already, but with some limited features. An MVP contains an idea, technical plan of implementation, and an understanding of who your target market is and what key metrics have to be estimated.
Restrict yourself from adding more features to an app, but feel free to exclude everything which isn’t important.
The main idea of an MVP is not to make your app too complicated, but to test its basic concept. Basic concept means it requires little time and effort to create it. The set of features should be as small as possible in order to avoid wasting resources, like time and money, and at the same time giving you an opportunity to learn from your potential customers.
Join forces with your team to reach a close and understandable target.
Obviously, it is a good thing to be a dreamer, but to get started, you need to set close and understandable targets. You should see a real and achievable way to get to your product launch and determine key indicators, like a certain amount of visitors or conversion rate, that will show your project viability.
Do not stick too much to fancy UI and cool designs - it doesn’t make any sense at this stage. It just needs to be good-looking.
An MVP assumes a set of features that fulfill minimal functional requirements and are able to satisfy potential users. On this stage, functionality is more important than fancy design. It should look nice enough to attract users with a friendly interface and transparent logic of usage. Tricks that improve app appearance and user experience look great but are useless at the MVP stage.
Save budget for marketing. Test your MVP on real users. Get real customers on board. Start making a business instead of running a startup.
An MVP approach does not include big marketing campaigns. Introduce your product to your potential customers straight away. You should not spend too much time on this stage. MVP means testing your idea, getting feedback from real users, and proceeding to the next stage - making a business from your product. A successfully tested prototype can give you an opportunity to attract financial resources and develop your MVP into a full-scale project.
Use an MVP developing service.
This option fits perfectly for startups when it is necessary to test your hypothesis and learn about your potential users’ habits to make a decision. If you want a second opinion, you can find some interesting tools that can calculate you app cost depending on its components. You can choose, for example, the desired platform, media options, number of screens, and much more. Such tools show the provisional cost of your app, allowing you to estimate your budget.
Launch earlier, fail earlier, learn and repeat.
Be quick. Nowadays, the business cycle is rolling fast. You should be ready for unsuccessful results from the get-go. Meanwhile, launching your product earlier means failing earlier. Learn from your failure, fix all errors, and repeat this process until you get a result that will satisfy you and the users.
Remember that building an MVP is an essential part of app development. Even if your idea seems great, it does not mean it will work efficiently in real-time conditions.
Published at DZone with permission of Dmitry Budko. See the original article here.
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