What Is MVP and Why Should You Build One?

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There are many reasons why most startups cannot get to market, and part of those that do are at best small companies. And the main reason is the lack of product consumers. Developing the unclaimed product is any entrepreneur’s bad dream.

MVP (minimum viable product) – is the minimalistic workable product that allows you to get meaningful feedback from users to understand what they need and not create something that they are not interested in and not willing to pay for. Also it often helps to attract the investors’ attention to your idea.

Creating something new is always hard, and doing well is doubly difficult

At the start of project development you have to understand the kind of challenges the team will be facing. First of all, with a minimum expenditure of time and money, we must get the answers to four key questions:

  • Is there really a need for your product?
  • Are people ready to pay for it?
  • Will the cost of attracting one buyer be lower than profit from them?
  • Is this project doable at all?

As a part of your startup concept, your idea is a hypothesis

To test it, you must do the following:

  1. Clearly formulate the hypothesis.
  2. Outline the criteria that will determine its viability.
  3. Make a minimum viable product to confirm the hypothesis, and launch it.
  4. Measure the performance indicators.
  5. Make the conclusions and move to testing the next hypothesis, if necessary.

MVP in any case does not mean the crude product made in a hurry. Minimum time must be spent on its development and it must contain only the key functions that are relevant to real users. Studies show that 60% of the features in most applications are not used, and, hence, are not popular among the users. MVP concept reduces the project starting time by employing only the necessary features and lets the startup to begin getting real feedback for their product. In the case of investments, you do not need to demonstrate the actual product. An investor may insist that he needs to see a ready application to consider an investment issue, but actually you can mockup your future merchandise through layout or interactive prototype. If you build a prototype, the investor will require the metrics rather than the item itself.

Now let’s see what can be regarded as MVP

Depending on the stage of the project and the availability of time/funds it can be very different things. Let us consider the possible MVP options from the viewpoint of technical complexity and labour cost.

Very simple MVPs, requiring no operational costs:

  • E-mail newsletters;
  • PowerPoint presentations;
  • Interface sketch;
  • Google AdWords or Yandex. Direct advertising.

More sophisticated versions of MVP, requiring little processing costs:

  • Landing page;
  • Button (banner) leading nowhere.

Sophisticated technical MVP variants:

  • Minimal functionality prototype;
  • Interconnected set of pages with transitions (for software and web projects).
The product is what we sell. Product sales are dependent on properly chosen message, audience and channel. This trio makes a set of initial testing hypotheses. The message is a value of the product that is brought through the appropriate channel before the selected audience. The audience should be specifically delineated and the channel should allow reaching the target audience for a reasonable price - at this stage spraying the strength would be too expensive and inefficient. As a result of MVP testing we get the first answers to the main questions, and we can plan further project work, including the reorientation, ideas completion, the introduction of new functions, etc. This can significantly reduce risks and create a truly working product. Therefore, the importance of MVP cannot be overestimated.
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