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What is an MVP or Minimum Viable Product? (And Why You May Need One)

At Megghross, we’ve recognized a common challenge for many of our clients is understanding the true value of a Minimum Viable Product, or MVP, regardless of the size of the company. This post serves to explain what a MVP is, how it can be utilized, and just how beneficial having one may be for your company.

A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a product with only basic features to satisfy early adopters and provide feedback for future product development. This method can also save businesses money before making a considerable investment into a service that may not pan out.

Every startup business has a predicted number of assumptions. For example, typical assumptions might be:

  • Customers need our product.
  • Customers will value this particular feature.
  • Customers will find our product more convenient than X.
  • Customers will pay Y for the value we provide.
  • Customers will be able to install and use the product without help.

Flourishing companies such as Airbnb, Dropbox, Facebook, Spotify and Oculus all started as MVPs before they matured and gained mass market notoriety. These businesses can be software or hardware products and demonstrate the long term advantage of developing a MVP.

A MVP is an intelligent way to:

  1. Release your product to a limited market in the shortest time possible.
  2. Reduce implementation and start up costs.
  3. Test the demand for your product – before releasing a full-fledged product.
  4. Avoid failures and large capital losses.
  5. Gain valuable insight into what works and what doesn’t work.
  6. Work directly with your customers or users and analyze their behaviors and preferences.
  7. Gather, enhance and grow your customer or user base.

Doing a MVP is a hands-on approach in market research and discovering a higher level of problems in your marketplace. You can now use the data from this research to implement new solutions. This also means more chances to drum up business and gain more loyal customers by keeping them engaged in the MVP process.

The idea of a minimum viable product may seem simple, however most entrepreneurs still misunderstand the concept of a MVP. By going after the perfect product, some businesses forget to focus on their core values and their addressable market in an attempt to include every single feature.

Entrepreneurs need to remember that business is really a marathon, not a sprint, and including every single feature in their initial product can overwhelm the customer or user. Hence the business will have a shorter customer life cycle thus increasing the risk of potential loses and failure to succeed.

Another common blunder is to overdo refinement of features which can lead to eliminating key product functions. It’s crucial to understand that releasing a product with a set of core basic features doesn’t mean you have to release a boorish or cheap product. You should provide your customers or users with a simple, viable and working product that meets their needs which will allow customers to take part in the journey on your way to developing a mature product.

After which, you can gradually add more features to your product and offer different versions. The golden rule is that every additional feature or each new release of your MVP should offer a better solution for your customers’ core issue and help to solve their problems faster and better.

On our next post, we’ll touch on what a Minimum Viable Brand (MVB) is and how this can help start ups to achieve faster growth.

If you’d like to hear how Megghross can help build a MVP to grow your business contact us here.