Creating a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) is a prerequisite not only for a startup, but also for any new product. This approach allows you to avoid unnecessary expenses and disappointments from the first release and to get the desired return.
Draw up a plan and write down the concept
Since the idea of a new product exists only in your head so far, even the most experienced expert from MVP development services for startups is likely to fully understand and effectively implement your project once you fit it into the initial coherent scheme.
Of course, you will be working with a specialist from MVP development services for startups to hone and finalize your PoC (Proof of Concept) – the terms of reference for creating an MVP. However, you will be able to express your idea to him as fully as possible with all the material and ideological nuances only if you do some preparatory work and present it in a readable form.
- Foremost, define your target audience. Resist the temptation to use general terms. The formulation “men and women between the ages of 25 and 60 with an average income of $50,000 a year” is useless. “All” means “nothing.” You need to literally see your future buyer or consumer of your service in front of you. This is much easier to do than you might think. Discuss, in general terms, without revealing details, your future product with various acquaintances. Keep a close eye on who listens to you just out of politeness and who shows sincere interest, asking clarifying questions. This way, you can segment and visualize your future customers and get the first feedback. Now go over all these conversations with your friends in your memory, try again, but this time mentally, to feel their reactions, and, filtering out those who obviously will not become your client, narrow down and specify your target audience.
- Many experts advise starting by specifying the problem you are going to solve with your new product. Marketers call this “cure the customer’s pain.” However, you definitely already have this idea in general terms in your head because you discussed it with your friends. Now that you have a relatively clear picture of who you plan to sell your product to, write down the answers to the following questions:
- Who is my product for?
- What problems of this group will it solve?
- What is there in it that hasn’t been in analogues (if they are) before?
- Why should consumers be interested in your particular offer?
- How will they find out about your product or service while you don’t have a large advertising budget yet?
- What can you save on when making an MVP, and what is a must?
- What resources do you need to get started? For example, if you are targeting an international audience but do not have sufficient skills in a foreign language, under what conditions can you enlist an interpreter for your team?
- Where do you plan to take the initial capital? What is your minimum, optimal and critical budget? Of course, in this case, we are talking about the cost of MVP and the first release.
- Who are your competitors?
These questions will come up one way or another in the course of your communication with an expert from MVP development services for startups, so initially, write down the answers so that they are understandable to an outsider. This document will form the basis of your terms of reference for the production of MVP.
- Conduct a deep and comprehensive analysis of your competitors. Take a close look at their strengths and weaknesses.
- Comprehend and write down in terms understandable for the future developer exactly how you are going to correct the mistakes and shortcomings in existing systems. There could be an organization of sales in an online store, delivery form, organization of customer service, cost of individual services, implementation of a function in the application with which you want to compete, etc. Be as specific as possible.
- Think what happens if a competitor who is already in business and has more money corrects his mistakes and equalizes his product with yours? Does your product have such an innovative core that fundamentally distinguishes it from others?
- What means are you going to maintain uniqueness?
- Think through all the steps the user must go through to receive your product. How many actions will it take to get the desired result if it is software?
Put yourself in the place of the consumer. Looking at this process through their eyes, think about how it can be shortened and simplified.
- Make a complete list of required and optional features for your product. Arrange them by priority.
Identify the most important one that contains the innovative essence of your proposal. This highlight should distinguish you from the general background and ensure the immediate attention of consumers. When discussing your minimal viable product with an expert from MVP development for startups, you will have to focus on the most advantageous representation of this particular – primary – function.
Avoid planning mistakes!
People planning to launch a startup or enter the market with a new product often make typical mistakes when creating an MVP. Try to avoid them. The most common are the following:
- The desire to make a perfect example instead of working MVP. This approach is unnecessarily costly and unjustified in terms of the tasks you are going to solve. At this stage, you need to check the viability of the overall concept, clarify the target audience and collect feedback. You will begin to improve your product after analyzing and eliminating errors and be ready to release the first full release.
- The second point is the exact opposite of the first. By considering MVP as a trial balloon, you might be tempted to treat it neglected. However, an insufficiently attractive appearance or poorly implemented feature that you need to test can bury your project at the start.
The path from the first idea to the start of the MVP discussion and further – from the presentation of a minimal viable product to the judgment of your future consumers to the first release and the first million you earn on your project can be quite a long one. But remember: the better you do your “homework,” the more likely you will get the desired result.