• 4 MIN READ
How an MVP Helps a Product Enter the Market
September 29, 2023
If you have an ambitious idea to create an app for your business, and you’ve already got an idea about how it will work — that’s great news. But before you start developing anything, it’s better to test the viability of your concept and lay the foundation for smooth development.
A minimum viable product (MVP) is the first version of your application with all the basic features you need. An MVP is more advanced than a prototype because it is already a functional application but less complex than a full-fledged app. In this article, we have collected everything you need to know on this topic.
What Is an MVP?
The term MVP was coined by Eric Ries, a famous American entrepreneur. Its goal is to bring a product or service to the market in its most basic but functional form, allowing companies to test it without spending a lot of time, money, and development effort. This approach has become indispensable for both startups and established large corporations.
The idea is as follows: you have defined how the product should work and created the first version. You need to launch it and collect the maximum amount of feedback to find areas for improvement. If the product starts to gain momentum and the number of downloads grows, you can upgrade the app, add new features, and pump up the design. Additional resources will be then invested in the working idea, and the non-working ideas will simply be removed without significant losses.
Note that an MVP is not a release of an unfinished or substandard product. On the contrary, it is minimalism and flexibility combined. By launching a product sufficient to test a hypothesis, companies aim to determine market response at minimal cost.
Benefits of the MVP Approach
What can you achieve with an MVP? You can do several important things: pitch a project, attract funding, connect with your audience, and test ideas in real-life conditions. And there are other benefits:
Fast results in a short timeframe. MVPs provide quick feedback, sometimes in a couple of months. By eliminating unnecessary steps and focusing on core functions, companies can quickly determine what works and what doesn’t.
Anticipating problems through documentation. A well-documented MVP strategy acts as a compass during product development. It serves as a tangible reference point, pointing out potential pitfalls and ensuring consistent alignment.
Incremental execution of your ambitious vision. An MVP, although minimalistic, is the starting point of a much larger vision. It represents a framework that will evolve and undergo radical changes based on market feedback and changing conditions.
The Role of MVPs in Scaling a Business
For businesses looking to scale, MVPs offer three main benefits.
- An MVP allows you to mitigate risks. Even if an idea is in demand, other factors can ruin it, such as poor technical implementation or ineffective marketing. Risks cannot be eliminated completely, but they can be managed.
- It optimises the use of resources. Instead of spending available resources on details, you leave only the key component of the product and work on that. This is much cheaper than creating a new Facebook/YouTube/Spotify from scratch, and this approach saves not only money but also time.
- An MVP increases flexibility and adaptability. You can still add all the features you want in the future when the idea is already tested and verified. If a particular element doesn’t resonate with the audience, the business can pivot without much loss. And most importantly, you don’t need to recreate the app, and you still have resources left.
In addition, at the heart of the MVP concept is customer feedback. As a business scales, maintaining a customer-centric approach is key to building loyalty and achieving sustainable growth.
MVP Is an Iterative Process
Iteration is the repetition of a process to produce a result. In the case of an MVP, it works like this: a team designs, develops, tests, and delivers the product to the client, then the client gives feedback, and the process is repeated if something needs to be improved, changed, or removed.
An MVP provides a way to test in real-world environments, allowing you to gain invaluable insights from real users. If a product doesn’t work at the MVP stage, companies can either rethink their strategy or find innovative alternatives. It is this ability to adapt, combined with customer feedback, that transforms the MVP approach from merely strategic to indispensable. This allows companies to remain flexible, resilient, and constantly responsive to customer needs.
MVP in Action: Case Studies
There is no universal MVP recipe. Let’s talk about minimum viable products that have already been tested on the market and evolved into well-known applications.
- Twitter (X)
Twitter started as a side project within the podcasting company Odeo. The original idea was to create a platform for employees to share short status updates. The founders quickly realised the potential of the concept and decided to focus on it. They launched a simple MVP version that allowed users to post 140-character messages, and the platform quickly gained popularity. The success of the app can be attributed to the effective communication and engagement features that were present even in the early stages.
Spotify, a popular music streaming service, began as a small startup that aimed to provide users with legal access to music. Initially, the platform was just a mono-functional MVP. The name speaks for itself — the founders took the most important feature and used it to make an MVP back in 2005. They focused on creating a simple and intuitive user interface. The initial version of Spotify allowed users to search and listen to music in streaming mode. The company then used user feedback to improve and expand its features and eventually became one of the leading platforms.
There are cases when functionality is not needed at all, and it is enough to create a landing page. It will attract the first leads, check the viability of the service, and allow you to gradually move towards the finished product. Buffer, an American social media account management service, followed this path. Its founders started with a simple MVP that only had a description of the features and the option to sign up for the newsletter. The next version only supported scheduling tweets. They tested the market and saw the demand for their product. User validation encouraged further development of the platform.
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