There is no better test for your startup than evaluating your customers. And that’s why you need to understand what it is Minimum Viable Product, the MVP.
The concept of MVP it is very widespread and relatively simple to understand. However, it is still easily confused with the delivery of an unfinished or flawed product.
Always remember: MVP is already your product. So he should, in a lean way, show the value proposition of his startup and solve the problem for which it was developed.
What is MVP?
In the book The Lean Startup, Eric Ries defines: “MVP is that version of the product that allows a complete turn of the build-measure-learn cycle, with minimum effort and the shortest development time”.
In short, it's like a prototype of your solution. It allows showing what the startup's vision is, measuring the receptivity of customers and the market and testing various previously formulated hypotheses about the product and all aspects of the business.
And all of this through feedback from your audience, which will guide the evolution of the project.
MVP is the delivery of your project, not the beginning of it
Before reaching this stage, it is necessary to develop your value proposition, an initial business model, the target audience and validate your idea.
The goal of MVP is not to waste time and money for nothing, but you cannot make your customer unhappy in this process.
Keep in mind that you are downsizing a much larger project to meet your momentary needs. This is quite different from starting anyway to think about what to do from there.
What if the MVP shows that the idea is not a good one?
Well, the chances of that happening are great, but that's what it's for!
This one it's time to evaluate everything about your business and analyze how it will be developed. So, you enter the market (for real!) As soon as possible, causing the greatest possible impact.
Sometimes what you find is that it is not worth investing time and money in the project. And this is also good, as it allows you to focus on a more promising idea.
How to create the Minimum Viable Product?
There is no precise 100% formula for an MVP.
Everything will depend on your business, the market you want to enter, the persona defined for your audience and the hypotheses you want to validate.
One of the most common ways of starting the MVP process is creating a landing page. It will aim to present the product and capture leads who are interested in using it.
In this way, it is possible to monitor public interest and create a group of potential customers to receive and test the product.
The Dropbox example
Do you know the story of Henry Ford's “fastest horse”?
So, what about when your solution is innovative and people don't know they need it?
If they don’t even know you exist, there’s no point in landing a page or advertising campaign on Google.
And, to make matters worse, you need to assess the receptivity of the product before it can even be used effectively, as the operation depends on specific services, such as renting a reliable server, for example.
This was the challenge for Dropbox CEO Drew Houston.
The concept of your product was not easy to explain and the development of a prototype for demonstration depended on solving several technical problems.
The solution? A video!
As you can see in the player above, Drew himself narrated a simple demonstration video of Dropbox in operation, but which was carefully planned for a specific audience: early adopters from Digg.
With several humorous references specific to this audience, the video went viral in the community and the waiting list to receive the beta of the software jumped from 5,000 to 75,000 people.
In this case, the video was the MVPbecause it confirmed the hypothesis that customers wanted Dropbox.
The full story you can read on TechCrunch.