Should you gamble on an idea for an app or on the assumption about how your potential consumers will respond to it?
You shouldn’t. Right?
Building a software application can be a risky investment for a business if it is not approached with care. Considering the fact that even the most well-researched app concept has poor user download and retention rates.
But, what’s the way out?
The best approach to building a successful product is to build a minimum viable product (MVP) before building the complete product. Not only do MVPs help you get your projects through the pipeline faster, but they also enable you to test your product idea in the market and gather valuable customer feedback.
Before you wonder more about the benefits of building an MVP, let’s know them.
Following are the key reasons why startups, as well as enterprises, prefer building an MVP first:
An MVP contains just enough functionality to fulfill users’ needs. So you can just choose your project’s primary value—one crucial function that certainly meets users’ requirements—and build an MVP around it.
Attempting to build a feature-rich application from scratch and watch it fail is much more difficult than creating an MVP and testing an idea’s viability. So when you doubt your idea’s success, you better focus on a small piece of core functionality and make it as great as possible.
Users who engage with the simplified version (MVP) of your product are valuable, as they demonstrate an interest in the product’s core value and can provide valuable feedback. Your first customers and real feedback on your concept are crucial. Besides, an MVP will enable you to discover more about your target market, including their problems, interests, preferences, and purchasing behavior.
An MVP allows a product owner to determine whether their venture is distinct from other products on the market. By putting the greatest strengths of their product in the forefront and showing how it solves users’ issues, an MVP provides a simple way to test the idea in the actual market scenario.
Having a well-developed minimum viable product is critical for attracting investors. If investors like your MVP, it will corroborate the viability of your business idea. Therefore, you will have an easier time finding funding for future development scope.
Alright, the benefits realized by MVP are lucrative enough to consider it. But how do you build an MVP?
Presuming that you already have an idea and a plan of action, as well as an understanding of the target audience, your first priority is to get your product concept to the market as quickly as possible.
Your next steps are to minimize unnecessary activities and focus on the following steps:
Every iteration of your development process should be focused on a defined goal, and so does your MVP.
Generally, MVPs have the following goals:
A minimum viable product should first and foremost address a core problem facing customers. You can establish the viability of your idea by creating a website in which the balance between what you are offering and what your customers want is deliberately tight.
An MVP allows you to establish how much customers desire your product by seeing how quickly they are willing to install and use it.
Building an MVP focuses on simplifying the design of your app, limiting the number of features, and addressing a problem your target audience has in order to launch with less money, time, and effort and attract initial customers.
Using this approach, startups can launch with less money, time, and effort, as well as find initial clients more quickly. The ultimate goal behind building an MVP is to convey your idea even if you have a low budget.
The lean startup methodology’s core tenets—build, measure, learn—are fulfilled by an MVP. In addition, an MVP makes it easier to learn from initial customers than without one.
With an MVP, you can track the following metrics to gather customer feedback:
Using such metrics data, you can improve your development process.
A report by CB Insights found that 35% of startups fail because there is no need for their offerings in the market.
For instance, Quibi, a mobile-focused streaming service that shut down in October 2020 after just six months in operation and having raised $1.8B, found itself in this position.
According to Quibi founder Jeffrey Katzenberg and chief executive Meg Whitman, there were two possible reasons for the steaming service’s failure. One, the idea behind the product wasn’t strong enough to justify a stand-alone streaming service. Or two, the service was launched in the middle of the pandemic.
Be it any case; this example clearly states that researching the market thoroughly is essential for new products.
Hence, in order to properly serve your customers, you must deeply examine who they are, what habits they have, what problems they face, and how you might help them. OnePoll and Toluna are just a few of the many web platforms that can help you build a detailed picture of your target customer.
Before you begin developing your MVP, you must decide on its format.
In some instances, you must build a working product. For example, if you want to create a new dating application, you’ll have to do so. Dating apps are prevalent, with two, in particular, dominating the market. Even if you reduce the functions, creating a mobile dating application would be an enormous and costly undertaking.
So, what do you do?
You could create a PWA (progressive web application) dating application in lieu of a mobile app. The costs will be less, the market time significantly shorter, and it will be a lot simpler to get your MVP in front of users if you don’t put it on the app store. In the end, the PWA may be adequate in terms of product format.
While in other cases, showcasing the product idea in an MVP format is enough. This works with product concepts that are innovative and new to the market.
After completing the first three stages of developing an MVP, you should outline the user flow. A user flow is the steps customers will take in your app to complete a task.
For instance, if we envision the user’s end goal as reaching a particular city, the user flow is the road that leads customers to their desired destination.
Here is how you can define user flow:
Here is an example of a user flow diagram for a bank app. You can create something similar depending on your product.
The next step is to sketch out all the feasible functions of your application or website. You can get a notion of what customers want by listing out every function.
For an MVP, a concentrated approach is more successful than trying to include every feature. Targeting a small chunk of target users is better than having a half-soured feature soup.
For example, suppose that you are about to build a vehicle in a world of bullock carts, and you believe that customers want to get from point A to point B as rapidly as possible. However, building a vehicle will consume a lot of time and money. So, to test your theory, you first build a minimum viable product.
You supply skateboards—a rudimentary device that addresses the identified issue and assists people in moving faster—to see if your target audience is interested. If you were correct, you might now add some other features until you are ready to construct a vehicle.
Hence, the best strategy is to start small by introducing the features that are crucial to proving the viability of your concept.
The minimum viable product minimizes the time through the Build-Measure-Learn loop.
Remember not to bother with perfection at this phase. The only goal is to release the app as soon as possible in order to test assumptions without a lot of risks.
The sooner real users can try the product, the better. Their input will establish whether or not developing the sort of application you want is a good idea or whether it would be a total waste of time and money.
There are several ways of building an MVP – Concierge or Fake Door, Low-Code/No-Code, and Custom MVP.
Concierge MVP or Fake Door
Concierge MVP outlines your main product concept, which you personally execute.
For instance, if you want to build an MVP for a grocery app with the concierge MVP method, you’d collect a list of available grocery providers in excel and show it to your local chefs (who are your intended audience). Then, based on the chefs’ reactions, interests, and even demands, you can estimate the success of your app.
Whereas with the Fake Door MVP method, you’d build something that is very close to the real solution.
In the previous example, rather than building spreadsheets, you provide an app with a fake door MVP and ask customers to take the desired action. For this, you create a simple landing page with a catchy title describing the app’s key objective and ask customers to act on it. For instance, you might create a CTA button with the text ‘Click here and get the best groceries in the city!’ If users click it, you can assume there is demand for your app.
No-code / low-code solutions
With no-code and low-code solutions, you can develop an MVP more rapidly, but you will still be in the same position as those who use concierge services or fake doors.
These approaches are fast and allow you to test the viability of your business, but they provide limited functionality and limited customization options. It is also difficult to scale no-code solutions.
Low-code solutions may be used when building an MVP, but you will still need custom development as your product grows and scales.
The custom MVP is a custom app your development team builds from the ground up. Engineers suggest the optimal technology stack, app architecture, logic, and interface design before development begins.
Once you approve these critical things, the team begins coding. It usually takes up to 1000 development hours to create an MVP. During this time, a project manager and business analyst keep you informed about the progress, challenges, and solutions to them. They also keep an eye on potential competitors to help them develop a better products.
Achieving MVP perfection takes a lot of work, but the last step—gathering early customer feedback—is critical. Only after you receive feedback you’ll be able to determine where you should focus your product development efforts.
It is crucial to carefully analyze the feedback to determine how to improve your product. You may need to build and measure several versions of your MVP before you have a competitive MVP that is sufficiently high-quality to serve as the foundation for your project.
Airbnb, UBER, Dropbox, and many others were just small ideas until they were tested in the real world. The real catch is to test the business idea quickly, with minimum effort.
An MVP helps build products according to the needs and preferences of real users, not just startup founders or investors. This workflow helps product managers ensure their product has an audience that uses, loves, and pays for it.
Thus, start small, learn fast, commit to iterative development, and build a perfect launchpad for your startup’s success with Innovify. Our team of software experts can turn your business idea into reality by building scaled MVP products with amazing features, designs, development, and continuous testing and obtaining a strong market presence.