Due to the access to an abundance of software solutions, the attention of customers is hard to attract and even harder to hold. Tech giants can afford to invest in experimental areas and abandon software solutions that weren’t accepted by users. In the case of startups, the situation looks completely different.
Tightness in money and expensiveness of software product development force startup companies to count each spent dollar and plan each step carefully. One of the possible ways to reach the balance between the adequate amount of delivered software features and funds spent is MVP development. In this article, we’ll consider how MVP can help startups to embody their ideas iteratively and create product demand without becoming bankrupt during the process.
What is MVP
First and foremost, we have to define what MVP stands for and how it can benefit a startup company. MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product. As the name suggests, MVP’s are basic versions of the final product that provide fundamental functionality and help startups to get feedback from early users. The set of basic components included in MVP should contain some killer features that will cover the needs of your target audience and make your product noticeable among the other apps. The approach that implies MVP development helps to design, test, and deliver the basic version of the app. Additional features can be added according to feedback received from users. Therefore, MVP is an excellent choice for startups that have some innovative ideas and want to validate them before spending all available resources on the final version of the product.
Besides testing ideas on practice, MVP helps startups to minimize expenses. Analyzing the results of users’ interaction with the product, your startup can plan further actions more accurately. Step by step, you can understand what users actually want and outline how the final product should look like. Developers will get a clear picture of what result is expected from them. It will lead to fewer iterations and less money consuming.
You may not have heard the term MVP before, but it doesn’t mean that you haven’t encountered one of such products. Facebook was launched as MVP, whose primary purpose was to connect friends from schools and colleges together using a social platform. Today, Facebook is an extremely popular platform that has more than a billion active users whose personal data is completely safe. Once upon a time, Amazon was focused on low price books and had minimalist web design based on an MPV. Also, there are some breathtaking examples of how newcomers reached their goals thanks to MVP. OneSoil is a startup from Belarus that provides farmers and agricultural companies with an interactive map visualizing data on 60 million fields across 43 countries in the EU and US. In 2017, the company was finishing the MVP in order to demonstrate interested companies the potential of this product. Today, OneSoil is considered as one of the most promising companies from Belarus by the Silicon Republic and cooperates with such companies as BASF and HiEnd Systems.
The Benefits of MVP Development for Startups
The actual set of features to be included in MVP depends on the specifics of your product. But despite the app that you’re developing, most probably you won’t be satisfied with the first version of it. The first thing that you’ll decide to do after the MVP launch is to rebuild the app. It doesn’t mean that your initial vision of the product has a poor design. It means that you have the opportunity to increase the product’s success chances when development costs are relatively low.
The use of MVP allows startups to:
- Focus on only needed functionality. When you start creating your product, you should concentrate on features that will provide you with a competitive advantage in the market. MVP provides you with an opportunity to test your app, collect feedback, present the project quicker, and cut the costs.
- Reduce rework. Keeping things simple at the beginning of your project, you can minimize the number of further remakes.
- Build the first contact with end-users. With MVP, you can attract the attention of users and build your first fan base. You’ll get feedback from your audience and define which features your app lacks. Providing customers with what they want, you can show your dedication to the project and build a community of users.
- Receive market recognition. With MVP, you show at what market your startup is targeted. You can demonstrate how your product differs from the others or attract investors and companions by the unique functionality of your app.
- Save money. Thanks to the iterative development process, there’s no need for huge funds in the first stages of the project. As you receive feedback from users and investigate the market, you can define what features to invest in the future.
- Save time. MVP includes only core features of the future product. Your startup can focus on creating only outlined steps which lead to faster product launch.
- Simplify testing. During product development, you’re not dealing with complex apps with dozens of features. Therefore, there’s the possibility to test the lightweight MVP version of the app, and then test new features as you add them.
How to Build an MVP for your Startup
If the list of benefits looks attractive enough for your startup, you can start planning the development of your MVP. Here are some tips that can help you during the app development process:
- Perform market research. From time to time, our ideas seem to be the brightest. In such a case, brief market research can lower you from heaven to earth. The reasons may vary. Some ideas simply don’t fit the market needs. Sometimes, there’s already a time-tested solution implementing the same functionality. Therefore, you should conduct surveys to increase your success chances. Check what apps your competitors are offering, how users react on provided features, and what they lack the most. Read about a business analyst’s role in startups to learn how such a specialist can perform all these tasks for you.
- Outline your ideas. Now, it’s time to brainstorm your ideas. Based on the info collected on the previous stage, you can define if there are any chances for your ideas to become successful. Write down what your product can offer to users, how they can benefit from it, why would they choose it among the other options, and so on.
- Hire developers. Despite that MVP seems to be a pretty simple app, its creation requires experience. If you doubt that you can handle it on your own, you can hire a professional software development company. Before hiring a developer for your app, you can visit such websites as Clutch or GoodFirms. These websites will help you to find companies that provide required services such as web development, mobile app development, cloud-based apps, etc. Also, these resources provide customer reviews that can help you to decide if you can trust your ideas to a particular company.
- Design and build your MVP. At this step, your product finally takes shape. After you have decided upon the main features that will make your app popular and your company profitable, you can create your MVP. Keep in mind that this version of your app still has to fulfill the needs and expectations of your users despite that there’s a lot of features to be added in the future.
- Receive feedback and improve your product. After you create and test your MVP, it’s time to launch it and check if users will like how it works. You have to collect your client’s reaction to the app and determine if the product is acceptable in the market. At this point, you can draw the first conclusions on the competitiveness of your app. Users will tell you what your product needs and what features work worse than expected. Once you’ve collected enough feedback, you can start improving your product.
Building an MVP can be an excellent choice for startups that can’t invest enough resources to compete with companies that already have gained some weight in the market. Ever-increasing user demands put companies at risk of being rejected by a potential audience due to minor product flaws. The approach that implies MVP creation helps to minimize such risks and develop an optimal marketing strategy.
Startup companies can attract the attention of the target audience by demonstrating them the core feature of their future project that implements the functionality no one else provides. After you ensure that you hit your audience, you can proceed with further improvements until your product reaches its final form.