Most of the innovations die in the initial stage or before the final execution as the fear keeps on creeping in regarding its failure. Out of 100 innovative ideas, hardly five reach till the execution level. Does that mean you should stop thinking out of the box for that so-called fear of failure? The answer is a big NO.
If we talk about organizations, they have adopted an agile approach while introducing anything new to the market. Rather than relentlessly throwing away a product which is padded out with redundant features to the market, the focus has shifted towards its “suitability.” Now, the intention is to get more insights over its “acceptability” among the customers.
“Minimum Viable Product” is one such concept which can enlighten you about your product suitability and acceptability in the initial stages itself. It focuses on introducing a product or service with just satisfactory features to first ascertain its acceptability in the market rather than launching a full-fledged product.
The concept of “Minimum Viable Product” got its insights from a lean startup. Along with basic suggestions and constant feedbacks, it aims to assure that your final product or service is all set to rock the market. Let’s dive more in-depth on how MVP can benefit your innovation in myriad ways:
What will happen if you put all of your entire hard earned money, time, and effort to develop a product and ultimately it fails when reaches to the market? Mere a thought of such a scenario is enough to give you nightmares, but what if it comes true?
You don’t have to quit dreaming, the solution here is to rely on MVP. You need to incorporate essential yet sufficient features in your product and introduce it in the market, where the focus is on its “core value.”
It is a general notion among product managers to inculcate all the features in the product to offer maximum value, though it can not guarantee success. It is suggested to first offer “just the core features” and then something extra to delight the customers.
As it can be a scenario where the customer won’t like even the core features, then it will be absurd if we expect them to love the additional features. Rather than giving up the thought of development, MVP can help your product to reach to new heights.
The best part is you are not confining your product only to those limited essential features. You can introduce new features as and when required in the future. Adding new features will not only save your initial expenditure but will be like a step by step guide to capturing the market.
As less is the new more, MVP can be a savior to your CAPEX and OPEX.
Facebook started with MVP, where initially the focus was on connecting the college students so they can interact with each other and socialize to the fullest. Later on, its charisma attracted almost every individual, everywhere. Facebook then has incorporated end number of new features through technological and IT advancements. Today, there are nearly 2.27 billion Facebook users worldwide.
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It is implied that MVP can lead to savings concerning cost, time and efforts. You spend less time and efforts in the development of the product as you are not cramming all the features outrightly. So rather than years, it will only take a few months and rather than a few million dollars, it will just cost a few thousand dollars.
Moving on from Facebook, Dropbox, on the other hand, went one step ahead as compared to its rivals. It didn’t create any prototype product instead just a video on how their product will going to work and how it can influence. The company succeeded in making an impression among the minds of customers that such product exists. Dropbox wanted to check the acceptability and success of their idea “of online backup service.” As rest is history, the idea attracted more than 70,000 people in just one night, and they all wanted the product badly, and as soon as possible. In 2018, its revenue was more than $339.2 million.
Buffer did something like Dropbox. Instead of a product, they created a landing page which can portray the idea of how “buffer” works as well as its essential features. For those who might not be aware, Buffer is a social media tool, which can help you to schedule your posts on different social media platforms. The people who were interested mentioned their names in the waiting list, and that’s how the whole journey of the scheduling platform started.
The primary aim of Minimum Viable Product is to provide a few yet core features of a product or service to understand whether the customers will accept it or not on the first parlance. Rather than padding up with unwanted elements, it works on the philosophy of “Less is More.” In the case of websites and web pages, the focus should be on creating an attractive User interface and User experience.
When we talk about using a webpage having a fantastic UX and UI as an MVP, there can’t be a better option than Airbnb. Let’s unravel, what they have done.
Airbnb is a classic example. It all started with a simple idea that clicked to Brian and Joe to rent a few rooms of their house to the tourists to earn extra income. They created a webpage which was simple with bare minimum features and few pictures. Currently, Airbnb holds a valuation of more than $31 billion. All they did was offering just the essential information which initially a customer look for such as fare, pictures of the room, amenities, and safety concerns rather than creating a fancy website design or providing additional services. MVP hence reduces risk, uncertainties, and chances of failure.
Amazon, the e-commerce giant also started with MVP. It has been instituted by selling the books online. It followed a simple webpage design, and the goal was to provide books at low cost and challenge the other brick and mortar models. Now, it has spread its wings to almost every industry and has become a no. 1 choice of customers worldwide. Today, Amazon is omnipresent, the total net sales of Amazon worth more than $56.6 billion and has more than 500 million active accounts.
As the product initially target a niche market with few customers, their valuable insights can help a lot to build a successful outcome. Customers are the end users. Coming to terms with the issues they are facing in using the product is essential for the company to know and resolve on time. Also, customers appreciate companies which acknowledge their feedbacks and concerns.
Buffer, as we discussed above, used emails to communicate with their customers and to get to know their expectations. This valuable discussion helped Buffer a lot in constantly surpassing the customers’ expectations. They focused on continuous learning and constant improvement to upgrade their product with time and to align with the digital era.
This is one of the most crucial points as we have been talking about acceptability for so long now. MVP is undoubtedly an ideal approach to understand the potential customers’ mindset in advance.
Twitter, a prominent platform for tweets didn’t get the popularity overnight. It indeed has emerged with time. The company Odeo in its tough times decided to form an SMS based messaging platform. They created “twttr” for their internal use, but the founders of Odeo soon found that their employees were spending dollars on posting SMS to the platform. SMSs were indeed costly in that era, and this inflicted an idea to create something free yet useful for seamless communication.
Uber also had covered a very long journey to reach where it is now. It all started in San Francisco and initially, it aimed to connect the drivers with the iPhone users who weren’t afraid to pay via credit cards to an app. The primary objective was to provide cheap taxi services. Because of the enormous success through MVP, now it has scaled and expanded its transactions massively in every country.
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For developing mobile apps or websites, MVP is the ultimate and most preferred choice. The focus is on attracting the web audience to the company’s landing page and observing their behavior. Mobile app development with the help of MVP is also getting the momentum, all thanks to the mobile first approach.
Spotify is an exemplary example which initially created a desktop app and then launched its mobile app where the emphasis was on just one single feature. The goal of Spotify was to provide an outstanding streaming service, and they solely focused on “music streaming.” They have a database of more than 12 million songs which people can enjoy legally. The streaming giant has also provided comfort, i.e., with just one Spotify account you can listen to songs on smartphones, tablets, laptops, PCs, and television. You must be aware of “Uber Spotify,” which can certainly make your ride more musical.
Another great example is Snapchat, which was created by students of Stanford University with an intention to share messages that can destruct automatically in 10 seconds after reading. In Snapchat messages and images are available for a short period. The first version was launched in 2011 and dedicated solely for sharing pictures. Now, apart from sharing photos, it is also used to share videos, text, and drawings. There are more than 400 million stories created daily on Snapchat today.
MVP is indeed a solution to all your questions, concerns and, uncertainties. It can be dangerous to place the final product to the market directly. Continuous improvement-and-feedback is indeed crucial for success. Ultimately, the crux is plough less, reap more.