When an entrepreneur is struck by an idea or concept, no matter how great it may seem, there is no certainty how the market will respond. This is where an MVP comes in.
Minimum Viable Product is where the core functionalities of a new product are developed and presented to a target audience to assess their response.
The early adopters get to sample the MVP in order to provide feedback, give suggestions and share their opinions on the product.
Market research is a key stage that enables you to identify how your idea fits into the market needs. Several ways can be used to approach this which may include conducting surveys and questionnaires to get a better understanding of the market.
There is also a high possibility that what you are offering is already on the market. Therefore research similar products with which you will eventually compete, also consider all the possibilities to make your idea unique.
Why would anyone want to use your product? What problem does your product solve? Why would I use the product rather than another company’s product?
These are just a few of the critical questions you need to ask yourself at this stage, and hopefully find answers to them. This helps you create value for your customer base. Keep in mind that fulfilling the customer’s desire in the best way possible is your main goal.
Defining customer flow involves stepping into your customer’s shoes. What you want to achieve is to reach the primary goal but it’s going to be a process getting there. For example, assuming the goal is purchasing a product, it is essential to consider all the stages the customer has to go through to get there (i.e. purchase a product).
Define the process stages required to reach the main objective. Focus more on basic tasks rather than elements such as finding and buying the product. You should aim at simplifying the whole process and at the same time adding more value to it.
Identify the pain points (problems or inconveniences users encounter) and then write down the gains (the value-add achieved when the pain point is addressed). Comparing and balancing the pains and gains will help you generate features for the app.
At this stage, list all the desired features that you have in mind and want to have in the app. Go through each stage one at a time and establish its intended purposes. Come up with a list of features that you believe will be right for the purpose.
Brainstorming and gathering ideas is key in the creative process and also don’t limit the number of ideas for the features at this stage. Identify all the possible ways to go about each and every stage.
Ascribe the listed features of each stage into core features and add-ons based on priority. Here, you also need to take the customer’s experience into consideration.
Constantly ask yourself engaging questions such as: “How important is this feature for finishing the process?”, “How much value will this feature bring to the customer?” or “How often will this feature be used?”.
This will enable you to come up with the minimum possible representation of the working product. This is what an MVP is all about.
Prioritizing helps you define the scope of the first version of the product. The development team, following these assumptions, is able to create the MVP.
A key reminder is that a prototype is not a substandard version of the final product, but it still should be able to meet customer needs. Therefore, it ought to be easy to use, engaging and suitable for its users.
The completion of the development phase ushers in the testing process. The first testing stage takes place before the release of the MVP, which is known as the acceptance testing.
It is carried out by the Quality Assurance engineers and the main task is to improve the quality of the product before its release to the market.
The release of the MVP to the users is known as deployment. You can take either the alpha testing approach or the beta testing approach or do both.
Alpha testing is a form of internal testing performed by a limited number of people. This can include Quality Engineers, testing teams and sometimes potential users, though, it is still a form of in-house acceptance testing.
Beta testing is carried out by real users in a real environment. During the final testing phase, the product is released to external user groups.
Fixing the issues in the beta stage leads to a significant reduction in the development costs as most of the glitches have already been catered for before the final release.
This stage kicks off immediately after the MVP launch. Addressing and dealing with problems that arise from using the product should be treated as an ongoing process as well as a constant struggle and desire for improvement.
However, in the process of improvement feedback from customers plays a vital role. That is why the users should be encouraged to provide you with feedback and your task should be to make it as easy as possible.
There are several approaches that can be adopted in order to determine the future success of the product. Here are some the most common ways to measure the success of an MVP:
This approach enables you not only to learn about the current value of the product but also predict or estimate its future value. Engagement provides feedback that is invaluable to improve the user’s experience.
Sign-ups are an indication of user interest levels. Users who sign-up may convert to revenue based on the result of the interest levels.
You need to study the users’ behaviors. It is necessary to collect data concerning the amount or length of time they stay logged in on the platform as well as the frequency of the visits. Check the ratings of active users regularly.
The approach focuses on establishing all incurred costs (and efforts) which result in attracting paying customers. It’s beneficial to know whether your marketing efforts are working or if some adjustments are needed.
CAC = Money spent on traction channel / Number of customers acquired through the channel
CLV measures the amount of time the user spends using the app before uninstalling or stopping using it.
CLV = (Profit from a user * App usage duration) – Acquisition cost
It shows the percentage of people who have uninstalled or stopped using your app altogether.
Churn = Number of churn per week or month / Number of users at the beginning of the week or month.