What Does MVP Mean? Everything You Need to Know
Business is booming, and its bounties are ample. But not your business, at least not just yet. Your firm is in the making, as are your vision, mission, and strategy to take over the world. (Actually, everything you do is in the making.)
As an entrepreneur in the cut-throat world of tech, you want to reach results fast, wasting as little time and as few resources as possible. You also need a team, a website, and cash, of course. But to have these, you should have something: an early stage build of your product. Something real that you can show people, not just a logo. You need a minimum viable product, an MVP. But what is that exactly? Read on and find out!
MVP stands for minimum viable product – that much you already know. But what it is a physical embodiment of your business idea, something you can (proudly) show to critiques you trust, people you want to hire and most importantly, prospective investors who need to get a full understanding what it is they may be investing in.
An MVP is a simplified, but functional realization of your concept that can be interpreted fully with little to no added explanation. Something that is not final, but has enough invested effort to get future stakeholders engaged and sitting on the edge of their seat. It aims to validate your idea, provoke feedback for necessary iterations and tunings. For example, a logo + 3D render + description text is not an MVP, but a 3D-printed early build is. A fancy graphic plan for an app is not an MVP, but a clickable, functional wireframe is.
A great speaker and source for taking your business off the ground and into the skies is Eric Ries. In his articles, he evangelizes a loop in which businesses should revolve until they reach fruition: ideate it, build it, see how it works, re-ideate, re-build, see how it works. Though he primarily focuses on digital products, every project looking for advice on how to be lean can benefit from his wisdom.
What an MVP is and isn’t?
Don’t make the typical mistake; a minimum viable product isn’t a cheap and shabby prototype with some functions simply left out. It’s okay if it’s not beautiful just yet. Or a bit too slow. Or rough around the edges. But it has to work. It has got to be usable and testable because the vital information it must deliver back to you is what people think about it and what they think should be improved. The MVP is a sink, which funnels crucial criticism directly back to you so you can iterate your product and make a better MVP version. A good minimum viable product is not something that’s perfect in one aspect, but poor in all others, but one that’s good enough in all aspects to show it to people.
What’s the worth, why bother?
To understand how valuable your MVP is, recognize the cycle! You build something functional, hand it out to possible clients, new team members or investors and get input on it, good things and bad. You take this learning and iterate your project, then produce a new version, get feedback again, with which you can make an even better MVP. By cycling so, you avoid catastrophes rule out your wrong assumptions and get proof for the correct ones.
A well-built MVP is an invaluable asset for your project. It allows you to filter out your initial subjective beliefs (e.g., you thought people love large action buttons in apps – but they actually hate it) and possibly aspects you would never have thought about. Having a good, lean MVP rids you of the unfathomed strays and, over time, leaves you with loads of learning and a usable product you don’t can present sans sham. There are good MVP examples out there.
To leave you with some tips on “mvp-izing” your product, here are some clever maneuvers worth considering.
Produce a landing page before you hard-code a full-featured website. This is a smart (and cheap) way of validating your idea, provided that you have Google Ads (AdWords) and Google Analytics properly connected to it. A simple landing will show you conversion rates from which you can know early on whether the targeted people are interested in all in your brilliant venture.
You may want to generate some pre-build revenue to get some funds for the actual building and, again, to validate the attractiveness of your service or product. Kickstarter, Indiegogo or Backerplanet. Make them want to back it!
Finally, why not pre-digest the product for your prospective buyers: make a tutorial video that explains the idea in a clean, comprehensible and concise way. Visual stimulus + good copy will make the viewer engaged.
- You can avoid creating a product that has no genuine necessity in the market
- Your early assumptions can go through merciless testing; the bad ones can be ruled out instantly
- Needless costs can be avoided as well as pointless extra hours at work
- Get a close-up and accurate understanding of your target group
Whatever you’re planning to build, we wholeheartedly advise you to build MVPs of it to save yourself lots of stress and make your way to being a successful entrepreneur easier.