Startups get launched at an unprecedented speed these days, which isn’t surprising given that there are over 472 million entrepreneurs worldwide. To give you some numbers, there are over 305 million startups that emerge globally every year.
Do all of them make it to success? Unfortunately, no. In fact, only one out of 10 business startups survive the competitiveness. However, this shouldn’t discourage you. At the end of the day, failure is a natural part of the entrepreneurial journey and even the most successful companies have experienced challenges along the way.
Building a startup MVP can significantly improve your chances of success and help you achieve long-term success. In the article, we’ll tell you about what an MVP for startups is and how it differs from corporate MVPs. Plus, we’ll give you some useful tips on how to build one to avoid failure, based on our own experience.
1. What Is an MVP in a Startup
A minimum viable product or MVP is a barebone version of a product that has the minimal required number of features (hence the name) to allow it to be used by early adopters and to gather feedback. This could be a one-page website, for example, that provides a simple explanation of the product or service and a way for users to sign up or express interest.
Alternatively, it could be a prototype of a physical product with just enough functionality to showcase its potential. Whatever the case, it is important that the MVP clearly communicates the value of the product or service, looks promising to both potential clients and investors, and gives users the opportunity to provide feedback.
It’s worth noting that a start up MVP and a corporate MVP are quite different, despite the fact that they are both designed to test assumptions. The main difference between them lies in the context in which they are developed.
For example, in a corporate setting, an MVP may be used to test a new product or feature within an existing product line or to explore a new market opportunity. An MVP product development for a startup is often focused on testing a completely new product idea or business idea in the market.
Additionally, an MVP tailored to corporations may be developed within a larger organizational context, with multiple stakeholders and decision-makers involved in the process. Because of this, the entire process typically requires more resources and can take a considerable amount of time.
Startups, on the other hand, have limited resources. Therefore, the speed with which they launch a new product is a crucial factor when it comes to success. The quicker they can validate their product idea with an MVP, the more likely they are to attract investors and gain market share before competitors catch up.
2. What Is the Reason That Startups Invest in MVP
Creating an MVP for startups is a must-step to minimize the risk of failure and keep costs low. By investing in an MVP, companies can test the market, gather feedback, and make informed decisions about the product roadmap in the future. They can also identify customers’ pain points and improve the product by adding the features that offer the most value.
Another reason startups develop MVPs is to attract investors. Investors, though always on the lookout for great ideas, are often hesitant to invest in startups that have not proven their product idea. However, after startups release an MVP, they can show potential business partners that their product is in demand and that they are able to realize their vision.
Finally, MVP development allows startups to conserve resources. Developing a full-fledged product can be a time-consuming and expensive process. With an MVP, though, they can focus on building the core features that are necessary to enter the market fast.
As a result, they can reduce the risk of burning through their funding even before they have a chance to prove their product’s potential.
3. Develop an MVP for Startup: Three Things to Keep in Mind
Developing an MVP can be quite a daunting task, especially for new teams that lack experience in product development. However, by keeping these three key things in mind, your chances of nailing the MVP process will increase significantly.
Core MVP value
The very first step, even before putting pen to paper, is to ensure that the product you plan to create has a core value for customers. It’s easy to jump to the wrong conclusions, assuming that if you like a product, everyone else will, too. However, in reality, if your product fails to communicate its value, and people don’t see any benefit, it’s a waste of time, effort, and resources to pursue something that doesn’t meet customer needs.
Next, it’s essential to define success metrics for the MVP before launching it. Otherwise, how would you know if it’s delivering on the goals or not? So, identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) that will help you track the success of your MVP.
For example, if your goal is to attract a certain number of users, specify the exact number that would mean you’ve reached your goal. Want to understand the rate of return and the overall success of your marketing and sales efforts? Then you should watch for the customer lifetime value metrics.
Finally, startups should keep scalability in mind when developing their MVPs. While the initial focus should be on the core value of the product, the only way companies can scale and meet future demand is by planning for future growth and laying the groundwork for it from the outset. Moreover, this can also help avoid costly rework down the road.
4. Step-by-Step Instructions to Creating an MVP for Startups
Identify the problem
First and foremost, identify the problem that you are trying to solve. This is the foundation of your MVP that will guide all other steps. If your product isn’t solving any problem and the problem isn’t even there, it is doomed to fail.
In addition, make sure that you have a clear understanding of how exactly the problem can be solved. By doing a detailed analysis, you’ll determine your product’s strengths and be able to prioritize the features based on their importance and impact.
Research your market and target audience
Once you have identified the problem, you should take the time to research your target audience and market demand. Here are a few questions you may want to ask yourself:
- Is your product idea fresh, or is there a lot of competition?
- What are your competitors doing?
- How are they luring customers into sign-ups and sales?
- Is there something they lack, and you can offer to fill that gap?
Use the same approach to analyze your target audience. It can be helpful to create several groups of personas. This will help you better understand who your potential customers are and how your product resonates with them. Plus, it will give you insight into their willingness to pay, as well as better revenue streams and pricing mechanisms.
Come up with the core functionality
Now that you know what type of problem your product is solving, who your target audience is, and how strong the demand for your product is, you can move to the next step — determining the core functionality of your product.
Resist the temptation to build more features into your product than you need. You will have a chance to add them in later releases. At the stage of creating an MVP, all you want is to focus on prototyping and user testing and ensure that you don’t spend money on a faulty design.
Define project scope
The next step is to define the scope of your project, including the timelines, resources, and budget. This will help you stay on track with your project and ensure that you’re working toward a tangible goal.
Develop user stories
A good practice is to develop user stories. Once you have an idea of who your customers are and what they are looking for in a product or service, create a number of scenarios demonstrating how your customers are most likely to interact with your product. It’s important to be descriptive here and include as many details as you can. For example:
- How will they find your product?
- What would attract their attention to it?
- What exactly would they do with it?
- How will they want to pay for it?
- How much will they want to pay for it?
- What goals would they be able to achieve?
Expand this list by including all the relevant questions that help better map out your customer’s journey.
Build an MVP
With the groundwork laid, it’s time to start building your MVP. Launch only the core functionalities and keep things simple. Many of the big players such as Airbnb, Buffer, or even Uber started out as a simple concept. They didn’t overload their products with features and refined them gradually through iterations with a focus on solving the core problems for their users.
By applying this approach in your MVP process, you can reduce the cost required for startup MVP development, avoid the money spent on the features nobody needs, and improve the chances of your startup’s success in the long run.
Launch and gather feedback
Once an MVP has been launched, it’s all about customer feedback. You should use every chance to gather feedback from your users. This can include in-app surveys, interviews, social media interactions, and customer support inquiries.
Analyze and iterate
In addition to gathering feedback, it’s also crucial to track user behavior using analytics tools. This will help you understand how users are interacting with your MVP and identify any areas of friction or user drop-off. With this data, you can make data-driven decisions to improve the user experience and increase user engagement.
Once you have analyzed the feedback and user behavior data, it’s time to iterate and make improvements to your MVP. Depending on the insights gained from the feedback, you may need to add new features, improve existing ones, or simplify the product design. Keep refining your MVP until you have a product that meets the needs of your customers.
5. Reasons That Lead to the Failure of Startup MVPs
Targeting 'artificial' problems
One of the most common reasons that lead to the failure of startup MVP is that companies often do not have a clear definition of the kind of problem they are trying to solve. Quite often, they either have a very vague idea of the problem they target or look at it one-sidedly. This is a big mistake.
Before beginning anything, companies should conduct in-depth market research focusing on the solutions offered by their competitors. This will help with understanding:
- The level of demand,
- How your product can stand out.
The perfect MVP can only be born by approaching it with precision and having a clear understanding of the problem you want to solve. One way to ensure this is by clearly outlining the pain points your product will address and the benefits it will provide. After that, you can get down to the most exciting part — brainstorming and coming up with solutions.
However, if you catch yourself thinking that the problem isn’t even there, it should be a red flag for you. You can’t proceed to the next steps until you know for sure how your product can help.
Overcomplicating the MVP
Overcomplicating MVPs is the second most popular reason startups fail. Instead of simplifying and launching quickly, some companies spend more hours on development than necessary, which naturally leads to higher expenses.
In addition, you risk missing out on your chance to get to market ahead of the competition if you spend too much time fine-tuning features that can be used by customers as they are. Still, this mistake is often repeated. It’s not uncommon for project managers to believe that if they include more features, people will be able to better see the value of the product.
So, make sure that you only create a basic version of startup MVP without overcomplicating it with features that can be added later. Focus on the needs of your primary user flow.
Sometimes, MVPs fail even when you have all the numbers at hand and know how to address people’s problems. The most common reason for that is poor technical implementation. If the product looks cluttered, is inconvenient to navigate, or contains bugs, very few people, including investors, will believe in its potential.
So, while it’s not necessary to include all of the features you think can make your product great; you should definitely spend time testing your product to win over the trust and loyalty of your customers right at the very beginning.
Another common reason for startup failure is insufficient funding, which can occur when companies don’t account for all the costs required to keep the project going. Therefore, it’s crucial to create a detailed cost model right from the start. Taking into account all expenses, including hardware fees, employee wages, marketing activities, and legal fees. By doing so, you can ensure that you have enough resources to sustain your startup, expand it as your business grows, and avoid running out of funds.
Finally, the belief that an MVP will sell itself, just because you know that the product is great, is another reason many startups fail. Miracles don’t happen, at least when it comes to MVPs. You need to put some effort into marketing and spreading the word about your product through the channels that your audience is most likely to use.
6. Our Experience in Creating MVP for Startups
As you can see, developing an MVP is a time-consuming process. That’s why it may be better for startups to outsource this task to an experienced MVP development company.
Our team has broad experience helping startups launch successful MVPs across a variety of industries, including but not limited to telemedicine, health and fitness, HR, fintech, and beauty. We know what steps follow what and how to optimize the process to deliver an MVP that aligns with the client’s vision and meets their goals.
To learn more about what projects we have worked on and what exactly we did, check our case studies. Below, we discuss some of our recent works to give you a quick overview.
Our team was approached by a health and wellness startup and asked to create an MVP for a service that would help pregnant women keep track of their nutrition. The goal was to develop an app that would be available on both iOS and Android platforms, as well as the web. Additionally, the app needed to be able to identify the pregnancy trimester based on the input data, and target a wider audience beyond pregnancy centers.
The client provided us with the project’s design, which we evaluated and split into two parts: mobile and web apps. To make sure that women could receive the necessary nutrition, we created a short quiz. It would generate a list of supplements and vitamins based on the user’s answers.
We also incorporated a delivery and payment system, making it possible for women both inside and outside pregnancy centers to access the service. As a result of our efforts, the client was able to launch a successful MVP that addresses a pressing need in the health and wellness niche.
Match Fit Pass
Another client’s request was to design an app that would allow users to quickly and easily find information about upcoming sports events and book their tickets, reserve a spot at nearby restaurants, and even order vaccinations or PCR tests.
We split the project into six dashboards: mobile, the web, admin, testing, vaccination, and tickets host. We also implemented an API that allowed users to scan QR codes right into their phones, which took the burden off the stadium staff. Plus, we made the system accessible to any public places that wanted to join.
7. How Lunka Tech Can Help You in Building Startup MVP
At Lunka.tech, we are experts in MVP app development services. We also have a wide range of other tech skills that we can bring to your project too. Whether it’s web development, app development, or service support and maintenance, our team is equipped to handle any challenge and bring your vision to life.
If you’re looking for a reliable team that can assist you at any stage of your project development and make sure that your startup doesn’t fall into the ranks of failed projects, look no further and contact us ASAP!
8. Final Thoughts
To develop an MVP for startups, many aspects should be taken into consideration. It starts by identifying the problem your product is solving to validating your idea to understanding how the success will be measured. You should also make sure that you’ve estimated your business plan correctly so that you have enough funding to keep going.
In this article, we have shared the important steps that startups should follow when building an MVP. By following them, you’ll minimize the risk of failure and have a greater chance to launch a successful product.
If you are hesitant about whether your experience will be enough to create a startup MVP on your own, reach out and enlist our team. This will save you lots of development hours and costly mistakes!
How to build MVP for startups?
The main thing to keep in mind is that you want it to be simple. Other than that, define the problem that the product will solve, conduct market research, and create a clear outline of the pain points that it will address. After that, brainstorm solutions and prioritize the features that are essential for the MVP.
How is MVP development for startups different from large companies?
The key difference between MVP development for startups and large companies is that the latter are not pressed for time and, most often, are not limited in resources, either. Startups, on the other hand, can’t afford to play with an MVP for ages, and for many of them, it’s a one-chance game.
Why is building an MVP beneficial?
Creating an MVP is, first of all, about cost-effectiveness. While it might seem that it’s an extra step in the development process of a product, that’s certainly not the case. The last thing you want is to invest thousands of dollars in a product that nobody needs. An MVP uses limited resources, can identify market potential and success, and rework can be done much cheaper than with a fully-developed product. Moreover, you can gradually refine it until it looks exactly like you planned.
How long does it take to develop an MVP for a startup?
On average, it takes from 2 to 4 months to build an MVP for a startup. However, this time may vary depending on the complexity of features and the requirements set by the client.