When you have an idea, instead of going straight to building the product, you should first test that customers are willing to buy the product. Without testing, you might waste a lot of money and effort building something that people will not use. The modern way to test products is through the minimum viable product.
An MVP is the simplest, functional version of the product. It is a skeleton of the product that you put up for customers to use that is easy to test and iterate. Note that it is not an unfinished product. It contains the core functionality of the idea. The goal of the MVP is to allow you to test whether customers would buy the product and to iterate on the product by getting feedback from customers.
It is great that you have an idea, but if you don’t push a working product into the customer’s hands, you will not know whether the idea is a good idea =. Once you have a working version, you can ask customers for feedback before and after they’ve used the product and use that feedback to iterate on the idea. If customers are unwilling to use the product, then you know it was not a good idea.
The final version after each iteration will be different than the MVP. Each iteration of the product should be cheap and simple. The MVP should be the simplest and cheapest working version of the product that you can come up with that still encompasses the core functionality.
In software development, the Agile Software Development process is used to iterate on the MVP and come up with a final product. It priorities customer input through the development process.
Entrepreneurs should start building an MVP as soon as possible. Once you know what the problem you want to solve is, how you’re going to solve the problem, and who you are targeting, you should build an MVP.
It all starts with an idea. You release the simplest version of the idea to users. Customers provide feedback. You use that feedback to improve the product. You release an updated version. What follows is rinse and repeat.
You need an MVP to fund your startup. However, you might need funding to come up with your MVP. An MVP might encourage investors to buy into the business model and give you funding. Investors won’t give you money without an MVP. They want to see that the idea is tested. They want to see that customers are actually willing to buy the product.
Since you might have limited funds, it’s important to keep the MVP as simple as possible. Partner with a technical co-founder to build the MVP. You can hire a developer on Upwork. If you find that the MVP is expensive, try to think of a cheaper way to test the product.
The goal is not to launch the perfect product, but a product that will allow you to gather feedback and iterate.
Airbnb’s MVP was the founder’s home. Airbnb allows you to book houses to stay around the world. The founders wanted to test their idea so they put up pictures of their homes on a website. They wanted to see if people would use the service. And people did! Now the company is worth over a billion dollars.
Zappos - The founder was frustrated because he couldn’t find shoes to buy. He went to the mall and bought some shoes. He put up images of these shoes on a website for people to buy. He tested his idea in the most inexpensive way. When people bought the shoes, he shipped them himself. That showed him that his idea was something that people would be interested in.
It’s great to have an idea, but if you don’t test it with users before launching a full product, you might waste your time and money. Some MVPs can be super simple. For example, Dropbox had a simple video that explained how their product worked and checked to see how many users viewed the video.
If you need help with the MVP process, book a call with one of our mentors today. They will help you get started.
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