Building an MVP is all about bringing a new product to the market! You build your MVP so you can test your idea and the main features so as to make sure you will have a successful launch.
We have looked into some great startups, analyzed the ones that failed at first to, later on, become unicorns. What we found out is that one thing they all have in common. All of them had either a great built MVP or an MVP that showed signs of failure right from the start. Why?
Because building an MVP can be beneficial or tremendously harmful to your early startup. It all depends on the way you start to build your MVP.
Here’s a nice one:
CB Insights reported that 42 % startups fail because there was no market need. This is why before discussing the actual 6 steps to build your MVP, there’s a step 0 we want you to know about. It’s the part where you do your homework and research on your customer’s needs.
So go ahead and do that research. It is a must that you conduct a competitor analysis to know if there are similar products in the market.
Your faith in the uniqueness of your product won’t bring it up to the market. So do your research, and do it well.
We really like how Eric Ries defines the MVP in his book — The Lean Startup:
A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.
Nevertheless, identifying the problem is one of the most important stages in building a sustainable MVP. It’s also an essential part of the build-measure-learn feedback loop.
Don’t get scared by the fancy terminology: this methodology helps your startup or business in shortening your product development cycles a lot! Here’s how a feedback loop looks like 👇
The idea is quite simple: once you launch your MVP, keep an eye on your data and measure how customers respond to your features. This is a great way of learning whether to improve your product, how easy is your product to use or understand, what are your customers’ expectations and most importantly how to solve their problem easier!
Of course, you can always have a great MVP and transform it directly into the product without so many changes if your customers are happy :)
Most of the time, as a startup, your first product will be an MVP. Yet, you still have to deliver a great product with a scalable architecture so your product won’t crash once you grow. That would be a very painful moment for you and you do not want it! So here we are, to make sure that we get you covered on how to build your MVP into a stunning product in just 6 easy steps.
In this stage, it is very important that you answer 2 questions: What problem is my product solving and for whom?
Based on your target audience, go on and define the set of wanted functionalities that your customer needs.
Here’s a user story example: As a small business owner, I want to easily see when are my customers visiting my website so that I can identify the best timing to post an offer.
Easily design your customer journey on your product using a Graphic block-scheme (in picture/psd/pdf format) showing your app screens and the elements for each screen (buttons, text fields, etc.).
You build your MVP to be not only functional. Making it appealing, unique and easy to browse is not an easy job! You should go through all the actions that your customer will do using your product and create all the visuals, buttons, menus, CTAs, styling and colors. This is a very important step because all these elements will make your customers go through your wished cycle in a natural manner.
To make this step easier for you, you can add all your branding and interface design to the initial Wireframe using a prototyping tool (e.g. inVision).
This is where the actual coding takes place.
Fingers crossed for a great dev team here! It is crucial.
Test the app until you get a list of issues to be fixed and a list of minor tweaks. You can always give your product away for testing only to a limited focus group. This is called the alpha testing stage. In most cases, the product is given to family, friends or relatives. As soon as alpha testing is done, move into the beta testing phase. Beta testing means your product is going out into the world.
After you collect your user's feedback you can start improving your product again and then test it again, and again. It’s an ongoing process. Test. Fix. Deploy. Release. Repeat.
The app becomes available to the public. This could be AppStore or Play Store, or the web application is deployed and becomes widely available to its audience. This is also the time to start planning your way to go big now!
Just don’t forget that you’re always going to need your user data in perfecting the app. So when you see something that needs fixing, go ahead and fix it.
We hope you enjoyed this article on how to build your MVP. If you did, give it a share or two just so that more people get to read it.