Rapid Prototyping or WTF is an MVP?
In today’s world, creating a product doesn’t require an engineering division, a marketing department, a legal advisory, and a salesforce – (though as an entrepreneur you are expected to be all of those anyway), you can get something up, validated, and into your customers hands in next to no time.
The trick here being to start with the customer, their problem, then give them what they desire asap. Getting to MVP and getting feedback is critical to making a product successful.
For those of you technically minded and want to go deep into your validation (not years, just the next 5 days…) one way to do this is to “fake it till you make it”, literally, create a fake version. Google does it all the time. We have done a few design sprints recently and they are very liberating. A fantastic process to go through, loads of fun. This will be the subject of an upcoming post, but for now, the link above will take you to a pretty comprehensive site explaining how to do this.
The other way is to get into the actual building, but not the whole thing. The last thing you want to do is spend the next 6-12 months (or more) of your time, effort, and possibly money, building something only to find out no one wants it.
So just what is an MVP?
For those of you following along, we are up to Day 2 in the 7 Day Startup:
Day 2 – The MVP
It is a common mistake to over-minimize and under-viablize your Minimal Viable Product (“MVP”). Do not put out an MVP that is much worse than current products.
- Put up screenshots, explain the product
- Client pays, make them do a few actions (for data collection purposes)
- Tell them their product will be ready soon
- Call and talk them through what’s being done; give them the product
Forget about automating everything, figure out what you can do manually now to launch within a week.
This may be hard and probably very painful too. But it’s even more painful to have worked on automating the task for months just to find out no one wants to use it.
Do not worry about how ugly or painful it looks on your end; what matters is that it looks like it will solve the customer’s problem.
Always make sure you can deliver on customer expectations. Even if it means doing more manual work, make sure you can mimic the customer experience as quickly as possible.
Features Tell, Benefits Sell
Internet Marketing Uber-Guru Pat Flynn points out that what you want to list are benefits, not features.
For example, let’s say you were creating a portable music player for the consumer market (wink)
- Storage for 1GB of MP3’s
- 1000 songs in your pocket
Focus only on what you need to do to make the MVP something people would pay for. Just prove that people would pay for it.
A final note from the author: Do not do free versions. Charge on the first day.
How can you perform a service or offer a product to real customers?
How will you get them to pay you on launch day?
How close will your MVP be to the final vision of your product?
What can you do manually (hint: probably everything)?
What can you do yourself instead of delegating?
How can you make your offer as real as possible for the end customer?
- Write down what you will launch on day 7
- What will your customers get?
- What is included? (remember – benefits)
- What is excluded?
- What will be automated?
- What will be manually done (in the short term)?
We’re here to help. Let us know in the comments what you will create for your MVP or if you are struggling with where to start and we will point you in the right direction.