How to Avoid MVP Disasters?

Have you ever been part of an MVP that ended into a disaster?

You might not be alone. Since we work with startups and entrepreneurs who create something out of nothing, we keep hearing MVP disaster stories every now and then.

Guess what, most MVP disasters have common 3 or 4 causes. Read on …

What is an MVP?

In simple words, MVP is a product with “just enough” features, which are sufficient for the startup to understand as much as possible from the products target users.

And through iterative process, bring the product to a level where users are willing to make it a “viable” business for the startup.

In most cases, MVP is a test for your startup, and not just the product itself, because most startups come to life with a product idea … their flagship product and the MVP in 80% cases is about creating their flagship product.

What does MVP allow?

The MVP allows you to present your product in its simplest form while informing them of the full potential of the product without spending valuable capital on the project before you need to.

The MVP also allows you to test the product’s viability at a much lower cost, allows consumers of the product to engage with the product idea and provide input about the product that is ultimately essential to its success, and it allows the right kind of changes and revisions to be made quickly and cost-effectively.

After all, the product you are developing is meant to be a means of income to your business, right? Therefore, it is essential that the product be what consumers are willing…even excited, to spend their money on.

The MVP is one of the most important tools any business can have in their ‘box’. But just like any other tool, it is important to know how to use it properly and effectively if you want to get the most benefit from it.

4 Most Common MVP mistakes that might turn out to be a disaster for your startup

Here are some of the costly MVP mistakes that we have observed time and again, in no particular order though.

Mistake #1: Overdo the minimum and underdo the viable.

Don’t overdo the minimum and underdo the viable in MVP.

Yes, the MVP is a basic model, but it is still a model that has to work. No, it doesn’t need to be market-ready. If it was, it wouldn’t be an MVP.

It does, however, need to have a core foundation of function-ability. For example…a website MVP should contain all the pages of the end-product; pages with headings, a few graphics, explanations of what the finished product will look like, explanations of consumer benefits of each page, and faux or mock links that will be included in the finished product.

The MVP that stops with the home page and only explains what is forthcoming doesn’t give the potential consumer a feel for what is going to take place.

Likewise, the lack of a logo, some color, and basic graphics, tends to bore people. If you want them to get excited about your product, you have to give them something to get excited about.

Mistake #2: Make a promise and do not fulfil it with MVP

Don’t’ show clients what they aren’t getting—show them what they will get when they team up with you. Brandon Schauer, CEO of Adaptive Paths, likened the MVP to a cupcake. He says that instead of showing clients an MVP of a plain cupcake and adding icing and maybe even a filling inside, show them how you can take that cupcake and turn it into a three-tiered wedding cake.

We all dislike politicians who try to put themselves in a positive light by putting others in a negative one. The same is true for business.

Tell your consumers what is great about you instead of what is wrong with everyone else.

Mistake #3: Be insanely proud with the initial MVP features

Don’t be too proud. Your MVP is a base model. It is your business’s saving grace. It is your chance to make your startup more successful and viable by using the MVP to let the consumer help you create a marketable product.

Don’t be so proud and arrogant that you refuse to take away elements of your product you feel are valuable when the consumer tests results show they are not.

Don’t be too proud to listen to the responses to your MVP and act accordingly—even if those responses tell something you don’t want to hear.

The bottom line is that you want to make money with your product—that’s why you started this project in the first place.

Mistake #4: Engaging in creating MVP when it is not required

Now, this is the most common mistake we have observed. You have read the Lean Startup book from Eric Ries and you are fascinated with the idea of creating an MVP but not all startup products require an MVP.

For example, there are startups that create geography or a category specific variants of something which is globally available. For example, we are seeing that lot of startups are creating their geography specific variants that mimic one or the other promises of Zomato, a very successful food discovery startup.

A couple of week ago, we got a request from a middle east based client who wanted to create an MVP with 80% same features as Zomato for their specific geography to compete with a local business that was doing more or less the same.

We consulted them and recommended that rather than engaging in creating an MVP, it would be better to find out a value preposition from the product idea and then validate its business feasibility. Creating an MVP is not recommended in this case because of the following reasons:

  1. There is already a product-market fit (Zomato in a different geography + a local app in the same geography)
  2. The idea is not disruptive
  3. The viability of the idea has already been validated, so rather than MVP, a product with better user experience might be beneficial

So, How to avoid MVP disasters?

By avoiding the most common mistakes that many startups commit to, knowingly or otherwise.  Lean Startup and MVP are most powerful concepts but they too are not silver bullets that can solve any problems – consult with people in the industry who have done that and been there.

Did we say that we have enabled a countless startups to bring their idea to life? Contact us now for a 20 minutes *FREE* consultation on your MVP idea.