The Old Way
In the past the way people started businesses were to raise capital and invest a lot in the infrastructure and building the product and then they would go and try to find customers for their business.
Changes in Product Development
Thought leaders soon started figuring out that this wasn’t the right way to build a business and especially for a technology business that involves writing thousands of lines of code. So these thought leaders asked themselves if there was a way to build a very basic product that they could get feedback on, from the customers and tweak it accordingly to the user’s requirements. This would help in building a product that users wanted and not having to waste a lot of money in building a product that people didn’t want.
The MVP Process
They called this the MVP. MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product. It’s a bare basic version of a product that just has the basic functionalities to let the early user test the product and give feedback.
The ‘MVP’ term was popularized by the Eric ries book ‘The Lean Startup’ where he goes through the story and process of his startup IMVU.
The MVP way of building a business involves getting early users in front of the basic product and giving feedback and making changes to the product accordingly. This feedback sometimes is asked verbally, but mostly done through data collection. When asked for direct feedback, users may not be very honest with their opinions. But their actions don’t lie. So this data collection involves figuring out how their users are using the product and tweaking the product accordingly.
How to build a MVP
Building a MVP is dependent on the kind of product you are dealing with. So let’s break down the MVP based on the kind of product/service you are dealing with.
If your business is a Mobile Application, your MVP could be a working prototype with a tool like Marvel. With Marvel you will be able to showcase your application as a working model. It won’t be exhaustive, but it is great to gather feedback and user suggestions.
Generally software products that perform a function have to be working and perform a function. Not working on the UI or UX, if you are able to rapidly build a working tool with only one feature then you have a MVP.
3) Using a Landing Page
If you have a product to sell, then you could create a landing page with all information and drive traffic to it through Google Adwords and see how many people convert and make a purchase. This is a great way to gauge if you have people who are purchasing your product.
Example of a landing page on Novatise.
4) Run a Kickstarter Campaign
If you have a physical product, you could run a kickstarter campaign with all details and information and see if people are interacting with your content and signing up.
5) Use a promotional Video
Another good way is to use a promotional video that describes your product and make users sign-up to an e-mail list at the end of the video. If you are able to get early adopters interested in your product and sign-up then you have a good product, otherwise keep modifying the details of your promo video to hit the right chord with your audience.
Example… SEO Services Singapore
The main objective of a MVP is to collect data and information. This data is dissected that helps you take better decisions.
You could use Google Forms to collect feedback from your users and ask their opinion on their product. You could have a chat functionality on the website, where your users chat with you and you understand the problems they are facing. Another obvious way is to use analytics to figure out what actions your users are taking. The pages they are visiting, the amount of conversions etc. This will give you an idea, if your product needs to be changed or not.