As years of experience show, 90 percent of startups fail in the very beginning because they are unclaimed in the market. More than half of the remaining ones close within the first year. Reason: errors in strategic planning.
What is an MVP, and why is it needed?
MVP, or Minimal Viable Product, is a relatively recent concept. It implies that before you release your innovative product to the market, you will create a prototype to test its main features and get feedback on its usability and public demand. The most logical and expedient way is to contract MVP development services for startups and, together with their experts, develop the concept of your MVP. However, before you meet with the developers, you need to have a clear understanding of what exactly is the uniqueness of your proposal and what exactly its characteristics you plan to explore in the first place. The formulation of such a technical task is preceded by painstaking preparatory work. Let’s look at its constituent elements.
How to start preparing the MVP concept?
First, decide which path seems most relevant to your idea. There are many options, but let’s first focus on the three most common:
- “Fantastic.” product. You are coming up with some kind of innovation, but you are not sure how much of what seems interesting and relevant to you will be appreciated by consumers. For example, you want to open a Hi-End audio mono-brand store, which will present the entire product line from a particular manufacturer – from multi-room acoustics to wires, light bulbs for panel illumination, and branded cloths for dusting receivers and DACs. Obviously, there is no point in investing in the initial purchase of a product and then in its advertising, promotion, and delivery. Your task at the first stage is to understand how exciting this idea will seem to your future buyers.
Obviously, you need to define your target audience, see how you can represent this new feature to them, and find out which segment of this product line is in high demand among these audiophiles. The most logical thing would be to create a prototype site for your “fantastic” store, displaying photos and descriptions of the equipment you are going to trade on it. Well-designed feedback forms will allow you to collect primary contacts and start communication with future buyers.
Suppose someone expresses an immediate readiness to purchase goods presented only in photos. In that case, nothing will prevent you from buying it from a distributor and sending it to the customer. It may happen that the number of calls or the willingness of clients to part with sums that make your trading economically feasible show you that this idea is not destined to explode the market. Well, at least you will not suffer significant losses. In addition, you will most likely be able to use both the site and the collected customer base to test another business idea. Moreover, after studying the initial mistakes and taking them into account in the next concept, it can turn out to be much more productive.
- MVP “running in” ideas. This method is somewhat similar to the previous one but has its own particularities. It is based upon the fact that at a very early stage, you study the viability of an idea or look for the most commercially attractive form of its presentation.
To do this, you can, for example, make a viral video showing how your yet non-existent project or service will work. This is the way, in particular, that the founder of the well-known Dropbox service went. The idea to create cloud storage that would make the user independent of material data carriers came to his mind when he went to a conference and only upon arrival discovered that he had forgotten the flash drive with the presentation at home.
Despite the revolutionary nature of the solution that came to mind, he first decided to find out how much it came up with and which method of paying for such a service would interest future customers. He created a video that received a positive response from 75,000 people. Naturally, this level of response gave him the understanding that he was on the right track.
Another striking example. Everyone probably knows the joke: “How to make a million? Write a book,” How to Become a Millionaire, “and sell a million copies for a dollar.” This anecdote was brought to life by Tim Ferris. He wrote a book on how to work four hours a week and get everything done. Then he posted about it on social networks and asked what name would be most catchy for future buyers. After conducting such a sounding of public opinion, he chose the most frequently encountered option, used it, and became the author of an international bestseller.
- Single-function MVP. When launching a new product, you should avoid the danger of hitting the impression of future consumers with a kind of “Swiss knife” and equip your development with the maximum possible functions. This will significantly increase the cost of the prototype and scatter the attention of your target audience. Instead, highlight your product’s main revolutionary feature and test it comprehensively. Even if you plan to create a combine in the future, it will be much more effective in obtaining effective feedback to present each function separately during the testing phase. At the same time, of course, you may well indicate in the description or the explanatory video that all these tools will be combined in one program in the future.
To confirm the effectiveness of this method, this is the path that the WhatsApp messenger chose at one time, the number of which today is approaching three hundred million.
As you can see, a minimally viable product can take on the most unexpected forms. The main requirements for it remain:
- minimum startup costs;
- the precise definition of the target audience and ways of representing this idea;
- a convincing presentation of the main features and finding out their innovativeness;
- providing sustainable and comprehensive feedback;
- Carefully substantiated economic analysis and drawing up a business plan that takes into account the information collected.
Don’t let the apparent ease of the above examples fool you. They benefited the authors of these startups precisely because they were correctly implemented. Everything mattered here: making a video, choosing suitable media and social networks, and promoting and organizing feedback. Therefore, in no case do not neglect the help of specialists. This will allow you to get a guaranteed result and avoid significant expenses in the future.