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What does MVP has to do in Startup?

Way back in 1957, Ford Motors faced one if its toughest product failures when new model “Edsel” was released at a premium price. The Americans at that point were looking for small-sized and economic models instead, which caused ‘Edsel’ to exit from the market in 1960. HP touchpad is another fine example of product failure. Launched in 2009, it was knocked off the store shelves in a matter of 49 days, since people felt that it had no differentiated feature and worked similar to other tablets available in marketplace. These companies had spent a fortune on the product development, design, marketing and launch. Not to forget the man hours and time spent that culminated into ‘nothing’.

The success of product launch is significantly dependent on its approval or rejection from consumers. This one uncertain opinion from the real users can make all the difference. Uncertainty is therefore the biggest enemy for any business; especially so if it is a start-up which just cannot afford to fail, given its limited resources and other constraints. Therefore, it is important to know if the prospective customers shall be interested in your product or not. It is even more crucial to find this out before developing the final product and investing a fortune. So, how do we do it?

Start-ups across the globe are adopting the concept of MVP- ‘Minimum Viable Product’ to ensure that they are on right track. Let us find out what is it.

What is MVP?

MVP is a development technique which helps in building an initial version of the complete product, ready enough to be used by early adopters. The complete product is only designed and developed after receiving sufficient feedback from the users. Thus ensuring that the final product is far more valuable and centric to real needs of the marketplace. The MVP users buy the product as they are aware of its future vision and believe in the promise and value that it will deliver in the long run.

A MVP, before its launch, is expected to have the following features:-

  • Value Proposition: it should offer bare minimum value for users to buy it willingly
  • Future Vision: It should have a clear vision so that users stay interested for a long-term
  • Feedback loop: There should be a continuous loop of feedback-learning-development to trigger the final product.

Now, that we know what MVP is, let us look deeper into its benefits.

Why to prepare MVP

As emphasized earlier, MVP can curb product failures and lead to greater acceptance of final product. They save cost and efforts and tell us whether or not a certain product shall work in the market. Besides these benefits, here are a few questions that preparing a MVP can help you to answer:-

  • If a product should be built in the first place? Do consumers really need it?
  • Is it solving a problem that people will find worth paying for?
  • Will it be sustainable in long run?
  • How much iteration does it need before it can be finally launched?
  • Is the price point apt or does it need to be re-evaluated?
  • What are the learnings from the launch and the actionable metrics thereof to make it a grand success?

Another great benefit is that by the time you launch the product; it shall already be widely popular in the marketplace and will have an existing user-base.

After knowing the benefits of MVP, we are sure that you would like to create one. The following section thus brings you a few important points to look at before designing a good MVP.

Points to consider while designing MVP

The following points should be considered while creating a MVP to generate best results.

Feature Selection: Select limited but most appropriate features after a thorough feedback from the clients on their actual needs and their future goals.

Client Feedback: Pay utmost attention to client feedback as it is the most crucial instrument in helping you design an acceptable product.

Deliver Value: Right from the first product release, deliver substantial value to your consumers so that they are willing to buy it in the initial stage. Keeping you customer happy since the 1st stage works wonder in retention through the reiteration cycles.

Choose your method correctly– Carefully evaluate the methodology that will work better in developing your MVP- Agile or Waterfall method.

Prototype Stage: Don’t skip the prototype stages as it shall help you reduce risk and increase viability.

Once the MVP is developed, there are various tests to check if it is successful or not, about which we will read in our following section.

How to asses MVP

Be sure that your product is a MVP and not a prototype. While MVP is the initial stage of the final product, with minimum features and worth some purchase value, Prototype may or may not attain the stage of a final product. Prototyping is about entering a realm of exploration- whether an idea is good or bad, will work or not and should be converted into a product or not.

Hope that we have been able to establish the importance of MVP.