The secret sauce for app-based businesses: MVP

People starts their business with an idea, however, only few of them are winning.

“Is the idea good just for me or for many people?” -  this is the key question that may keep you up in the middle of the night.

Many entrepreneurs and individuals dream to establish a winning business with a great startup app idea. Even after spending months or even years, developing or improving their final product, they tend to fall short radically. The most common reason is that the founders do not communicate with their potential customers and tend to directly launch their final product thinking that the users will flock to use their product.

It’s better to find out if the product you plan to launch is required by other people or not. The best way to do that is by launching a minimum viable product (MVP).

Rather than releasing a full-fledged mobile app with all the features, you can go for building an MVP App, which will save you money and time and help identify the risks associated with your MVP App Development, at comparatively low cost. By adopting this strategy you may sleep well at night without distressing yourself with a major product failure.

What is a Minimum Viable Product?

MVP – A minimum viable product is a technique used by startups and developers in which a new product is launched with just enough features that are core to the product. MVP product development incorporates only the core features set, good UI/UX and standards-based design. It is created to demonstrate the product idea, examine the key assumptions about interactions and determine customer reactions.

MVP for startups is an adaptation of the final product that helps you validate your idea with your potential customers with the least amount of efforts. Launching a product based on your gut feeling about what the market might need can be disastrous both from time and money aspects.

The MVP concept redefines this and ensures that you launch a thin product to get the feedback about the idea from potential consumers at an early stage, to follow their reaction and willingness to purchase a product.

The concept of Launching the “Minimum Viable Product” (MVP) has become popular in the business and startup community over the last few years.

MVP – the term was coined by Eric Ries. He is the author ‘The Lean Startup’ and one of the founders of ‘Lean Technologies’.

Why it is necessary to build an MVP app?

An MVP App is the quickest way from an idea to a business. It provides a quick market entry and therefore real user experience that gives an opportunity to assess the potential of a project.

  • MVP is the crux of an app

An MVP app doesn’t include secondary functions it concentrates only on one idea.  MVP is an app that has a single feature (or very less number of features) yet provides enough value to give it a spin and you start getting the customers with minimum risks.

  • MVP helps you guess less and win more

It’s not reasonable to spend months developing an app with a bunch of features just to find out that people do not need it. If you ask people the question: What do you want? They will say… Actually, people literally don’t know what they want and won’t be able to give you a clear answer.  So only offer a few features, variants, options and then measure the data on which of those features are appealing to the users.

The advantages of  MVP app Development

  • Raise funds when you need them

MVP App allows you to show a reflection of your final-product to your potential users. MVP helps you to provide the innovative features initially and bring more features in the future. It is affordable to launch a thin version of your Full-Featured Mobile App in the form of an MVP and test the market traction and feasibility. Once you have the required traction it becomes much easier to raise the funds.

  • Evolutionary Product Life-Cycle

Since the MVP Mobile App only incorporates the core features of your product, it becomes much easier to pivot your product roadmap based on the customer requirements. Mobile App Founders can modify their product roadmap or change it completely to ensure that the users get the product they need based on the actual data that is gathered with the MVP.

  • ROI-Driven Investment

The development of a full-fledged mobile app can take several months. In some cases it might take a year or more. The cost of such a development is also very high. The MVP on the other hand reduces the upfront cost significantly. Mobile App MVPs are built on the incremental value-add model. You can polish the design and features with each update.

Types of  MVP 

While there is no hard and fast rule on the types of MVPs and it depends on the use-case in each scenario, however, here’s a breakdown of some notable types of MVPs.

Piecemeal MVP

Piecemeal MVP is a smart way to introduce your product to the customers by investing a less amount (or even nothing) in a product. In Piecemeal MVP, By using existing tools and solutions you can deliver your product or service. To create the foundation for your product the piecemeal MVP will put the components from multiple sources together.

An example of a piecemeal MVP was Groupon, an American marketplace that connects customers with local retailers, travel agencies, grocers, etc.

Concierge MVP

A concierge MVP is the best approach to get to know your customers and validate your business idea. In this you provide the service manually and analyze your audience, this type of MVP allows you to pivot easily if you find out that customers actually want a different product.

The famous examples of a product that was initially launched with a concierge MVP is Food on the Table.

Wizard of Oz MVP

A Wizard of Oz MVP is a fastest way to test a startup that provides services of any kind: from catering to flower delivery. This type of MVP basically creates the illusion of the actual product ‘Wizard of Oz’-type MVPs are sometimes called “Manual-first MVPs” or “Flintstoning MVPs.”

Zappos, is a good example of a Wizard of Oz MVP.

Why MVP for Mobile App?

MVP App Development helps you analyze the risks that are involved in releasing the final version of your mobile apps. It is much more economical to develop and launch an MVP Mobile App to understand the market needs and requirements.

The MVP Mobile App approach allows you to test the behavior of the customer even before completing the full app development project.

Perks Of MVP App Development

  • Diminishes Startup Risks
  • Requires Less Investment
  • Prepares For Smooth Market Release
  • Provides Genuine Feedback From Users

How to create Mobile App Development MVP? 

Try to spark the emotion of your users  – that triggers them to buy your idea. Following are the steps to follow on how to build an MVP:

  • Validate your app idea

The first step is to validate your app idea. Keep the feedback loop open and directly ask for feedback from within the app. Try the A/B testing to compare the results of certain variables.

  • Focus on what users want

Don’t push the features you want to see in the app on to your users. Instead keep a focus on what the users want. Come up with the core feature of your app that will solve a problem for your users and then build that as an MVP.

  • Never distract from your app goal

Successful entrepreneurs have always kept their eye on the goal. And probably that’s the mantra of their success. In the process of reaching the actual goal If your team confuses the MVP goal – you are finished!

  • Follow the Lean Development process

You should be clear about the mobile app development MVP strategy you have made and stick to it. Constantly remind yourself about the importance of the mobile app development MVP strategy you have drafted.

  • Focus on WHY and not WHAT

When you are choosing the features of your app, you must think – what’s there to offer that’s still unavailable? If you feel off track, think of this question. Apart from that, think about where your users are and how will you get in touch with them to offer them the solution you will come up with.

What Features to Include in an MVP

Finalizing what features to include in an MVP is a difficult process. Always Keep in mind that the main features to include in an MVP are only the features that are connected to its overall goal.

You should create a detailed workflow along with your partner to represent your MVP and prioritize only the features needed to take your product to market.

What Features to Avoid in an MVP

  • Cool Add-ons

These are the features that serve only an aesthetic purpose. They don’t actually add value to the MVP. We can take the example of social media integration, which is a nice to have but makes more sense to add in the later stages of development.

  • Copycat Features

You should not copy every feature your competitor has in your MVP. When you try to add enough features as an established app, you’re adding scope to the project which subsequently affects the timeline and budget.  Your main purpose should be to develop an MVP that aligns with your business goals.

  • Mobile App Features Requested By Early Users

Even though the user feedback is very important and it shapes each stage of your application, you should still proceed with caution. Don’t add everything that your users request in the initial phase. Cluttering your app with tons of features would do no good to you and your users.

How much does It Cost to Build an MVP Mobile app?

The cost is a deciding factor for a lot of people. While this is an important factor, this should not be the only factor driving your decision. Let’s explore why.

The cost might determine whether you should follow your goal and bring your app idea to life or put it on a back burner.

You might get scared if you Google the cost of an MVP. You might find articles saying that it costs $500k to make Facebook or $300k to make Instagram. There’s nothing to be scared of though, those numbers are actually about the full-fledged app price.

The top most advantage of developing an MVP App rather than building a full-fledged app is the ‘Cost’.

Before taking any decision you need to understand: How Much Does It Cost To Make A Mobile App and the factors on which cost is calculated, then you will be able to understand the MVP app cost. The minimal viable product app development cost depends on the approach that you will deploy:

  • Make it yourself
  • Outsource the MVP development
  • Hire a developer to build MVP App
  • Hire a mobile app development company

In general, the cost of an MVP is calculated on hourly basis. A freelancer might charge you lesser but won’t guarantee quality work or success of your app. An app development agency with a specialist might charge higher but will get the job done with quality and on time and increase the chances of your app’s success.

The critical question is: Freelancers charge much less than established companies, then why should an app founder opt for MVP Product Development Company?

The answer is ‘The associated risk factors’.

It is impossible to trace a freelancer sitting miles away from you. You will not have the required details apart from a phone number or maybe Skype. This information is not sufficient to contact a person if the number is not reachable or the Skype ID doesn’t work after a while. There have been tons of instances and freelance nightmares, where they have disappeared for months without informing and left people hanging in the middle.

But an app development agency will be more professional; even if one contact is not working you will have details of other persons along with a registered address on the website.This is just one reason why you should hire app development companies instead of freelancers, the list is quite long.

Usually, creating an MVP mobile app takes 1-2 months (compared to 6-12 months to build a full app).

The duration of MVP development highly depends on the complexity of the solutions needed to build it, a platform for the app, iOS or Android and whether it’s gonna be Native or Hybrid App. Also, you need to know the hourly rate of the mobile app development company you plan to hire to get the job done.

The rates vary tremendously, from $20/hour for an Indian Mobile App Development Company to $250/hour for a US-based app development company.

Moving forward. Take an example of the minimum timeline for MVP development – one month:

Let’s take a simple example with, let’s say, $30/hour.

  • 40 hours*$30 = $1200 in weekly cost
  • 1400*4 = $4,800 for one month, which could be the total cost of your MVP

Examples of famous companies that started with MVP

  • Facebook ($250,000 in 9 months)
  • Twitter ($50,000 to $250,000)
  • Uber ($1M to $1.5M)
  • Whatsapp ($250,000 in 9 months)
  • Pinterest ($120,000 in 4 months)
  • Shopify ($250,000 and $300,000 in 4-6 months)

How to Build an MVP app?

Build, Measure and Improve. This is the most important aspect to build MVP app. Create a list of the core features of your app idea and then follow the below steps to build an MVP app.

  • Setting a hypothesis
  • Developing a prototype
  • Testing
  • Processing data and analyzing a hypothesis
  • Launch

You’ve launched your MVP Mobile App. What Next?

Continue Development and Perk Up

If your MVP App plan goes well then continue working on launching incremental updates. Make improvements and add new features as demanded by the users.

Make Amendments

If your MVP Mobile App fails to get the attention you had hoped for, then try some amendments. You can tweak the existing features or pivot to something new quickly and launch a newer version of your app.

End The Project

If your MVP Mobile App doesn’t stand true to the hypothesis multiple times, then it might be the right time to dump the project and think of a new idea. Remember the whole idea of the MVP is to test and fail fast.

Conclusion

MVP mobile apps for your startup is a great tool to validate your ideas and quickly check the risks involved with the least amount of time and money, which would otherwise be spent on in a Full-Fledged Product Development.  

It’s critical to go for minimum viable product development if you want to avoid any future failures after launching full-featured products. Minimum Viable Product is an approach that will enable you to get information about the user with the help of a basic app without spending much time and money. You just need is to formulate your business hypothesis, identify key functions and choose a good mobile app development company for your project.

It is the most appropriate alternative to save money and time as well. Hence determine to build an MVP for your startup and gear up to achieve a huge business success.

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