Minimum Viable Products (MVPs) development are prevalent in the technology startup industry as a crucial part of the software development process. Uber, Airbnb, Amazon, Facebook, and Spotify all started out as MVPs and went on to achieve great success.
If you own a startup and have an innovative product idea to launch in the market, opt for MVP development. Offer target users a scaled-back version of your envisioned product to measure the value that your product delivers.
MVP development allows startups to launch their product ideas quickly and economically in the market. Prototyping increases the chances of success as compared to startups without an MVP. Launching it validates the product idea and gathers market feedback without incurring huge software development costs.
If you are researching product development, this is the guide for you. Our previous article on Developing Minimum Viable Products (MVP) – The Basics, Benefits, And Costs is a beginner’s guide to developing an MVP. This article breaks down MVP development for startups, and the best practices to consider as an entrepreneur planning your MVP. Let’s begin with understanding the attributes of an MVP.
Key Attributes Of A Minimum Viable Product
MVP development for startups is rooted in the lean startup approach. It involves an iterative process of building, learning, and improving to create a final product that meets market expectations. Eric Ries, who developed the idea, proved it successfully with Toyota and General Electric.
Creating an MVP depends on the type of product, industry, target market, size, and investment. Though the minimum viable products for different startups will differ, here are some common attributes:
- The MVP development stage is not a process by itself. It is a step in the procedure of perfecting the final product.
- A successful MVP offers enough value to customers for them to make a purchase.
- You create a product with essential core features that make it viable and help gain early adopters during the MVP development stage.
- The lean startup methodology used in MVP development for startups eliminates waste. The process is about iterative building, learning, and improving until the final product meets the market needs.
- Gathering market feedback to improve an MVP develops a useful and successful final product.
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How to build a minimum viable product for startups?
A minimum viable product, or MVP, should attract early customers. That engagement is only possible if the MVP is functional and has attractive features. The following are some popular MVP types.
Types Of MVP Development For Startups
There are four main types of high-fidelity MVPs for startups:
- Concierge MVP
- Wizard of Oz MVP
- Single Feature MVP, and
- Pre-order MVP
Low-fidelity MVPs include
- Landing Page MVP
- Paper Prototyping, and
- Explainer Video MVP
A Concierge MVP validates a product idea by manually helping users accomplish their goals and gauging their need for your solution.
Zappos, the American online footwear and clothing retailer started out as a concierge online shoe seller in 1999. The owner, Tony Hsieh, was not sure if buying footwear online had any market potential. He created an online catalog using photos of shoes taken at the mall. The next step was to personally purchase and mail orders to customers.
This allowed him to validate the product hypothesis with minimal investments by providing a personal service. Zappos became one of the largest online retailers in the US and was later acquired by Amazon in 2009.
Wizard Of Oz MVP
A Wizard of Oz MVP appears fully functional and automated, but most of its features are manually operated. The name refers to the classic film “The Wizard of Oz”, where the wizard creates illusions of magic.
A Wizard of Oz MVP creates an ‘illusion’ of the final product. Startup owners test product hypotheses without investing in automation, complex algorithms, and technologies, and get immediate insights on users.
Aardvark, a Wizard of Oz MVP, was initially manually operated. This search service platform had Aardvark’s staff act as the go-between for people with queries, and experts. The team members would manually post questions to online experts; they then posted answers back to the inquirer.
Though the company did not use complex algorithms, Aardvark’s users found the MVP fully functional, and automated. The web application was a huge success and was later automated by including complex matching algorithms. Aardvark was so popular that Google acquired it in 2010.
A single-feature MVP is built around one core feature. Other features are added after validating the value proposition in real market conditions. Businesses wanting to convert specific features of existing software products into separate products also opt for single-feature MVPs.
These MVPs are quicker and easier to develop and cost less. Spotify started out as a music-streaming application and later added other features such as podcasts.
A pre-order MVP asks target users to order and pay for the product before its actual release. Pre-order MVPs are often marketed via crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter and GoFundMe. These high-fidelity MVPs describe the future product and secure future sales by allowing target users to pre-order the product.
By using crowdfunding project owners use the funds for project development. The generated funds can be used to speed up the app development cycle, or add enhancements. Crowdfunding also ensures that the application has paid users when it is launched.
However, developing a pre-order MVP is risky. You may not get enough pre-orders or be unable to meet user expectations. Your product may even lack the proposed functionality and usability. Most nascent businesses do not choose this type unless they have developed a credible reputation or a truly innovative idea.
Other Low-Fidelity Types Of MVPs
Low-fidelity MVPs require almost no development work. Usually, they communicate the idea of the product to target users via emails, landing pages, or marketing campaigns. Some do not consider these as MVPs as they do not generate sales.
Landing Page MVPs are single web pages that showcase the product idea and collect leads from interested customers. It is a pocket-friendly way to gauge market interest before providing the developed, functioning product.
A Prototype MVP is a good way to test the product with real users and gather feedback to make improvements. App owners provide a functional model of the final product that demonstrates its core features and functionality.
Some other MVP types are email MVPs and no-product MVPs. Startups use landing page MVPs to start a customer base, define product content and features, and finetune according to feedback. Email MVPs are used similarly by startups to validate a new feature or product idea among the existing user base.
Finding Investors – Why Do Startups and Angel Investors Invest in MVPs?
Investing in macos applications development services is a security measure for startups. A customer-centric MVP reduces risk and validates the idea because you test it on real users. This saves time and further investment.
Why do angel investors invest in MVPs if 20 percent of businesses fail within the first year? Investors would ask to see an MVP and know its potential as well as risks. Angel investors who willingly invest in MVP development usually are the idea owner’s family and friends. They might provide a one-time investment of seed money, but you must have a solid proof of concept.
Angel investors will want to know the following key details before investing in a startup MVP:
Investors will be interested in knowing the skills, experience and work attitudes of your team. Does your project management gauge their commitment to the company and the idea?
Business potential and returns
Angel investors promote scalable ideas and businesses. Your business potential, market capture, and value proposition planning must be strong and viable.
Unique Selling Points
Angel investors will take risks if they believe an idea is profitable. Market your final product’s potential and make sure you have a well-planned framework if you have not developed an MVP.
An investor will be interested in exit strategies that lower their risk and provide security. Informing them of expected returns, timelines, and how they can minimize losses may help them decide on investing in your MVP.
6 Steps to MVP Development for Tech Startups
Startups that plan to create an MVP must plan what they want to achieve at the MVP development stage. This is especially true for tech startups. Analyze your product idea and its technical and functional aspects. Following these key stages of MVP creation helps you stay ready for progress blockers.
1. Problem Statement
Start with identifying the problem you want to solve. Consider its magnitude and the number of people who would benefit from your solution. List your target audience locations and demographics. All these pointers help you determine your MVP’s success.
You can save valuable time and resources by validating if your idea and solution are important. Market research helps uncover:
- Does the problem you want to solve exist?
- Is there a similar solution?
- Where and when can you launch the application?
- What is the product’s long-term scope?
2. Market Analysis
After identifying your target audience, prospect the competition, research your market, and calculate its value. You may be able to outperform competitors if your MVP has already been launched if you add extra or unique features.
Do not lose investment trying to copy someone else’s success. Spend money on your product if you are confident buyers will purchase it. Social media is a great resource to scope competitors.
Why do you require a prototype, if you are working towards a software MVP? A prototype predicts working solutions, while MVPs perform target actions. Steve Jobs avoided prototyping while building the Apple Lisa, and the product failed. Prototyping guides functionality and design Using a prototype validates UI & UX aspects, and gets early feedback for improvements that you can add to your MVP.
4. Feature Listing
Brainstorm and list all the important features and sub-features for your MVP. Collect feedback from potential customers regarding what features they prefer. Now categorise them and add feature implementation timelines. This helps you decide which features are essential for your first MVP, and which can be delayed for later versions.
5. Software Development
Choose an experienced technical partner to create the MVP. Look for a reliable technical partner experienced in MVP development services. They should follow the lean startup methodology and provide input. Referrals help find a reliable MVP development company to create a product development plan, and successfully create and launch an MVP.
6. Product Revisions
Be ready to revise your MVP features on the user’s reaction. Collect customer responses, revise the product, and test changes. The research stage does not end when MVP software development begins but must be continuous.
What does MMP (Minimum Marketable product) mean for Startups?
Now let’s move on to Minimum Marketable Products (MMPs) or Minimum Marketable Features (MMFs). The MVP helps business owners understand customer behaviour and expected functionality, and the MMP is your product’s first version. It should be able to solve user problems with minimal features. The MMP is a saleable product that documents paid users’ feedback.
MMPs help you launch quicker, and make money from your product earlier.
How to develop an MMP for Startups?
The minimum marketable product is a result of several iterations on the MVP in the product development process.
Feedback from launched and revised MVPs is used to create MMP functionality. An MMP will not have all the features of the final product. But, even the limited features delivered to users must function and provide value.
The features you choose should give you a competitive edge and elevate your product above others in the market. To build your MMP follow these steps:
Apply an emotional design to your MVP
Emotional design connects customers to the product by evoking an emotional response such as excitement or happiness. This drives users to take action.
Enhance user experience
Set goals and track them to identify pain points. Use this information to revise your product and boost user experience.
By removing friction at critical touch points you increase user experience and product value.
Avoid feature bloat
You may overload your product with attractive but useless features (feature bloat) since MMP development is based on MVP feedback. Each feature that you add costs time and money, and increases post-launch maintenance. And since they are useless to the core functionality of the product, no one will use them.
Research to optimize product usability
Since your MMP is your new and improved MVP, it should offer better usability to convert users to customers. Research to find and fix functionality issues which stop users from enjoying your product.
The Benefits of MVP Development
So many successful products that started out as MVPs prove MVP development services for startups are beneficial. Here is why MVP app development is crucial, before developing a full-scale product.
- MVPs test your product idea’s potential and market value using minimum resources. It provides insights on how to add value to your product.
- Adding MVP development to the product development life cycle can help startups avoid bigger failures and monetary losses.
- MVPs deliver real-life market conditions to measure the performance of the product.
- MVPs allow startups to craft a final product using the feedback of target users, and avoid failed or redundant products.
- MVP development for startups launches quickly and brings early adopters to build a user base.
- A startup’s successful MVP can help convince potential, third-party investors of the product’s profitability.
- MVP startups are able to secure crowdfunding successfully.
- MVPs allow customer feedback that helps iterate the product development process.
- Using the lean startup philosophy, MVPs help startups reduce the waste of resources, development efforts, and money.
How to Gauge Your Startup MVP Success?
You can gauge your Minimum Viable Product success through customer feedback where users review the usefulness and usability of the product.
You can ask customers to offer suggestions on features, functions and even improvements. Metrics is another way to access MVP success. Metrics help with understanding what your customers think. Note these key metrics:
Best Practices Of MVP Development For Startups
Be sure to set priorities before beginning any MVP development process since most MVPs tend to change with time. It is always helpful to have a clear set of priorities that guide the product development process.
Core Value Propositions
Our first piece of advice for startups is to think about the core value propositions of their product. The two main questions that startups can answer at the MVP stage are:
- Is our product idea sustainable?
- What are the minimum set of features our MVP needs to make it viable?
To answer the first question, a startup must agree on the core value propositions of the product. What value is it offering to the target customers and how is it addressing their pain points? The process of planning the MVP is easier if you have a clear answer to these questions.
MVPs are important tools for startups to understand their product offerings and relationship with the market. Start small, declutter your MVP plan, and focus on a few features and a small number of users. It is easier, cheaper, and more efficient to focus on a small representative group of users.
Set A Timeline And Budget
Whether you hire dedicated development team or outsource to an MVP development company for startups; time is money. You must set target timelines that are clear and feasible so that you can plan your MVP around time and resources. Development costs make up a significant part of the MVP budget, another significant cost is the go-to-market budget. Allocating a budget for rolling off your MVP in the market and its maintenance and support is important.
Startups should think of their product and MVP software development in terms of the user journey rather than complexity and design. Outlining the user journey will help you identify the features that your product should have for users to solve their pain. With this list of features, you can discover the ‘must-have’ features of your product that you can not compromise on because they are central to the product’s experience. These are the features that will become the basis of your MVP app.
Minimum viable product development results in a scaled-back version of the final product using only the core features. The feedback that the MVP receives in the market should be used to guide the future phases of development.
Startups can choose from the different types of MVPs depending on their goals, target users, product type, industry, and budget. Consider outsourcing the project to an MVP development company for startups or building an in-house development team. Product success depends heavily on how well the MVP is planned and how efficiently it is executed by the development team.
Product development is tricky. Startups should have a rock-solid product idea and a well-thought-out product development plan. Reduce risk and validate the product idea by developing an MVP before investing in the development of a full-featured product. An MVP helps startups make the right decisions and develop a product that is valuable, viable, useful, and competitive.