When launching their first startup, many business owners choose the path of MVP development. However, this concept is designed not only to approach the launch with minimal risk. In a broader sense, it is simply the most viable way to do business. What every startup should know before building an MVP.
Although building an MVP is intended to simplify the product launch to the market, this approach has its pitfalls and nuances. You must be aware of them before starting to work. And this article will serve as a reminder for every entrepreneur.
You need to clearly understand the goal of an MVP
MVP is a tool that helps you find answers to certain questions. In the industry, this approach is called the validation of hypotheses. The entrepreneurs put forward some guesses, which they are going to validate with the help of MVP. This is the key goal of building an MVP process.
A hypothesis can be anything, but most often, there are two — the hypothesis of a problem and the hypothesis of a solution. In the first case, you assume that you have managed to identify a unique problem. Now, you need to prove this. It would be foolish to invest all your resources just to get a confirmation of such a guess. This is why you need an MVP instead. And it may not be a working product at all. To validate the hypothesis of a problem, it is enough to obtain the necessary information. This can be done with the help of surveys, e-mails, or, a short video clip. Tell customers about the problem, inspire confidence, and explain how this problem can be solved. Such an MVP requires minimal investment and its goal is to collect enough information to confirm or disprove a hypothesis.
To prove the solution hypothesis, you need a specific working product, albeit at the very initial stage. In this case, the problem is already obvious and you believe that you have come up with a solution for it. However, in an effort to reduce risks, you do not invest resources in full-scale development, you create a minimum product version instead. Such a product focuses on a key feature that will solve the problem and bring users value. The purpose of such an MVP can vary — e.g. collecting feedback, attracting early adopters, or making first profits.
It is crucial to define the actual purpose of creating an MVP because this is something that determines either the success or failure of your idea for building an MVP.
MVP development is a repeated process
The very process of building an MVP can be divided into several stages, namely: building, measuring, learning, and repeating. As you can see, the last stage implies that you need to start the whole process over again. This is the essence of MVP. Rarely, you can draw helpful conclusions about the future of the product after the first cycle of development. Most often, the received information is processed, the necessary changes are made, and the cycle is restarted. This process can be repeated until you run out of resources or until you get enough information and confidence to make a decision regarding the future of your MVP.
Therefore, don’t get disappointed if the first cycle hasn’t brought you the desired confidence, income, or other positive outcomes. You have obtained the information that can be used to start the cycle again.
MVP is not about cutting your costs
Although creating an MVP is perceived as a more economical way to launch a startup, in reality, it can be as expensive as full-fledged development. It’s all about a repeated loop. The sooner you succeed in achieving your goals and get enough information to make a decision, the less money you will spend. Nevertheless, the process can be delayed, hence additional expenses.
Yes, often, an MVP presents a cheaper way of building a working product since full-fledged development from scratch may require all your available resources. However, it would be a big mistake to think about the benefits of MVP only from this point of view.
MVP doesn’t mean business success
Do you remember that each MVP must have a specific goal? But it should also be obvious that the success or failure of the MVP does not mean the same for your business or idea as a whole.
Let’s consider an example. The purpose of the MVP is to validate a solution. The entrepreneur receives enough information to make sure that the idea or solution is wrong and does not work. So, the idea needs to be abandoned and it’s time to think about something else. Can this MVP be considered successful in such a situation? Of course. The MVP fulfilled its goal and validated the idea. It allowed the entrepreneur to avoid serious losses that they would have faced if they had invested in full-scale development. Thus, the MVP is successful, while the business idea is not.
As for the MVP failure, it is heavily associated with the insufficient amount of information collected. In other words, the MVP was poorly designed, its goal wasn’t clearly formulated, and as a result, the entrepreneur didn’t understand what they spent their money on. In this case, the business idea itself may still be good, but the failed MVP did not prove it.
We hope that the above information will help you correctly form your attitude towards the MVP development process. Very often, failures occur when entrepreneurs approach the process in the wrong way and thus, are unable to accurately assess its success.
One way or another, MVP remains the best approach to launching a startup.