MVP - What It Is and Why It Matters To Startups

18 December, 2018
By G-Team in Technology
Gpayroll payroll software blog - mvp

As defined by the reliable The Economic Times, Minimum Viable Product, or MVP in short, is a "development technique in which a new product is introduced in the market with basic features but enough to get the attention of the consumers."

Simply put, MVP is the most basic version of a product in which the company wants to launch in the market. It could literally be anything - ranging from a car, website to services such as ride hailing apps. Essentially, the whole concept behind MVP is for companies to gauge the response from prospective consumers or buyers.

How did the term MVP come about then? MVP was first introduced in the early 2000s, thanks to Frank Robinson, CEO of management consulting firm SyncDev. It then gained viral traction after being used by serial entrepreneur Steve Blank on his website as well as Eric Reis, author of The Lean Startup. Thereafter, the term MVP has been used by both large conglomerates and startups alike.

While MVP might seem to be a rather fancy term for startups, it is still an important concept that can apply to any business when launching a new product or service. Moreover, when it comes to startups or small businesses, it is worth understanding the concept and benefits of sticking to a MVP before adding any unnecessary frills.

MVP has three distinct features. The first is that it will have sufficient features for consumers to want to purchase the product. Of course, this also means that you will have to create your MVP as pocket-friendly as possible in order to attract consumers. The second is that it will have some sort of feedback mechanism whereby users will be able to send their feedback about the product. Finally, it should have enough future benefits for consumers who eventually adopt the product first. The main idea behind these features is to subtly gather feedback from consumers and in turn, use this to make the desired changes in the final product.

Determining your MVP is not all that difficult. The first step is determining what to build first. By identifying the core idea for the product, it allows you to target a specific group of consumers or market.

Next is to decide on which features are "need to have" and which are "good to have". Needs are features that the product absolutely cannot exist without. However, "good to have" are features that will convince users to try and use the product by providing an enhanced user experience.

A great way to retain your consumers is to leave them anticipating for more. As you build your MVP, it is crucial to do periodic user testing. However, do not be afraid to leave certain features incomplete or include dummies for the features that you want to test. A "Coming Soon" banner is likely to attract and retain your users.

Embarking on a new business venture with an MVP will definitely introduce you to a more flexible way of working. While it might not work for everyone, it certainly has its advantages, particularly in the digital age that we are in today. Essentially, starting out with an MVP allows you to test waters and get your preliminary product out there in the market. Over time, you might find that users tend to gravitate towards certain features and not others. Additionally, they might come across certain usability issues that you are unaware of. This flexible "add as you go" approach allows you to build the product that your users actually need and want. Moreover, you do not have to waste money and time developing features that your users eventually might not want.

Having an MVP does not guarantee that your service or product might kick off in the market. On the other hand, what it does is to help provide a relatively accurate insight of your target market before you invest time and money into a product. To top it off, it will ensure that your final product is built on your target consumers' feedback and needs.

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