Many startups wonder whether their idea is valid. Will it be a success? Are the users going to love it? There’s a way to answer all those questions before commiting all your funding to developing a complete product. Creating an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is the easiest, quickest and cheapest way to validate your product and set it up for market success. But to do that, you need to properly define your MVP’s features.

What Is An MVP?

I’m sure you know what an MVP is. But in order to properly define it, you will need to go a little deeper and get a complete understanding of what it stands for. A Minimum Viable Product. Those three words are the key. Minimum means that there should be just the key features that solve a specific problem. No additional, cool stuff that can be added later. Viable means that it should deliver enough value for your users to download it, input their personal data or pay for using it. And finally, product means that it should be an actual, working product. Something that your users can actually use, not just a prototype or a simple proof-of-concept advertised on a landing page. The name, MVP, is actually a lot more descriptive and insightful than many people think. That’s why it’s so important to understand what an MVP means.

Things To Do Before You Start Defining An MVP

That’s right. Even though it’s called “minimal”, it’s not that easy. There’s several things you should already have done when trying to work on an MVP. Without them, your MVP will still be a long shot in the dark, and that’s the worst thing you can do. So, what needs to be done before you start developing an MVP?

Customer & Market Research

Researching your target audience and the market you’re going to operate on is the foundation of any successful business. Before you start working on your concept, analyze what’s already there on the market. What your competitors (both direct and indirect) offer and what are your target audience’s needs and expectations? Then, try to fit in your idea into this specific environment. See whether it has potential or whether it needs some adjustments to be a success. One of the best things to do during this stage is desk research and workshops using a User Persona Canvas and the Context Map Canvas.

Defining Your Value Proposition & Problem Statement

When you have an overview of the market and the customer environment, you should be able to define what is the actual value that you’re bringing to the target audience. What is it that will make them want to pay to use your product? You can use a Value Proposition Canvas to help you with this process. It’s also great to have a problem statement, especially when working on an MVP. A problem statement is a short, clear description of a gap on the market or a problem to be solved. When you have a problem statement, it will be much easier for you and your team to define the minimum of your MVP.

Defining An MVP: Mapping Out Functionalities

When you first start doing market research, your ideas will be faced with reality and you’ll get a more realistic overview of what your product needs to be. Based on the results of your market research, problem statement and value proposition, you need to map out all the different functionalities your product will have (now and in the future). You can map them out in the form of user flows. When you have it all laid out, you need to ask yourself “which functionalities are crucial in delivering the value to the customer?”.

Based on your value proposition, you will be able to choose what is the absolutely essential core of your product and which functionalities are just there to support it. According to the name, it has to be the minimum but it has to be viable. Don’t let yourself get carried away. It might seem tempting to just keep adding features to your MVP, but it defies its purpose. If you’re unsure whether the chosen features are the viable minimum, you can always test your thesis with simple interviews, field studies or using an online survey. It’s best to spend some time doing research, than it is to waste a lot of time on developing a useless MVP.

Choosing Technologies For Your MVP

The way you develop your MVP is very important to its success. It’s a good idea to choose a technology that provides for quick and easy development. This way you won’t spend too much of your budget on development. Also, you should think about something scalable that will enable you to roll out the MVP to a wide audience. One of the best choices for developing an MVP would be Flutter, because it’s a cross-platform solution and the development time and costs are low. It might also be a good idea to partner up with an agency to help you develop your MVP. The cost shouldn’t be that high and they will bring in a lot of hands-on market experience.

If you’re looking for someone to help you validate your concept and bring your product out to market, contact us and schedule a free product consultation with one of our specialists.