When I talk to product-driven business owners about minimum viable products, I frequently find myself in an unpleasant dialogue. The phrase “minimum viable product” is a complete misnomer; a decent MVP is neither viable nor a product. Come to think of it, it’s probably not as minimal as you’d like it to be. Founders of lean startups must be hyper-focused on figuring out how to fail as quickly as possible. In an ideal world, you won’t fail at all, and you’ll end up with a working business.
Many of the “trying to fail” strategies entail examining your business opportunities and speculating on where your company can go wrong in the future. Then go work out that portion. Even if your product is superior, it won’t matter if you construct the finest platform for selling Beanie Babies in the world if your whole client base is already pleased with eBay and won’t switch. It’s pointless to design a great lock exclusively for ridesharing scooters since the scooter providers don’t seem to mind if the scooters are stolen.
It would be fantastic if there was a method to determine whether or not your product will be purchased before you wrote a single line of code. So, where do MVPs fit into the picture? You have a hypothesis as a startup, and an MVP is the minimum amount of work you can undertake to confirm or disprove it.
Dropbox’s MVP is famously used as an example by Eric Ries, the author of “The Lean Startup.” It wasn’t a full-fledged offering with all of the bells and whistles. It wasn’t a product that was missing a lot of features. It was a demonstration video for a product. The response to that video gave the company the assurance it needed: if they constructed it, they’d be able to find a market for their yet-to-be-made product. That’s exactly what they did: Created the product, which was a big success.
Creating an excellent minimum viable product (MVP), creating a solid MVP necessitates thinking outside the box. What is the smallest amount of code you can write? Is it possible to get away with doing no design? Could you run simply an advertising campaign and a check-out page, then refund everyone who places a purchase, if your main concern is whether you can attract clients at a reasonable customer acquisition cost?
Could you establish a phony brand and obtain a response to your product if it seems like fun but you’re worried about brand risk? The challenge is to consider the hypothesis carefully: what must be true about your product, the market, the issue area you’re entering, the clients you want to attract, and the competition landscape? What level of assurance do you have that your assumptions are correct? Designing a fantastic MVP is a skill, but it all begins with a great question.