In today’s advanced world, it takes a lot of efforts to uncover a niche and meet the needs of the target audience. You can’t just go around turning an idea into a product or a service and expect the customers to consume it. What matters the most is what the customers really want. If you can’t satisfy the need of the customer with your product/service, then all your time, money and efforts are futile.
Frank Robinson defined a concept called Minimum Viable Product(MVP) which changed the way entrepreneurs started gauging the product market fit.
A Minimum Viable Product is a product which hasn’t been fully developed but which has enough features and core functionalities that the customers can play around with it and gauge if it’s what they need, developers can get feedback from customers to further furbish the product. This process saves a lot on the cost and risk factor, making a fully functional product and watching it fail is like the worst nightmare any entrepreneur can ever have.
Though MVP is a blessing, people are under this assumption that it’s okay to have MVP as a mediocre product because they are in a rush to release it to the market, and once it is launched, they are hit with a reality check when nobody is showing any interest in the product. It is imperative to build your MVP as efficiently as your final product, with all the functionalities that the user can interact with.
When an MVP is released people tend to lose focus on the monitoring and feedback phase, which is the most important part of the methodology.
Another fact people should take into consideration is that there is no one size fits all MVP formula, your MVP will depend on which stage your business is in and what needs you are trying to satisfy.
And the most important thing to be aware of is that there is a difference between a prototype and an MVP, your prototype is not your MVP, a prototype is a model of what your product might look like, it may or may not be a functional model, while an MVP is a fully functional product or a shorter version of the product which the customers can use.
MVP is a concept that needs to be executed effectively, it can take you from rags to riches or from riches to rags if not done properly. Let’s see what can go wrong with MVP and what you should do to execute it the right way.
A. You’re focusing on a smaller problem:
What we generally do is break the entire process into small modules and have those modules tested in increments and aggregate them with the product again. This is a very long and slow process, it’ll consume too much of your time and money.
Instead of doing so, focus on what people really want, ask the right questions and try to come up with one big problem that needs to addressed in order to make your product a success.
Dropbox made an explainer video to know if its customers wanted a file-sharing platform, and while the product was still in beta phase, it had 75,000 subscribers.
B. Not involving the target audience:
You aren’t developing anything for your personal use, and even if you are, it’s your responsibility to make sure that what you have developed, fulfills its purpose and satisfies your need. In the same way, you need to understand what exactly is your target audience and what problem you are trying to solve. It’s not necessary that all of your customers would want to buy your product and explore it, but those who do, it’s of utmost importance to take their review, contemplate on it and make the needed changes to the product in such a way that it fulfills your customers needs in the best way possible. It could take you 6 months and thousands of dollar to build a product and then get feedback from your customers, this is a really long and expensive process.
MVP does away with this and gives you the liberty of spending the least amount and gaining exact requirements of your customers within 2 months time. Products do not only have to satisfy your customer but have to leave them with a feeling of delight.
So, defining and focusing on your target audience is vital, because without it you’ll unnecessarily keep expanding your scope and incur more cost.
C. Not prioritizing User Experience:
According to a Walker Study, customer experience will rank way higher than price and product by 2020. As a matter of fact, 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for great customer experience. So it goes without saying that customer experience is one of the most important things that should be taken into consideration while developing your product as well as the MVP, the customer should be able to explore the product with minimum guidance and should be able to understand and express their opinion about the product. The goal is to hit the emotions of the users and make it alluring enough to put on an amazing first impression.
It’s not necessary to have a cutting-edge design, however, it should be attractive with regards to the basic principles of visual design such as hierarchy, balance, unity, proportion, colors, etc.
You can always give your users a short tour of the app when they sign in on to the home screen for the first time. The goal here is to make it easier for users to grasp the concept.
D. Choice of the device isn’t appropriate:
The platform you select to bring your MVP in front of the target audience is equally important, if you’re developing a mobile platform then it would be best to show your MVP on a mobile device, it would be terrible for a customer or an investor to take interest in your MVP and end the conversation with a question that says “Does this work on a mobile device”. Likewise, if you’re developing a web app, make sure that it works on your current website or have one made for it.
MVP is a widely used approach in Lean Startup and it cuts down on a lot of costs associated with the product development as well as the risk associated with the product failure. So it’s vital for a business to build an effective MVP. We have some Frequently Asked Questions on MVP that you can go through to get a clear picture of MVP. If you are still reluctant or need any help with building a MVP, get in touch with us, we’d be happy to help.