MVP is not Just for Startups: The Importance of Finding Your Company's MVP
What comes to mind when you think of Uber? Probably a fully developed feature-rich app. But did you know that Uber, and other apps like it, started as a minimum viable product?
Uber took years to perfect and the company avoided wasting development costs by releasing their features bit by bit.
But what if you’re a big company? Isn’t this approach only for lean startups? Not at all. Companies of all sizes can use an MVP to set a business or product up for greater long-term success.
The Truth About Minimum Viable Product Research
Large companies should look at what their neighborhood lean startup does before they release a product. What do they all have in common? They research—a lot.
A lean startup does research to figure out what their customers want and what the market needs. They ask themselves, what solution does my minimum viable product need to provide before we launch?
Large companies need to ask even more questions because their competition is fierce. Additionally, high development costs are not favorable in the eyes of stakeholders.
The first iteration of your product doesn’t have to be the best, but it does need to solve at least one problem for your audience. Naturally, its essential to determine what those problems might be.
MVP research should ultimately be viewed as a learning process. Confidently forging ahead with what your team just “knows” will work can cost your company big time. Lean startups take a more agile approach that cautiously enters the market only after extensive research.
One of the most important elements of this research are customer interviews.
Why Customer Interviews are Critical
There’s no better way to determine your MVP than by asking your target customer what they want. Both established companies and startups do well to understand their customer’s problems and motivations, and asking questions is a great way to discover them.
Here are a few sample questions to ask.
What’s the most difficult part of your day?
What activity consumes most of your time?
What would improve your experience with (whatever process most closely fits your niche)?
What are your biggest professional goals?
Validating Your Product Idea
Would you say that [the value you offer] is important or unimportant?
How would you feel if there was a solution to [problem they mentioned that relates to your product]?
On a scale of 1 to 10, how important to you is it that this [problem] is solved?
Asking nuanced questions reveals the cold hard reality about your product. What you may have thought was a great idea can turn out to be dead in the water. This saves you wasted development costs. Customer interviews can also inspire your team to further improve your minimum viable product before your launch date.
Summing It Up
Preparation is key to launching a successful MVP. With the help of customer interviews and extensive market research, both lean startups and established companies can create products that the market wants and needs.