In general, one decides to start a business because they think they have an idea that is going to solve someone's problem, or that it is going to offer that person something that they want to have. However, we cannot be 100% sure of the future success of our product or service until we launch it, and that involves great risks. But the minimum viable product (MVP) can help us.
1. What is the Minimum Viable Product?
Although we do studies of the market and of our target, it does not assure us that we will be able to impact that public at the time of launching. The only things we have before launching our venture are hypotheses about the problem, the solution, and the market.
The hypothesis is where innovation and creativity come from, but what we need to convert our vision into a project that pays off economically is concrete information, based on metrics that speak directly to us about the effectiveness of the solution we are about to offer. The minimum viable product (MVP) is one of the bases on which the Lean Startup methodology is born. In fact, it is one of his most interesting contributions.
When we work with the minimum viable product, we launch the product or service with as few features as possible. In other words, we don't finish putting the product together completely before launching it on the market. We start with a basic version so as not to spend so much time or money on a product or service that later does not engage the target. We launch with as little as possible and get specific and relevant information from that launch through a series of metrics.
We draw conclusions directly from the various iterations of the MVP, which can be things as simple as landing pages, and we control the information that we analyze to refine the product or service more and more. Sometimes, we can even decide to abandon the project completely, if we see that we do not have a product or service that is going to be successful.
2. What is the Minimum Viable Product for?
In short, the MVP serves two purposes. First, it allows us to test the market without much investment of money or time, giving us the opportunity to see what happens without much risk. Second, it gives us the necessary structure to improve and refine our product or service within a given period of time.
It allows us to understand how to reach the public, with a reduced target, and then launch a larger campaign aimed at the masses. Indeed, it orders us the process prior to a large-scale launch and allows StartUps to prepare to become large companies.
Also, it gives us answers about our hypothesis. It helps us make the decision to either persevere, iterating based on the line we are following, or pivot, drastically changing the formulation of our hypotheses, products, and/or services.
3. What are the most important characteristics of the Minimum Viable Product?
One of the most important features of MVP is that it is designed to work with the BUILD-MEASURE-LEARN loop. This loop makes it so that with each new iteration we focus on the following:
– We build a new MVP, based on the previous one, or we generate a totally new one from scratch
– We establish a series of metrics that we then use to measure the reaction of the target
– We analyze the information we extract from the metrics and use it to build a new iteration
And so the loop repeats. It repeats and repeats itself, helping us to refine our proposal with each interaction, until we reach the moment when we believe that we can launch the product or service with force and to a more massive audience.
The interesting thing about working with the MVP and the BUILD-MEASURE-LEARN loop together is that we start out working backwards. Namely:
– We start at the end of the loop. We start with LEARN, identifying a series of hypotheses that we want to test
– Then we move on to MEASURE and define a series of indicators or metrics that will help us when extracting the information and verifying (or not) the hypothesis
– Finally, WE BUILD the minimum viable product – we give it an image, name, look feel, qualities, etc etc. – to measure, evaluate and learn about our hypothesis.
4. Who are the Early Adopters?
We leave you with this brief explanation about Early Adopters and why you should take them into account.
The Early Adopters are those people who put aside the rigor that average consumers have, to embrace products in full evolution phase. Early Adopters are those people who want to try new products or services, just because they want to be up to date or try new things. We recommend keeping this audience in mind when working through the MVP process.
In the future, when you have tested the most important hypotheses, you can manage a change of direction to focus on the big market. It is a future that is far away for now, but that could come at any time.