Every successful business started somewhere. In fact, most started small. Think Twitter, Airbnb, Foursquare, and so on. When these businesses were launched, they weren’t as grand or multi-featured as they are today. They all started with a minimum viable product (MVP) and then grew gradually from there.
Take Airbnb as an example.
Two men, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, started by cheaply offering their apartments to people that participated in their hometown conference. They did this to raise money to pay rent. So they designed a simple website showing photos of their flat. It didn’t take long and the demand for the service began to grow really fast.
Today, Airbnb doesn’t just connect hosts to guests, but also connects people seeking adventurous and unusual experiences to people offering those experience. This didn’t happen overnight. Airbnb started with an MVP and then scaled gradually.
So What’s an MVP
As mentioned above, it means minimum viable product. It’s simply that product of your dream, which is also valuable, but which requires a minimum amount of resources to create. It simply means starting small.
Think of it as a mango seed. It’s a single thing–valuable, easy to plant, and doesn’t need you to focus on multiple things at once. You plant the mango seed. It gradually grows, developing new branches and leaves, then bearing flowers and fruit. That’s how many successful businesses grow from an MVP to a giant corporation.
Why Start with an MVP?
Reduce Development Cost
A minimum viable product is one that requires the least amount of resources to create. According to a report by Go-Globe, 29% of new businesses run out of money before they are fully established. Don’t try to do it all at once. That would only push up your development expenses and before you know it, you are out of money. Start with a product your resources can handle. Then add more features as you grow.
Do a Test Run
How do you know for certain that people are interested in (and will buy) the product you want to create? In the beginning, all you have is a viable product. That it shares similarities with a popular product doesn’t necessarily mean that people will be interested in yours. The only way to truly know is by doing a test run with an MVP. By starting with an MVP, you would be able to understand how interested people are in your product and then gradually introduce new features from there.
Receive and Use Feedbacks
Which one is easier and better? Using great feedbacks to add valuable features to a simple product? Or dismantling a multi-featured product and doing away with some already-built features so you can incorporate feedbacks into the product? An MVP allows you to start small and then add desirable features by utilising feedbacks.
Save Time and Money
Don’t spend a year and lots of money trying to build a fully developed business when you can spend a month and a smaller amount starting with an MVP and then growing from their to become fully established. Ask yourself this question: what if after spending a year and all that money building that full-blown business, it doesn’t connect with people? That would be a whole year and lots of money wasted. By starting with an MVP, you can course correct as you go.
Get Your First Paying Customer and Grow from There
Don’t spend too much time building your product that you forget you are doing it to make money. Remember, to make money, you need customers. And using forever to build a complex product isn’t going to help you get those customers.
First, you need something simple. Something that solves just one problem. Something you can sell to one person. That’s where an MVP comes in. If you can sell that product to one customer and the customer likes it, chances are that they will tell their family and friends. From there, you begin to get more customers and grow.
Find out how Macaulay Gidado can help grow your new business.