When startups have determined their business idea and their team ready, the next step is to start building their first actual product. However, since almost every 3 seconds a new startup is found in the world, every startup has to combat a lot of competition (GEM National Report). Moreover, the same report shows that only 10% of the startup ideas actually survive, which makes it all the more important to develop a product that actually adds value to the market that it caters to.
In order to ensure that your product is liked, wanted, and that people are willing to pay for it, your startup has to get to know its target audience. Starting with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) instead of a fully-fledged product is an ideal way to achieve this. An MVP contains just those features that allow it to fulfill its primary function (that which makes the app viable), which saves both developing costs and time. However, an MVP is more than a clickable demo or UX prototype; it is the most basic version of the mature application that you are aiming for.
By developing an MVP before your mature application, your startup can interact with early adopters right from the get-go. In effect, your startup can gather feedback, circumvent obstacles, and focus each iteration toward satisfying the target audience instead of cooking up random “nice” features that might be received well. Consequently, your startup can focus its energy and money on the step that matters most, which allows you to spend each investment more wisely. It is no surprise, then, that 80% of the disruptive startup ideas started as MVPs first.
Since your MVP will be tested by real users, your team will get answers to questions such as:
- Which features does my target audience like?
- Does this align with the application’s primary function or should it be refocused?
- Will the target audience be willing to pay for the application?
- How much would they be willing to pay for it?
- How can we iterate our application to serve the target audience even better?
The answers to these questions will optimize your application’s UI and UX, which will clarify your application‘s primary function and make it intuitive to use. In effect, your startup can prevent blunders such as Microsoft removing the Windows 8 start button simply because their focus group said so. The consequence of removing just 1 button made Windows 8 one of Microsoft’s least favorite operating systems ever.
The feedback gathered from your target audience will help your startup to remove unnecessary features, outline a clear roadmap, and calculate the corresponding costs. In effect, your startup will be armed with the perfect tools to pitch its product to investors, namely a working prototype that has:
- Its primary function validated
- Various feedback numbers generated
- The price that the target audience is willing to pay verified
- The timeframe for development assessed
- The costs for each next step calculated
In effect, investors can calculate exactly how long it will take before they can expect their investment to pay off. In addition, your MVP gives investors an immediate and tangible look & feel for the product that your startup will develop and not some abstract idea that they have to picture for themselves.
Thus, although the speed that technology progresses at enables infinite development possibilities, it also causes markets to saturate faster. Aiming for a “perfect” solution might cause your startup to show up too late to the dance, leaving your team not just with a useless product, but probably also in debt. A fast launch is thus more important than providing an all-inclusive IT solution. Since MVPs generally stay within a 2-3 month development time, they offer the perfect solution for today’s technological climate.
Develop your own MVP
Remember, your MVP must deliver the value that it is supposed to deliver, and has to be appealing enough to attract a core group of early adopters. If your MVP is able to tackle these initial demands, the various iterations that follow will naturally lead your product toward perfection. If you want to see what the MVP possibilities are for your startup idea, click here