Let’s imagine your startup is the next Uber, Stripe, or Airbnb. That’s a good mindset to begin with, but how do you make sure it is true? And if it is, how do you get others to believe in it?
The answer is simple — develop an MVP. In this article, you will find out why it is worth doing, how to do it properly, and we will look at some inspiring examples of how MVP has helped startups to thrive.
What is MVP?
Having a goal to make the world a better place is plausible motivation, but you need to start with something concrete. The same goes for startups. No matter how big your idea is, you should develop it step by step.
Minimum Viable Product is your idea compressed to its most crucial functions. Nevertheless, it is not a beta version or prototype. It is a ready-to-use product that delivers some certain value.
The goal is to test your idea on the market with its primary features. Later, you can elaborate on it, but for the MVP it is important that user can experience the functionality. Therefore, when making an MVP, you must pay attention to usability as well.
Why make an MVP?
You may wonder why one should first spend money, time, and effort on making some basic product, and then spend even more money to improve it. Why not making it properly from the very beginning?
That may seem logical, but developing an MVP gives you an array of benefits:
Validation of the concept
Most people are used to deal with the problems they face using means they already know. It is the role of the entrepreneur to offer them new, better, more efficient solutions. However, even the entrepreneur may make false assumptions. That is why all of the hypotheses they develop should be tested and proved.
“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
Proof of the concept (POC) is a strategic solution to try out your idea on the market and see if it is viable and in demand. By doing so, you will discover if there is a need for your product, rather than pursue its development on assumption alone. MVP is an essential part of this, but if POC is more about hypothetical questions, MVP is more practical and shows the entrepreneur how well the product will be accepted by the target audience.
It saves your time and effort
Many startups invest in delivering an impeccable product to the market and then get no traction. This approach drains the strength and budget of the startup, all to no avail. Again, the solution here is MVP, as this is the simplest version of your product that can still deliver value, so it does not take much time to produce.
With it, you can go directly to users and get their feedback, so that next version will be in high demand and be exactly what your audience wanted.
Funding is a crucial issue for most startups. You are lucky if you have the resources to finance the whole business by yourself, but mostly this is not the case. To get people convinced that your project is worth spending money on, you should have something more than just a nice presentation. Most investors are not even going to listen to what you say, unless you have something to back up your words.
This is where MVP comes in handy again. By showcasing it and proving that your product already has some traction at this primary stage, you will definitely increase your chances of getting funds from investors. The same is true for most incubators.
Minimization of development cost
The more complicated the idea, the more resources it requires to implement it. At the stage when your startup is not yet profitable, it is wise to spend wisely. That is why considering MVP is a reasonable solution. Further on, you can invest in a flawless UI design with lots of nice features, but first make sure the functionality delivers value that customers want to pay for.
By starting with MVP, you make sure that you are not wasting a fortune on a project that will end up not being profitable. Unlike a more complex product that will require a bigger tech team to develop and support it, MVP can be created with the help of few experts and they don’t even have to be part of your startup. We at Intersog have a solution for businesses for that very early stage, where we can help you create an MVP. To find out more about it, contact us.
Who has done MVP?
To substantiate all the benefits mentioned above, here are some examples of great businesses, that started with MVP, which contributed much to their success.
Uber. All that Uber did in the first version of the mobile app was to connect drivers with customers and facilitate payment. This seems primitive. However, this is exactly what allowed Uber to enter the market quickly, receive feedback, and gradually create a multi-billion-dollar business. Today Uber has a much more complex application with hundreds of features.
Snapchat. The main concept of Snapchat is that images and messages are available for a short time. Students at Stanford University Evan Spiegel, Bob Murphy, and Frank “Reggie” Brown decided to implement an unusual idea in an educational project — an instant messenger with messages that “self-destructed” 10 seconds after reading. The first version of the app, launched in 2011, was only for iOS devices and for sending photos. By May 2017, Snapchat had 166 million active users daily.
Foursquare. The MVP version of Foursquare initially allowed check-ins and awards for them in the form of badges. After studying user responses, the MVP app developers began to expand its capabilities, adding recommendations and city guides. Today, the service brings together 50 million people who have checked in 8 billion times.
So, if you are at the stage where you have an idea for a startup but don’t know how to begin, the answer should be clear now — make an MVP. For that, you won’t need to go out and hire IT development team immediately, if you don’t do your own coding. It makes much more sense to outsource this task, test the concept, and if it works you can then consider building your team or expand the outsourced one.
We at Intersog are happy to help you with this small but crucial step.