If you’re an entrepreneur with a fantastic new product or service, there’s often nothing more tempting than wanting to release it into the world in its full glory. But, from a business perspective, this is rarely the right thing to do, for a number of reasons. Primarily, it’s important to ensure that you’ve honed your value proposition, tested it effectively on your target audience, and built the most effective and useful version of your product. And if you’re looking to create a mobile app for your business, this is where a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) can be highly beneficial.
What exactly is an MVP?
In the context of mobile apps, an MVP is the simplest possible version of your product with just enough functionality and features to enable your target audience to test it. An MVP is all about collating user feedback and building off the back of it.
Five reasons why MVPs are beneficial
Checking whether the demand is still there
When you first came up with your concept, it’s likely that you conducted thorough research into the demand in your target market, as well as the competition. However, there’s no better way to test your business concept then to actually offer a working prototype of your product to your target audience. Often, you may find that you’re providing a solution to a given market need, only to realize that your users actually want something slightly different.
Honing your user experience
Regardless of what your product offers, building an effective user experience is paramount for ensuring the app’s continued use.
Data from Localytics shows that only a little over a third of users continue to use an app three months after initially downloading it.
An MVP allows you as the product owner to gain valuable insight into how users interact with your product and to make amendments to their journey as needed.
They allow you to build an early user base
Linked to the above point, an MVP also enables you to build an initial base of early adopters who can help spread the word about your product. With any luck, they’ll be sufficiently bought in to support you in making strategic decisions about which features to add and which to scrap in the next product iteration.
They can help you to convince your investors
It goes without saying that every digital product needs to be profitable in order to succeed. A well-tested MVP with a defined monetization strategy is a powerful way of convincing investors that your product has a high chance of success in the market.
They can lower development costs
Ultimately, an MVP can help you to save money, because you don’t waste your budget on building features which end up not being used by your target audience.
The process of building an MVP
What do you need to get started?
Do you have a well-developed idea for a mobile product? Great! Here’s what you need in order to approach a software development team with your concept:
- Write down the main value or selling point of your application. Does it help users solve a problem or achieve a goal? Does it allow for completing a task faster and with better results?
- List all the features the app will need to make this idea work. Focus only on the essential features, not nice-to-have ones. Question every feature you add to this list. Maybe you don’t need an automatic payment system for the first version of your app?
- Simplify it further. Do you need users to register and log in? You might lose people who aren’t willing to sign up and create an account yet. There are many ways to simplify your idea and the user process, and they all help to save money using design work and development. Your team will help you get rid of features your MVP doesn’t need and make your core business value perfectly visible.
Typically, you would work with your chosen software provider to develop your app. The process will differ slightly in each case, but would usually involve the following stages:
- Workshops for validating your business concept. Here you will validate your simplified idea and establish the core value that it will bring to your users.
- Decide whether to continue development. After the workshops, you may decide not to continue with development because you might find that you want to re-evaluate your offer to users. But, if you’re certain that you’ve got this right, you’ll be ready to go to the next step.
- Preparing a clickable prototype. Your team of UI and UX designers will prepare a clickable mockup of your digital product. This will then be tested and tweaked accordingly.
- The development stage. Once the above is complete, your selected mobile development team will build the very first version of your app, and your MVP will be ready to show to your target audience!
- The user testing begins. Your MVP will be the first stage of an exciting journey for your digital product. The key here is to test, test and then test some more. All your user feedback will be super valuable in ensuring that your product develops in a functional and effective way, in order to bring you the greatest possible changes of success.
If you’re building a mobile product, an MVP gives you the greatest possible chance of success. After all, some of the most popular apps used today, such as Instagram or Uber, began with a very bare-bones product. In the case of the former, it was merely an app with the functionality to add your photos and has evolved hugely based on observed consumer usage. The key to success, it seems is to start simple, test thoroughly and develop cleverly.