MVP is the acronym for “Minimum Viable Product”. It is a product development method widely used by startups because it offers many advantages. By creating an MVP, you can quickly assess the commercial viability of your innovation without having to make heavy investments.
How can you put your innovative business idea into practice with an MVP and get quick market feedback without having to develop a prototype?
The “Lean Startup” method developed by the American entrepreneur and author Steve Blank is a solution to this problem. This method is now established on the global startup scene as an effective way to develop an innovative business concept. The idea of the Lean-Startup method is quite simple: instead of going to market after a long product development cycle, one makes a very early market entry with a so-called “minimum viable product” (MVP for short).
The MVP is the simplest version of your solution (“minimum”), which nevertheless offers added value to potential customers – in other words, it is “viable”. For a startup, the challenge of the MVP is to find the optimal balance between the simplest version of the product and the necessary core functionalities. No matter how simple the MVP is, it must be a solution to a problem for which customers are willing to pay.
The minimum viable product can then be used to gather initial feedback from the intended target group through early market entry. This initial feedback is essential to improve the product over several cycles.
MVP’s benefits : fast, inexpensive, and low-risk.
In contrast to the traditional lengthy product development process, the minimum viable product offers three decisive advantages:
-Product development is quick and simple. Startups in general need to be fast to enter markets because the first mover has a clear advantage, especially in the technology industry.
-MVP development is inexpensive. By eliminating costly product adjustments, the Lean Startup method often allows for lower budgets than traditional product development.
-Using the MVP reduces market risk. Through regular testing, failures due to lack of market interest can be largely avoided.
Of course, one can also view the use of MVP with some skepticism and ask the following questions:
How will my customers react if a product still has defects or offers too little added value?
Is there a risk that the competition will discover my brand’s entry and copy my product?
Although these questions are legitimate, they shouldn’t fuel your anxiety. If you are truly concerned that negative customer feedback will have a detrimental effect on your brand, simply test your MVP under a different brand name.
You also don’t need to worry too much about the competition: On the one hand, there is little chance of being discovered by your competitors during the testing phase. On the other hand, your competitor usually has no way of knowing whether the current variant of your product will be successful at all. If they do copy it – during a long product development process – you will have already tested your final product in the market and your competitor will probably fail with the copy of your first product variant due to lack of product-market fit.
What about actions? Test your MVP directly in the marketplace
Enough with the theory: let’s look at the different forms in which a minimum viable product can be designed and tested directly with the customer without much effort. Depending on whether you want to sell a digital product, a physical product, or an innovative service, there are appropriate techniques for each situation:
Option 1: Landing Page Creation and Online Marketing.
To test the interest for your MVP, you must first present it to your potential customers. For this purpose, the creation of a simple landing page is recommended for many innovative products.
On the Landing Page, the product can be described and presented with images. In the second step, it is now up to you to test the sales potential. To do this, set up a simple order function on your landing page. You can also offer your customers to provide only an email address, so that they can request additional information about the product, for example.
To get initial results as quickly and easily as possible, the following tips will help you create and market your MVP:
If necessary, don’t develop an MVP at all and only include edited images in your product description at first. If sales do materialize, you can always cancel them afterwards due to delivery delays or similar reasons. This will save you a lot of development time.
Perform A/B testing by varying the features of the product in its description. This will help you identify the features that really add value to customers.
Make sure you get visitors to your landing page by investing a few thousand dirhams in marketing on Facebook Ads or Google Ads. There you can target exactly the audience you want to attract as customers. Once you have acquired a few customers, you can calculate the approximate conversion rate.
Option 2: Trade shows or telephone acquisition for B2B products
Have you developed a concept for a product you want to sell to businesses? Now you need to make direct contact with potential customers. To do this, present your MVP at a trade show related to your product and get feedback from potential customers. You can also contact potential customers by phone and set up meetings at their offices.
Even if your minimum viable product is just an idea, making a full presentation, with edited visuals, to the customer will let you know if you are on the right track with product development.
Dropbox: The perfect example of a successful MVP.
The American cloud computing provider Dropbox proved the success of the lean startup product development when it launched in 2007: Instead of fully developing the complex software, the startup put up a landing page with a promotional video to test market interest.
After the first video was published and about 5,000 interested people registered, Dropbox posted a second video on the landing page. This time, within a day, 70 000 more people had submitted their email addresses. It was clear: there was a lot of interest in the cloud solution. So Dropbox is an ideal example of how to use an MVP.
That’s it! We have tried to demystify the concept of the MVP as much as we can. With this information, you can already start planning your next startup!
Just like the Lean Startup methodology, the programs at Moroccan accelerator HSEVEN gather the best practices adopted by incubators and accelerators worldwide.
Based in the city of Casablanca, HSEVEN provides your startup with intensive support, combined with grants and loans. Giving you the competitive edge to bring your Moroccan and African startup to the international technology scene. For more information go over our different programs.