BlogHow to build your first MVP?

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Building a perfect product is always a work in progress situation. And when you’re a startup, it’s not enough to only have a good idea, you have to be able to prove that your idea works, and is viable. You have to have the money and resources, the technology to make it work, and the team that will support you in achieving your goals. 

The first step to proving viability is building your Minimum Viable Product

Many startups and growing businesses find that creating an MVP (minimum viable product) to validate their product ideas and ensure proper execution is the best way and the right approach in launching a successful product development project. 

An MVP is created with the goal of reducing time to market, attracting early adopters, and achieving product-market fit from the start.

MVPs are extremely valuable in industries that rely on software development because they allow the product team to receive user feedback quickly and early in the process, allowing them to ultimately improve the product.

If you have an idea and are ready to put it into action, here are some things you should know about building an MVP before you start building it:

1. Do your market research

Mellonie Francis, the co-founder of Find Book Beauty struggled when she started to build MVP together with her sister who’s in charge of Squarespace, and a few people who helped her build the website. 

“I felt like that MVP product was good but I really couldn’t test out the payout, the payment which is what investors really care about is, are you getting bookings and then the other problem was that every time we go to booking we would have to call the artists and see if they are free…. It would be a lot of back and forward.”

What she did next is to use a lot of questionnaires, where 90% of the respondents said they’re going to use the product. 

That’s what you need to do too. Do your market research. Use surveys, product tests, focus groups, and other methods to learn more about your ideal customer base.

Before you start developing an MVP for an idea, make sure it meets the needs of the target users. The more information you gather about your users, including demographics, likes and dislikes, devices they use, and overall product needs, the better your chances of success.

2. Make sure your MVP has value

Your MVP must have high-quality code, design, and content, as well as provide a good all-around user experience. It’s not just a bunch of random features, it should encompass a complete customer experience. 

Don’t go overboard and build too many features. 

3. Your MVP should provide solution to only one problem

Building your MVP requires you to focus on who you’re solving the problem for. 

Your MVP is not required to provide solutions and features for everyone. It must address at least one issue for your primary target audience. The goal of the MVP is to determine whether your hypothesis is viable and if people are willing to pay for your solution.

WordPress offers e-Commerce solutions, but not for everyone

WordPress.com provides you with all of the tools you need to publish content as well as sell products from the same platform. Create a robust online store and add more plugins to assist you in customising products, attracting customers, and increasing sales.

But according to Francis, if WordPress works for you, then it’s not the same for everyone. It isn’t always the best fit for some businesses.

“WordPress can do everything, WordPress can absolutely do everything now that I look back. But it wasn’t the right framework for the kind of product I wanted, the kind of customization I wanted. The backend would never look like what I needed for my business, but I was definitely being pushed that way because people were very used to working on WordPress.” 

The team you choose is important 

“I think that’s really important that the team that you choose, if they’re experts, they will guide you and you just need to choose the right team. And that choice is about chemistry, about who you feel comfortable with.”

A winning startup team is made up of highly capable individuals with a diverse set of skills and talents. It’s important to find people who complement and balance each other. 

For Mellonie Francis, since the hiring process is new to her, she encountered bumps along the road of finding the right talent. Because when you choose the people who would be working for you, you need to know how to screen, what questions to ask, test teams for the outcome, and so on. 

And you also need to look at the skills of these people. 

1. Choosing the right team

Choosing the right professionals to form an effective project team is more difficult than it appears. It’s a big responsibility and risk because the people you choose will determine whether or not your project is successful.

The greater their skill and knowledge, the better their chances of success.

2. Trust the team that you end up choosing

Trust is required for team members to feel comfortable speaking up, asking questions, or making suggestions without fear of retaliation or concern that their comments will harm their relationships or reputation.

With trust, team members can achieve high levels of productivity and effectiveness. 

Outsourcing is important

Francis hired people from different sides of the world. In Russia and Ukraine, where she hired excellent programmers. In Pakistan, where she worked with three to four people that built Find Book Beauty. 

You will save time and money by outsourcing. Some businesses outsource their human resources functions, while others seek outside assistance with everything from customer service to marketing to public relations to strategic planning and consulting. There are numerous services and functions that can be outsourced.

Concentrate on the value that a contractor’s expertise brings to your company if you consider how outsourcing can help you grow. Outsourcing can help you innovate, grow, and rise above the competition by expanding production, marketing your company more widely, or disrupting the way your industry does business.

Continue to upgrade and improve your product

The digital environment is constantly changing, and what is popular today may be obsolete in a matter of days.

“After we launched the first four months, we just were focused on the product, continuing to improve as we found out how users were coming on, any kind of issues that they were having.”

Like what Francis mentioned above, they continued to improve since they already have the data about their users, and the issues their product was having. 

New updates include improved functionalities and features that enhance the overall performance of your product. 

Integrating new and improved features into your product ensures that emerging customer needs are met on time. And more users will be drawn to your product, increasing the overall capabilities of your company.

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