MVP for a Startup — from an Idea to Getting Traffic!

Startups are born from beautiful ideas, but more than 20% don’t even make it through the first year. During the second year, the failure rate reaches 30% — meaning that almost ⅓ of startups fail within 2 years of launching. MVP development is what can increase a startup’s chances to succeed, and here’s why.

A study from CB Insights found that 42% of startup failures are caused by misreading the market demand, and 29% of failures result from running out of funds. The pursuit of a perfect product can separate you from reality. MVPs help you make sure that you don’t waste resources on a useless project.

What Is an MVP?

MVP stands for “minimum viable product,” meaning a new product that only has features that are essential to satisfy basic customer requirements. MVP development makes it possible to release a product with minimal usage of time and finances. The development continues when the product is already on the market.

The idea of an MVP was first introduced in 2001 by Frank Robinson, President of SyncDev. He explains it as “that unique product that maximizes the return on risk for both the vendor and the customer.”

The MVP strategy has proved useful with many innovative startups.

Successful MVP Development Startups

Here are just a few examples of the brands that started with products that utilized very basic sets of features. Those features just happened to be the ones the public needed the most:

  • Amazon was an online bookstore which only had a catalog of books to order. They purchased the ordered item directly from local stores and shipped it to the customer.
  • Yahoo began as a single webpage. It had nothing but a bunch of reference links on it.
  • Airbnb started from two friends’ attempt to split up the cost of the rent. They just offered other people to share their place for a short time.
  • Netflix started as an online DVD-rental store that shipped pre-ordered DVDs to its customers. Initially, less than 1000 items were available.
  • Uber was born as a web application, Uber Cab, which allowed users to order only one type of car.

Step-by-Step Guide for Creating an MVP

Here are 4 steps you should make while creating an MVP. Remember that it is important to follow these recommendations consistently.

1. Research the market and develop a concept

Regardless of what your initial idea is, start by looking into market trends and needs. Check if your current vision corresponds with them, and if not, it’s not a positive sign. Try to outline the target niche and the problem that your future product will be able to solve. 

2. Define desirable functionality and features.

Decide which functions and features are the most important for embodying your concept. If your vision includes many different features, set the priorities.

Even though your product needs to be unique, try to avoid overly sophisticated, technical implementation. Your goal at this stage is not to make your product look fancy but to make it work. 

3. Launch and get feedback. 

When the basic workable version of the product is ready, you can introduce it to customers. At this point, you will start getting traffic as well as a deeper understanding of your project’s real value.

Don’t wait too long before moving onto this stage. The sooner you test your product on the real market, the more chances you have to be unique and the more time to fix possible flaws.

4. Change and grow

Analyze the feedback to discover the direction for future development.

Alongside improving the shortcomings, you will have a chance to add more advanced features. From now on, your product can escape the restrictions of ‘minimum viable’ one, attracting more and more clients.

Refining an Idea to an MVP

Regardless of the type of business, you are aiming for, what you need to do is to gain attention from potential customers. The way to do so in the early stages of project development is to provide a promise or a vision of a product instead of an actual product.

For instance, provide your customers with a demo version of the future product.

There are also some field-specific instruments you can use to give your potential clients a general feeling of what they can expect from your product. You can try one of the following instruments

If you are thinking of launching new software:

  • Creating a plugin/library for existing product to use it as a leverage
  • Using a website builder/CMS/software framework

If you envision providing services:

  • Running a single webinar/workshop
  • Launching an e-store on a bigger platform
  • Using a ready-made e-commerce system

As an option for any field, you can start a crowdfunding project. It may be helpful in terms of gauging public interest in your project as well as raising funds.

Points to Keep in Mind

Let’s make things a bit more clear. Here’s what an MVP is not about:

  • Low quality. There is a difference between an effort-saving crude version and just sloppy work. Remember that you need to improve and refine your product.
  • An ultimate solution. There is always a chance that the audience won’t be excited about your innovative product. Be ready to make essential changes or move to a new concept.

Although MVP development for startups may or may not become a shortcut to success, it definitely is a path worth taking. It can serve both as a tool for getting income in a relatively short time and a test for the viability of innovative ideas.

However, the failure in MVP development brings less damage than spending years on developing a perfect product that no one needs.

Prabhul Kurup
Prabhul Kurup
Meet Prabhul Kurup, with degrees in IT and Digital Marketing and writes about the coolest tech trends, smart marketing, and how to grow businesses. When he's not geeking out over gadgets, he's strumming melodies on his guitar.


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