How to create and test a minimum viable product

Dial it in

Why test a minimum viable product? Well, coming up with a new product idea is great — but it can also be risky. If you don’t know whether your ideal customers are even interested in the new product, you risk spending a lot of money on building and marketing a product nobody wants. Needless to say, doing so results in a financial loss for your company — and no savvy business owner wants that.

But when you test a minimum viable product, you avoid the risk mentioned above. By creating a minimum viable product, you can gauge the market interest and the potential profits without investing a ton of money and time into it.

Curious to know how it works? You’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll explain what a minimum viable product is, why launching a minimum viable product is better than launching a full-fledged product, and finally, how to come up with and test a minimum viable product.

What is a minimum viable product?

The concept of a minimum viable product (also referred to as an MVP) was introduced in a best-selling book by Eric Ries titled The Lean Startup and released in 2011. The term refers to a product that has only the bare minimum of features needed to solve a particular problem.

The goal behind an MVP is to release it before it’s actually finished (or actually exists), and then test a minimum viable product to see whether your ideal customers would be interested in it and gain feedback from them not only on the product idea itself but also future features, pricing, and more.

Main benefits of a minimum viable product

Launching and preparing to test a minimum viable product has several benefits over launching a full-fledged product.

  • Allows you to test a product idea with minimal resources.
  • Requires less production and development time.
  • Allows you to launch a product quickly and get it to your customers early.
  • Serves as a base for other products.

Now, let’s look at how to create a minimum viable product.

How to come up with a minimum viable product

Test Minimum Viable Product Creation

Now that you know what a minimum viable product is — and the main advantages of launching an MVP rather than a full-fledged product — let’s cover how to actually create and test a minimum viable product.

1. Figure out the problem, how you can solve it, and for whom

The first step on your journey is to identify the problem you’re trying to solve. If you’re just starting out, think about your own frustrations in everyday life.

If you already have a business, go back through your emails, messages, and other forms of communication with your customers and see what frustrates them.

Once you know what problem you can solve, you need to understand how you’re going to solve it — and who is going to benefit the most from your solution.

2. Analyze the market

The next step is to do market research and see if a similar (or even the same) product exists. During this phase, take a look at the competitors and find ways to differentiate your product. Look at what’s missing and what can be improved, as well as customer feedback to help you identify the missing or desired features.

3. Find the simplest way to solve the problem

You also need to identify the simplest way to solve the problem. This will depend on the type of business you’re in and the problem you’re trying to solve.

For example, if you primarily deal with digital products, is your product going to be a web app, a mobile app, downloadable software, or something completely different?
Or, are you dealing with physical products and want to launch a cool new gadget to solve the existing problem?

4. Identify core features

Once you know what your minimum viable product will be, identify the core features that will be needed for minimum functionality. First, focus on the problem you’re solving and consider what the most important action is that your users need to accomplish.

This will be your main feature.

 

You can also consider additional features that you’d like to offer, and prioritize them to determine whether they are necessary for core functionality or increased interest at this stage or if they are just “nice to have.”

5. Build and learn

The last step in creating a minimum viable product is to actually build it, get feedback on it from early adopters, and learn from it. This stage is also the beginning of the iterative approach and feedback cycle because you will be continually adding new features and improving the product based on feedback.

How to test a minimum viable product

Test Minimum Viable Product Phones

Testing is crucial for continued development and success. Here are four ways to test a minimum viable product:

1. Customer feedback

The most important and most commonly used way to test a minimum viable product is to get feedback from customers who are going to use it. You can interview them after they have used the minimum viable product for a period of time or ask them fill out a survey so you can see if the product meets their expectations, truly solves their problem, and identify what features they would like to see added in future versions of the product.

2. Landing page

A great way to test a minimum viable product when you have no customers to begin with is to use a landing page that announces the launch of a product, explains the core features, and asks visitors to sign up.

3. Crowdfunding

Another popular method of testing your minimum viable product is crowdfunding with sites like Kickstarter or IndieGoGo.

Here, you can get your product idea in front of many eyeballs and judge the interest for your product by seeing how many contributions your campaign gets.

Not only that, but you can also get the necessary funds to develop your product further and benefit from word-of-mouth marketing and continuous feedback.

4. Explainer videos

With the continuous rise in popularity of video marketing, an explainer video is a great low-cost way to test the waters and judge whether or not people would be interested in your product.

Demonstrating how your product would be used and how it would solve a problem can go a long way towards creating hype and increasing the number of sign ups well before your product is ready for launch.

Final thoughts

Creating and launching a minimum viable product is a great way to test an idea in its infancy. Use the tips in this article to your advantage and come up with the best possible product your ideal customer would want.

Brenda Barron
Brenda Barron is a writer from southern California specializing in technology and business. When not hunkered over her laptop, she’s spending time with her family and knitting.