5 strategies for a successful first MVP
If you are an entrepreneur planning to get your first MVP on the go, here are 5 strategies that will ensure a successful first MVP (minimum viable product) launch.
As a software company, we often get to work with start-ups that have innovative ideas. From the idea to a successful minimum viable product (MVP), there is a lot of ground to cover. Being prepared and aware of the challenges and requirements you might face will ensure that you save both time and money. So, we are going to share with you our 5 strategies that will help get clarity to your vision.
If you haven’t discovered yet the benefits of using an MVP here are some that you should definitely keep in mind:
This should be enough to get you started, but if you are looking for more information and benefits, check out our MVP expertise page for an in-depth look.
Now that we established the basic benefits of an MVP we move forward on to strategy and how to create a plan that will ensure maximum success. We should disclose at this point that there are strategies that we use with our own partners and we hope that they will give you the advantage you need to get your first successful MVP out there.
When starting an MVP project you should always begin by having an objective analysis done for your idea to see if indeed it will help you solve a customer's problem. Our experience in the software development industry has always led us to this idea: if a software product does not solve a customer’s problem or help in his activity then it most probably is not the product that they will go for.
Looking at your idea from an outsider’s point of view is not easy, but it will definitely help you see the blind spots in your strategy.
What you need to do is obviously seek help from outside, talk to a mentor, seek out potential clients and interview them to find out more. This leads us to...
Making sure that your idea has a minimum “go pass” from actual potential customers is essential for a good MVP launch. You might think that, ok yes it is important but as important as it is most companies and entrepreneurs look past it or rush into having 10 ok's from friends or family. If you really are keen to solve a problem with your software you need to get this step right.
Here you have a list of the steps you should implement at this stage of the product:
A. Identify the Buyer Persona
The basic thing that you need to have written down is who your potential customer is - the buyer persona. Having a clear understanding of your customer will enable you to reach the right people and get the best advice, and as a tip will help you in your marketing efforts also.
B. Find 50 or so buyer personas to interview
We know that for some 50 is quite the number, but in actuality, that number is quite small compared to the final number of users that will actually use your software products. At this stage, you can use a specialized company that will help you in the process of finding the right people, or you can always go online and ask for help, it all depends on your time and budget.
C. What is an interview
Next is the interview. You need to have 2 things ready:
So pay very close attention to what you are asking your customer so that you ensure that you have the insight but you also allow them to contribute and share. So asking open questions is the key. Take the time to ask what features were essential and what were just a waste of time, the overall feeling, and also what do they think should be added or nice to have. Remember don’t just hand them in our opinions, you might be surprised by what you find out if you let your customer open and share.
D. Analyse and evaluate
In the end, it is time for evaluation. This is the time to bring some technical skills and analyze the effort for your options and choose from the list of things to do. Obviously, you need to prioritize the features that will be launched with the MVP but having an overview of phases 2, 3, or 4 of new releases can be quite helpful in the long run.
Knowing your competitors is quite important and it is quite useful to have a document with the information gathered. You will find this document useful at any time and also you can use it to keep track of the market change.
You might think “I don't have any competitors”, but in actuality, in today's market, you can always find secondary competitors that cater to some of the needs you are going to cover with your software.
For your competitor's list we recommend having a file (spreadsheet preferably) with the following details:
Competitors analysis should also include an overall SWOT analysis of your business and what will be your key differentiators for the software you are launching. This will give a clear view of where you are going and how to get there.
Having a disrupting idea doesn’t mean you should not take into account planning. Spending some time thinking about your milestones with your business is important and also relevant for your business success. Gather some quiet time to envision what the future will bring, how will your customers benefit from your software, and so on. This is the best time to put on paper also the vision of your work, this will inspire your people and also your team and give them something to strive for.
It is important to know that the technological effort you put into your software is not the only thing you should be focusing on. Depending on the idea you have to really be aware of the effort you need to build the infrastructure, this includes the backend, support, shipping, logistics, and so on. Any successful software program MVP has the backbone of the business well organized.
We know that there is a great deal of work to be done. Taking a good look at your business and implementing these strategies will ensure that your MVP launch will be successful. We believe that the effort you spend here will ultimately point you in the right direction and help you make smart investments.
For the software development part obviously, it’s easy, all you have to do is choose a reliable partner and the rest will be history.