Each business begins with a product (or service) you want to offer to your potential customers. However, what should you start with when creating a new product? Most entrepreneurs know that classic management approaches are no longer an option since startups operate with too much of uncertainty.
Usually, there’s no exact data on what your customers want, how they will react to a new product and thus how it should look like in the end. A completely opposite approach is to do what is seems to be important and possible to do right now. That also doesn’t sound as a thought-through idea, does it?
The happy medium here is creating a minimum viable product (MVP) to get rid of the above-mentioned uncertainty. In other words, an MVP is the smallest product that can be created to deliver customer value and get the answer on what to do next.
The interpretation of this general idea varies from product to product. Sometimes an MVP just means buying ads to examine the demand, in other case it may be a hardware solution offering very limited yet critical functionality to study customer reaction.
Famous examples of a minimum viable product
1. Nick Swinmurn, Zappos founder, started his business with making photos of the local shoe store inventory and putting them to his simple webstore. When people made a few orders online, Nick bought the ordered shoes in that same store and sold it to them. This practice confirmed the customer demand for online shoe store and now Zappos is a billion dollar company.
2. When developing Gmail, the team released the very first version of the email service within a day. Making all the features go live as soon as possible allowed developers to quickly check the assumptions, and often great ideas turned into confusing features and unstable functions.
Our web development practice shows that when clients reach us, they are already sure about the demand. So in our case a minimum viable online product is usually something that should be designed, developed and released to the public.
Creating an online MVP is not only a great way to check if your future product meets customer’s expectations and rework your plans if not, but also be wise on your budget. Still, the majority of our clients either do not know about MVP or prefer to skip this stage and start working on a fully functional and designed solution.
Here in RubyGarage we aim on delivering great and successful products. The most effective and time wise way is to start with a minimum viable product. Eventually we made this approach a part of our core strategy, and now our new business negotiations always begin with defining a minimum viable product and discussing its implementation peculiarities.
In the end it often turns out that successfully created MVPs help our clients to collect the information vital for understanding the market, better prioritize things to do next and bring the products of customers’ dreams in significantly shorter terms.