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Score High with the MVP Advantage


Rihana is a young high school graduate. She has a wonderful idea to make e-learning more interesting and interactive among students in Colorado. She wants to develop a learning and knowledge website where books can talk like your professor and teach you all that you missed in school.

She wants to incorporate live chat sessions with subject matter experts and 3d videos that explain complex science problems. When it is history class, she wants the monuments to relate their own story, which will help students register and remember the facts easily. But like most young entrepreneurs, young Rihana is not sure how to execute it in the right way to get her idea set sail smoothly. However, this doesn’t really mean her idea is vague. It is good but it needs to be validated among a niche audience first. This is where MVP comes in.
Let’s start by defining what MVP is. A young and motivated entrepreneur named Eric Ries first devised a model to help start-up companies allocate their funds properly to develop a product. He named his method the Lean Start-up, and the means to attaining it is building up an MVP, or Minimum Viable Product.
Ries defined it this way: “the minimum viable product is that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.”
Here are some of the most important parts of the mode:
  • Viable: When we say ‘viable’ this means that you need to identify what part of your entire product you believe can best target your early adopters. They will understand you are a start-up and will deal with you patiently. But again, as proverbs go, “first impression is the last impression.” You need to figure out the best bait that will strike with your early adopters to act as leaders and pass the message ahead.

    For example: In Rihana’s case, she needs to start-up with the single most important feature that will differentiate her e-learning venture from the rest. Her history class session where monuments tell their own story is interesting. This is her ‘Viable’ feature in her product.

  • Validated learning: When you are a start-up rolling out a product or service in the market, understand that you are not your best judge. It is your customers who will validate your hypothesis, and only then can your idea propel forward. You need to find out the most important feature that will best attract your target audience and compel them to take a step forward to use your product in its nascent stage.

    For example: For Rihana, once she has decided to make the historic monuments relate their own story, she needs to develop this feature, partnering with her tech team and rolling it out for validation among a group of students and professors to see how acceptable it really is.

Although MVP etymologically speaks about a ‘product,’ it doesn’t really mean that you need to come up with a product to start up the MVP way. You can demonstrate your idea and validate it using just a landing page or even a Google Ad, a PowerPoint slide, or even a Dialog box. The crux lies in showcasing the best part of your product or service and getting it verified by a section of your target audience.
So now that we all know what is this MVP thing, let’s quickly see what all can be done with it and how beneficial can it really be.
  • Remember ‘customer is the king’: By taking the MVP route, you ensure that you are building an application that has customer acceptance and not something which you believe will stand true!
    Benefit: You save money and expertise after validating the demand for the product.
  • Avoid mistakes: If you just keep developing a product and do not test it among your customers to validate your research, chances are high that you might have a big surprise ahead. Your reputation takes a toll, which take a lot of time to rebuild. So build a part of your app, validate among your target audience, and if it sounds good among all, take the initiative to go ahead and partner up for the development of the rest of the product.
    Benefit: Launching part by part saves time, money, and REPUTATION above all!
  • Refine and Redefine: Experts say the more you filter the more refined your product becomes. The MVP mode of development gives you this advantage to filter your product, validate and verify your idea numerous times within the shortest time frame.
    Benefit: You minimize the chances of your product to lose its market value.
  • Planning helps: Launching a product in stages can build anticipation. Make sure your product is not just viable but also appeals to your target audience and ensures they look out for more. Why do people watch soap operas? The reason is they build interaction and interest strategically episode after episode. And this keeps their target audience glued to their sets!
    Benefit: Your target audience will always increase and your early adopters will keep boasting about you.
In this highly competitive age, strategic planning, guided testing and proper implementation helps you to manage your resources finely without going bankrupt or failing miserably.
Published: October 9, 2013

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Debarati Mukherjee

Debarati Mukherjee is an accomplished blogger, journalist, and communicator, with over five years of media writing experience. She has written on diverse subjects ranging from entrepreneurship and small businesses to human rights, beauty, fashion and fitness. There are more than 100 articles credited to her name. Presently she is working as Director Communications with Ruby on Rails Development Company, Idyllic Software which is technology partner to startups and helps grow their business. You can follow her at Twitter or LinkedIn or write to her: debarati@idyllic-software.com.

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