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Top 8 Mistakes to Avoid for Startups

Nov 29, 2022



8 Mistakes To Avoid While Building MVP For Startups

It’s smart to learn from your mistakes, but it’s even smarter if you learn from other’s mistakes. The same applies to building an MVP for your next startup. You don’t have to make a failed attempt while launching an MVP when you can learn from the common mistakes and eventually launch a successful one.

That’s precisely what we have elaborated on in this article. Bringing a list of eight common mistakes that most startup owners make before and while building an MVP.

However, before that, you must understand what MVP is.

MVP is the initial version of the app that you want to build. It has just enough features to grab the attention of users and potential investors before you launch a fully-fledged app.

What is the Purpose of MVP?

But why launch a half-functional version when you can launch the app itself?

  • To validate the ultimate idea
    You saw a problem faced by people in their day-to-day lives, and you had an idea to solve the problem with a startup. But what if you had the wrong idea? You can’t risk launching an app to validate your idea. MVP comes into play because it is low risk, low cost, and needs less time to launch.
  • To understand consumer needs
    Maybe you were wrong when identifying the problem. Maybe they don’t need the app you want to create. Maybe they need something else. Get rid of these maybe(s) by launching an MVP. Collect customer feedback before developing the final app.
  • To save the overall costs
    Startups rarely have the budget for building a fully functional app, and they don’t even have investors in the initial process. Building an MVP can be a smart choice to save on the overall cost and attract investors in the initial stage.

Beware Of These 8 Mistakes When Building MVP For Startups

After noticing several startups making the same mistakes, here are eight mistakes that many startup owners make while building their MVPs. We do so, hoping you don’t make them. With that hope, here comes the first mistake to avoid.

1. Forgetting that it’s MVP, not a final product

If you think your MVP doesn’t look perfect, then it’s perfect. Remember, it’s called a Minimum Viable Product for a reason. It is supposed to provide only the most essential features and nothing more than that.

A few DON’Ts to follow to make sure you don’t over-engineer the next MVP:

  • Don’t make every feature from scratch but remember to make use of existing libraries
  • Don’t cater to everyone at this stage
  • Don’t build a dozen of useless features but build only the two most valuable features
  • Don’t generate codes you wouldn’t be able to use in the later revisions
  • Don’t spend over three months building an MVP

In the end, don’t under engineer your MVP. Ironic enough? We know, but it’s important to remember that a start-up shouldn’t develop a low-quality product in the name of an MVP.

2. Feature-overloaded MVP

We understand the urge to fill your first-ever MVP with features for the best user experience. Though, overloading the MVP with features can be a fatal mistake and result in “kitchen sink syndrome.”

Adding features one after the other will increase the time and cost needed to build an MVP, which refutes the entire purpose of building one.

Employ the MOSCoW matrix method to understand what features to add and what to keep on hold. The table mentioned below elaborates on what the MoSCoW matrix stands for.

M Must have
S Should have
C Could have
W Won’t have

This matrix talks about the features of MVP and what impact, risk, and effort each feature can have.

Must have

  • Provide high value
  • Have high impact
  • Takes low effort
  • Have low risk
Should have
  • Have high impact
  • Takes too much effort
  • Have high risk
  • Can be saved for final app version
Could have
  • Low-value feature
  • Easy to develop
  • Have low risk
Won’t have
  • Not to be included

Follow the MoSCoW matrix as a bible for including MVP features, and you will never have too much or too little of them.

3. Not learning from the feedback

MVP is supposed to be a testing version of your app that you will eventually improve by incorporating user feedback. During this process, ignoring user feedback is something you can’t afford.

Listening is a virtue, as they say. Hence, instead of being adamant about your project idea, interview users and try to solve their problem by iterations in MVP (more on iterations later in the article).

A product made without user feedback is a product that no one wants. Consider people’s real-life problems and solve the most important part of the problem through MVP.

Customers won’t pay you for the solution you think they need, but they will pay you for the solution to the concern they are facing.

Sacrificing security and privacy

You can’t make a bigger mistake than neglecting the security and private information of end-users of an MVP. Safeguarding the privacy of users should be of the utmost priority. We have all seen giant apps like WhatsApp face the dire consequences of breaching user data, financially and otherwise.

Users’ top cybersecurity concerns include

  • Cybercrime
  • Stolen identity
  • Data privacy

Measures to incorporate for building a safe MVP:

  • Use multiple authentication protocols, like passwords and biometrics
  • If your MVP includes the use of credit cards, use strong encryption like PGP and AES
  • In case of online payment feature, incorporate PSD2 compliance
  • Frameworks like ISO27001 and NIST should be part of the security culture
  • The developing team should know concepts like Security by Design, Privacy by Design, Security by Default, and Privacy by Default

5. Slow iterations

Startups solve a concern that an entrepreneur notices in society. He then comes up with a solution as an MVP. It may happen that the first version of MVP may not solve the problem most desirably. It’s the duty of the founder to come up with more and more versions of the same MVP with the needed revisions.

Moving from one iteration to another has to be speedy so the product finds the perfect fit ASAP. MVPs are improved, so learning from the experience and making fast iterations, one after the other is the only way to succeed.

Another factor that influences the speed of iterations is the method employed by the developers. Mainly, there are two methodologies: Agile and Waterfall. Agile is modern, and waterfall is traditional in its approach. Employing the agile method can help you make fast iterations, thanks to its weekly-based result practice, which allows you to change the project’s direction.

6. Improper monetization strategy

It’s all about the money in the end. It will eventually go south if you don’t have a proper monetization strategy. The extra shebang can and should wait until the MVP is built.

However, it’s an entirely different story for monetization. MVP building is the perfect stage to think about how the money will come in.
Though there is less money involved in building an MVP than a full-blown app, it is still substantial. Having a clear idea of how you will recover these costs through MVP keeps you on the safe side, monetarily.

You must have seen many apps monetizing their services later when they get successful. The problem arises when users don’t get comfortable paying for an app they could use for free initially.

Twitter faced a similar backlash from users when they tried coming up with “super follows,” which required users to pay a subscription fee for reading tweets from high profiles.

Hence, it’s better to ease users into paying a minimal fee in the MVP stage so they don’t feel uncomfortable with the transition later.

A few ideas in which you can monetize your MVP:

  • In-app adds
  • In-app purchases
  • Subscription models
  • Paid mobile apps
  • Premium models

7. Inefficient team

What is more important to executing a project than the team behind it while we wait here? Still, many startups make the mistake of hiring an inefficient team. Here, we present possible solutions to this problem.

A team for building an MVP may include mentors, designers, advisors, technical stakeholders, and more professionals, depending on your niche.

There are three ways to form a team:

  • Hire a software development company
  • Pick professional freelancers
  • Find a technical co-founder or a CTO

Let’s discuss what will happen if you choose any of these options, respectively.

  • If you decide on a software development company, they will find the right fit of talent needed for different tasks in building MVP. This can be a great option if you have the budget and not enough time to constantly be on the feedback loop with the developers.
  • If you pick professional freelancers, you must select them separately as designers, developers, consultants, and others. However, on the bright side, you can employ them according to your needs and budget. For instance, if you’re a technical founder, you wouldn’t have to hire another.
  • If you hire a full-time CTO or technical founder, it can pay off in the long run. However, finding a CTO with the right soft and hard skills and who also lies in the budget is difficult.

8. Not Choosing The Right Development Partner

This mistake may sound similar to the one above. However, it is a little different. The right development partner understands your needs, expectations, and motivations correctly.

Finding the right development partner can be a tricky task when you are exposed to so many options in the market. Although there are very few quality developers who provide quality services while staying within budget.

Characteristics of the right MVP development partner:

  • Understands long-term vision
  • Provides improved MVP from the first iteration
  • Helps in releasing fast
  • Commits no compromise in security and privacy
  • Lies in the budget
  • Has the right experience and portfolio

Avoid making these mistakes to build a successful MVP

These were the common mistakes that startups usually make while building MVPs. Make sure you don’t make them, and it’s perfectly normal if you make a few other ones. At the end of the day, it’s about learning from the process.

We hope you have sorted out the post-launch of your MVP, designing a distinctive logo, tone of voice, marketing strategies, social media presence, talking to your industry’s influencers, and other important tasks.

We wish you good luck with a successful MVP release. We hope you have a successful app release someday as well.

Frequently Asked Questions FAQs

1. Why is MVP essential for startups?

Building MVP helps save overall costs, reduce risk, gain early buyers for the project, and improve the idea of the final app. Most startups can’t afford to release a full-blown app initially, which isn’t worth the risk. So, releasing an MVP first is always a good way to start.

What are the common mistakes made by startups while building MVP?

Startups make the following common mistakes while building an MVP:

  • Hiring an inefficient team
  • Not choosing the right development partner
  • Slow iterations
  • Ignoring the safety and privacy of users
  • Improper monetization strategy
  • Not giving importance to feedback
  • Overloading MVP with features
  • Forgetting that it’s MVP, not the final product

How to make the perfect MVP for a startup?

Building a perfect MVP is not that difficult if you notice the common mistakes startups make while building their MVPs. Choose the right MVP development partner, and don’t commit mistakes that other startups have made previously.

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Prakash Pilley, Client Services Director
Prakash Pilley

Client Services Director