In our previous articles we gave you some insights on Lean Startup Methodology and outsourcing for startups. We hope it gave you some useful informations because in this article we want to focus on building an MVP for your business.
In case you’ve missed it our previous articles, you can follow up here:
- Lean Startup Methodology – How to Become Successful on a Budget
- Can Outsourcing Software Development Work for Small Businesses?
Minimum Viable Product is a type of product that provides only these features that are necessary to prove the value to your customers with as little budget as possible. However, MVP should NOT be your first move to see if your idea is valuable. So how do this?
Let’s start with an IDEA
You came up with a certain product and believe that it is something that will find its customers. Make sure that you’re offering a problem solution. Now that you have an idea – for whom is it supposed to be? You need to analyze it from every perspective. After all, it’s for your customers – you need to think about them as well as about your product. Your product is most likely not meant for everyone. So for whom is it? The answer for this question is going to be crucial in a moment.
How can I validate my idea?
Unfortunately, when it comes to doing business – we can’t trust our intuition. Just because you think about your clients needs, it doesn’t mean that you actually know them. You have a hypothesis but it’s time to see if it’s correct. How? It’s time to bring your clients to this equation. There’s a few different options on how you can do it, so here’s a short list of few of them:
1. Use social media to create a relationship with your future clients
Social media is extremely powerful when it comes to validating an idea. It’s definitely time consuming but also budget friendly. You can start a blog or an Instagram profile to gather people interested in your idea. It gives you a possibility to communicate with your targeted group of people. Moreover, it’s also a chance to gain following and views before actually launching the product. We have to remember that depending on the type of your client, we’re going to have to use different platforms to communicate with the right people. If your clients are more active on Instagram then it’s probably better to start there. However, if your audience is older, you might want to consider creating a blog so you can be found on Google.
2. Offer your product without building it and collect the data – a few words about Fake Doors
It’s a form of creating a landing page with a call to action and a CTA button that we want our visitors to click on. Why do we do it? To simply find out if your idea is valuable. We want to gather data that will give us some insights on whether or not the product is actually worth making a reality. Many of extremely popular companies like Buffer used this method to validate their idea. All it took were 2 landing pages and a button.
3. Build a marketing campaign to get results and data faster
Building a marketing campaign is also a form in which you can validate your idea. It’s probably going to cost some money but it can give relatively fast results. For that we can use Google Ads or focus on email marketing. It’s usually a combination of a campaign and a landing page because we still need to study the reaction of the receivers. For that there should be a Call To Action and a landing page in a form of fake door. The numbers will show if it’s the right idea.
4. A/B test – Let people decide which option brings more value
Use A/B test technique to see which feature is more valuable for your audience. Let them decide that will be build and how your product will look like. At this stage we are trying to prove our hypothesis but it’s still just a hypothesis. Testing two options can help you make a better decision.
5. What if I have a great idea but don’t have a budget even to create a first version of a product?
If you don’t have a budget to implement your idea you also have a few options. Dropbox created a presentation that was showing how this product would work before they actually had it. Thanks to that, they managed to find investors and validate their idea at the same time. Many people also uses pre-order technique with an instant payment or a crowdfunding. It’s also a way to validate your idea – after all, people won’t sponsor something that’s not valuable for them.
Now that we’ve validated our idea we can create a real life MVP. Thanks to the informations that we’ve gathered we know which features bring the most value to our early stage customers. However, we need to remember about Minimum in Minimum Viable Product. We’ve come a long way to prove this concept and we can not blew it now. Make your first product good but MINIMUM. It’s better to add features than delete them. We also have to remember about our budget – it’s limited.
Make smaller steps but make them faster. It will be more error resistant and easier to make a decision whether or not we should Pivot.