As a startup founder, I believe that innovation is the only key to success, and the first step towards creating a truly innovative, groundbreaking product is to create an MVP. Most innovations stem from frustration due to loss of productivity, lack of performance or having competing products consistently outperform yours. Startups encourage this spirit of innovation that helps them consistently reinvent themselves until they hit a sweet spot and reduce frustration levels to a minimum.
Innovators must also understand that nearly 70% of startups fail in their first year. According to a report by CBInsights, the reasons for these failures include:
- NO market need: 42%
- Underfunded: 29%
- Didn’t get the pricing right: 18%
- Did not have a business model: 17%
- Ignored customer requests: 14%
- Lacked the passion: 9%
- Suffered a burnout: 8%
- Could not pivot in time: 7%
Why is an MVP important for startups?
An MVP for startups is a way to attain product perfection and reduce chances of failure—one iteration at a time. An MVP essentially solves a particular problem in the simplest way possible without the added fluff of a full-fledged product. This helps startups to collate validated learning about their customer’s preferences without much effort, making it a win-win situation for everyone!
MVPs bring your company into the limelight quickly—often giving you the first-mover advantage for specific markets. Being out there is better than endlessly planning your product to perfection. Many startups used the MVP method over the years to test the waters before they launched their final product. Companies such as Airbnb, Groupon, Amazon, and Dropbox started with an MVP and took several iterations before transforming into their current avatars. Interested to know more? Here’s a list of some popular MVP examples and how they used to look during their early stage.
Dropbox began with a demo video that showcased their concept to people. Groupon began with a simple WordPress landing page. Amazon began in a garage through a small web page offering books for sale at prices lower than the competition, and Airbnb began as a simple ad-like web page. All these companies went through various iterations to become what they are today.
What are the advantages of creating an MVP?
MVPs offer many advantages to startups that conventional product development cannot. From understanding customer behaviour to getting the first-mover advantage, MVPs make it easy for startups to understand if their idea is viable in the long run and make adjustments to it accordingly—without breaking the bank. Here is a list of the top 5 reasons why MVPs are an excellent option for any startup:
You get to the market faster than the others
MVPs often take very little time to develop, enabling you to quickly bring your product to the market and get the first mover’s advantage. Additionally, MVPs can also help your startup evaluate your idea and its value proposition before creating an actual product. This helps you to iterate and create a better product for your customers.
You can easily perform market validation
MVPs are built for learning and understanding your product’s acceptance in the market with actual customers. You get to introduce your product and create some buzz for it before the launch, and this even helps you to nurture a community of potential buyers for your product.
Entrepreneurs favour MVPs for rapid, iterative development. This means that you get your MVP out there, get inputs from customers and quickly make these changes to create a product they will appreciate and love.
Iterate until you get it right
Almost no one gets it right the first time around. MVPs help you iterate, pivot and create a learning-driven product that can easily match the expectations of your potential customers. Remember Airbnb? It took them a few tries to finally get it right.
Build products without breaking the bank
MVPs help you create exceptional products without spending thousands (or millions) of dollars in development and marketing costs. As the entry cost is low, you can easily create multiple iterations of your MVP till you can finally build the products your customers need.
Are there any disadvantages? Let’s see
Not everything is good about MVP development. Here are some drawbacks of MVPs that can cause you to go back to the drawing board more often than required or abandon ship. Here are the top disadvantages of the MVP approach:
- Loss of focus
It is easy to lose focus while developing an MVP. Iterative development regimens require focus, commitment and being extremely tactical and targeted about what you want your end product to be. Else, you might end up spending more than you bargained for.
- The competition may catch up
Understand that others might have the same idea as you and your competition might catch up faster than you expect. Others might also see your product, find its shortcomings, improve it and create a niche product for themselves that is better than yours and make you lose market share.
- The wrong tech stack for the job
You may take time to find the right tech stack and architecture for what you set out to build. Often, this experience can be harrowing, expensive and cause unexpected delays.
The difference between POCs, MVPs and Prototypes
You may know what an MVP is, but you may not understand the difference between an MVP, a PoC or proof of concept and a prototype. It is essential to understand the differences between the three before you begin.
An easy way to understand these is that you first create a Proof of Concept from your idea to figure out the technical feasibility of your idea. Once you’ve figured that out, you create a prototype to see if your product is desirable from a user’s perspective. Once you’ve sorted that bit, you can create an MVP to get feedback from customers about your product. So PoC > Prototype > MVP is the general progression of an idea.
An MVP is not a PoC
You create MVPs after you have developed a PoC and understand that there is technology available to help you create a solution to solve the problem you’re trying to address. A proof of concept validates that you can transform your idea into a product. You will know whether that product will be viable or not, will customers like it or not, and is there a demand for it before it transitions into an MVP.
An MVP is not a prototype
A prototype showcases the “flow” of your product. Prototypes help you implement design concept validations and get immediate feedback if any changes are needed. Software prototypes are clickable wireframes that demonstrate how software may work. Prototypes do not necessarily transform into viable products without research, user validation and thorough groundwork.
An MVP is—well, an MVP
This sounded a bit cheesy, but I thought I’d go with it. An MVP is that version of a product that has enough features to attract early adopters and validate a product idea early in the product lifecycle. This product has already seen a Proof of Concept, been prototyped and developed into an actual product.
In short, once you create a version of your product that customers are willing to pay for, you have your first MVP ready.
Who should go for an MVP?
If you’re an entrepreneur who has figured out an innovative solution to an actual problem or an underserved need of your customers, you’re ready to build your first MVP. If you’ve created a prototype for your product and need to develop an actual working solution for early adopters, you’re ready for an MVP. If you’ve found out your product’s purpose, its ideal users, and thought of a format to build it with, you’re ready for an MVP.
And Volumetree can help you build your MVP
We’ve spent years helping first-time entrepreneurs and experienced businessmen launch their first MVP in the market. Our global reach and access to a vast talent pool ensure that we have all the resources your idea needs to succeed. What’s great about our approach is that we throw in a free 15-minute consultation with our product experts to help you understand if your idea is viable or needs more research. We built our collaborative approach to form a long-term relationship with our clients so we can be a part of your success story. Team Volumetree is proud to be a part of the success story of many first-time startups, established businesses and government initiatives! Let us help you create a world-class product that we can be proud of!