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How to launch an MVP to the market at a funny price

How to launch an MVP to the market at a funny price

The MVP or minimum viable product in its translation into Spanish, is a concept that was coined in 2001 by Frank Robinson and popularized worldwide through the Lean startup method of Eric Ries as of 2011. It results from the parallel development of product and client , what Robinson called synchronized development .

In Robinson’s words, the MVP is the right-sized product for your company and your customer. It’s a big enough product development to get people to adopt it, use it, and be willing to pay for it. But it is not so large that it is too costly a risk . 

Told like this, it may seem very abstract, but the truth is that Ries took up and developed this concept in the construction of the Lean Startup method. And the objective of this method is neither more nor less than to build successful business models. Therefore, the MVP becomes an intermediate step to verify the market’s interest in your business model.

But before we get down to business and analyze how you can get to the market with a minimal product and not ruin yourself along the way , we need to go back in history to understand the strength of this concept. 

Warning: The purpose of this article is not to develop MVPS but to understand that through an adequate strategy, a minimum viable product (which is not your final product) can be launched on the market and help us create the final product.

The MVP in Lean startup

Eric Ries has become world-famous thanks to his method and it is taught in the most prestigious Business Schools on the planet. Large companies, founded as small startups, have grown large, influenced by his teachings. The truth is that if you want to start and found your own company, it is a book that you must read at least once.

Ries, an engineer by profession, was the co-founder and chief technical officer of his own IMVU social network startup. Although the data seemed to indicate that they had achieved continued growth, he realized that many of the development team’s efforts had no real impact on important business metrics. They ran hundreds of user tests to determine why the app they were working on was not quite the success they had anticipated. 

And the final conclusion they reached was that the product, as designed, did not like the target audience. The functionalities that they thought would be immediately viral and supported their business model did not matter. 

However, they realized that other secondary functionalities, which were not fully developed yet, aroused much more interest in the user. 

Hypothesis and minimum product

Why didn’t the IMVU user like the product? Because the development team had imagined a series of hypotheses about user behavior, assuming that they would be fulfilled without further ado. And the truth was that they were wrong, because users were far from wanting to adopt and even less pay, for the use of the app.

Upon reaching the market, the IMVU team realized that their app was not liked by users who had to adopt its use in the first place ( early adopters). 

Ries acknowledges that that first clash with reality made him think that he had failed because he had invested infinite hours of development on that product. But it was after feeling this initial failure, he began the path to success for both the company and his own method. He understood that you can create great products for yourself but that it doesn’t necessarily have to be the ideal product for others. Therefore, if an idea or hypothesis was developed around how a user will behave in front of our product, we should find out as soon as possible if we are right and without ruining ourselves along the way with costly and lengthy development processes.

Why is an MVP useful?

As we said before, the IMVU development team did hundreds of tests. The idea was demonstrated that those functionalities left half-developed and almost hidden functionalities caught the user’s attention. Furthermore, they were not perceived as half-done but rather provoked immediate curiosity. 

The team came up with many new interactions and developed them without going down to the last coat of finish. In this way, they were able to implement functionalities quickly and obtain information and analysis from the real behavior of users with a methodical analysis.

They achieved several significant milestones that were decisive in constructing the Lean Startup method

  1. They achieved a fast work cycle in which the idea was developed in its main outline, with the minimum to interact with the user. This allowed them to allocate less internal resources, time and budget to know if those functionalities liked or not.
  2. They created a customer-centric product tailored to the user’s taste, testing in real time and obtaining super useful feedback.
  3. They worked on a secure basis and avoided wasting time creating highly finished developments they would not like when they reached the user. What was developed until the end was demonstrated with the previous analysis.

How to apply the MVP to my product

Now that we have analyzed in a general way how the idea of ​​an MVP was arrived at as a quick way to get to market let’s put some closer examples.

Launch an e-commerce

Imagine that you want to set up an e-commerce of children’s clothing for cool parents

The first idea could be to develop the site ultimately, create the corporate image and art direction, search for brands, try to close deals, etc. 

Your hypothesis will be something like this: “If I make a site with very cool clothes with a cool image designed for cool parents, I will sell my products.” 

Problem: Surely, the whole process will take you many thousands of euros and a minimum of between three and six months. Imagine that your website is not well thought out for the user when you hit the market. The image and art direction don’t quite get the attention of the cool parents in the ads. And also, the clothes are perceived as too expensive with which there are no sales. 

MVP Solution: You can start by developing an Instagram profile with many cool parents. With a logo and three or four well-designed publications, invest some budget in promoting that content, segmenting the target users. Test interest in different brands and see if your communication is engaging enough or needs improvement. 

Measure the impact of your possible business idea in a short time, with a minimal budget, and with valuable feedback from your target users in real-time. 

The most important thing about working with an MVP is to extract direct knowledge of your user to the product with minimal development and investment.

Launch a social network

You love fishing, and you want to create a social network with an app for fishermen. You design the functionalities, and you need a technical team to carry out the idea. You hire a development company to do it with a significant financial outlay and with an estimated timing of between 4 and 5 months.

Your hypothesis is: “I have to launch this product on the market fully developed and the fishermen will know how to use the app and interact with it . I will also know how to do the necessary marketing to launch it on the market and get users.”

Problem: When it comes time to launch the social network on the market, you realize that it is not so easy to do mobile marketing, that you don’t even have a personal Instagram profile, that a professional community manager is quite expensive … the business idea Meanwhile, you still need thousands of users to start minimally monetizing. And the users who enter do not interact as you expected with the app.

MVP solution: By simply creating a well-built landing, you can expose the value proposition of the social network, giving the user the option to leave their email to notify them when it is ready. If the user leaves his email to notify him when the platform is online, it will have been validated that the target has an interest in the product

We can initiate a direct route with the user through email marketing to test the communication, interest, participation, and tools that they want to see in that fishing app.

With social media promotion or SEM promotion, you can make low-cost campaigns redirecting to the landing. At the same time, you can create a social media community and build user loyalty with valuable content.

With this option, you will still need some investment, but at least you can validate the hypothesis that fishers want to have a social network and use it on their fishing days. And most importantly, without ruining ourselves along the way of losing a year until we realize that we have to change our business model. 

Launching an MVP does not mean launching a botch.

If at this point, you think that launching an MVP of your product on the market is a botch, it is because I have not gotten you to understand it.

As we pointed out at the beginning, launching an MVP to the market means analyzing what we can build that the user wants to use, have or pay for, without creating the product until the end. 

In the first example proposed, we see that we can understand if the market needs and is willing to buy online fashion for children and cool parents. Creating an Instagram profile was the key for the entrepreneur who carried out this project to draw conclusions and launch ourselves into developing complete e-commerce and all that this entails. 

He was verifying his MVP cost approximately € 1,500 in total. On the one hand, he hired a designer and a digital expert to create the campaigns. On the other hand, the budget necessary to advertise on Instagram. The campaign’s success was immediate, generating in less than a week a thousand followers on Instagram and hundreds of likes in each photo uploaded. The market’s interest in the product was demonstrated. And this encouraged her to build her business in detail. 

The reason for being an MVP of your product is to define if it is worth developing it completely.

The idea of launching an MVP is a preliminary step that few entrepreneurs really take seriously. And recent history is full of examples of MVPs that have soon become success stories. But in many cases, we are so convinced of the validity of our idea that we set out to develop it and get lost along the way. Keep this in mind. Entrepreneurship does not have to be ruinous. Study your market, your product, and your buyer. And define an intermediate step in MVP to verify that your proposal is valid in the market. And when you have it clear, go for it. Luck!

Murarish

Founder/ Director of LTR Magazine - Tech Blog For Reviews.

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