If you are an entrepreneur with a very good insight about the market that you are targeting, have a deep pocket and enough resources and time, you probably can have a plan and budget which spans few months, as you can completely ready your product and plan before hitting the market.
However if you are an entrepreneur, with a very limited budget, limited time, and fairly new to the target market but have an innovative idea that can solve an existing gap in the market, the ideal way forward for you is to launch your first version of the product in 20 days or 4 weeks.
This approach not only help you to get into the market quickly, but saves a lot of money, and actually save money for later stages, when you want to tweak your initial product based on market feedback and the early customer responses.
The key to this lean startup method is to have a carefully planned Minimum Viable Product strategy. There are many entrepreneurs who disagree to this and want to see the entire part of their idea taking shape at once. But the fact is that, this is a time tested method and successfully adopted and implemented by thousands of successful startups.
So let us get into these 5 steps now.
1.Reduce the Scope of Work
Reduce the work to the minimum, keeping the core functionalities and avoid spending time and money on anything that might not be important. Your application might have many functionalities, but you might not need all of them in your first mvp version of the application.
For example, let us consider a local car booking app like Uber. You can limit the first mvp version of the app with just the option to create a user account, enter your pickup and destination, search and book a car. That is it.
The filters that can be applied to the car, the option to remember your previous booking location, option to rate the service and all other niceties can wait till the next version. I hope you understood what i meant by reducing the scope of work now.
2.Target only the primary use case and primary user in your mvp application
Every application will have several set of users. The primary users for whom the app is a life saver. The secondary users who can get value from the app, but can live without it as well. A third set of users who might not need the app at all, but can explore it to get an idea about it and can use it in the future if need arises.
Many a time, an entrepreneur try to address the needs for all the above category of users . The result is a lot of time and money spend to cover everybody. And there is a high chance that the primary use case will become difficult and the app fail to capture the market in the end.
So it is important to identify that single type of user who is badly in need of this app. Also identify that single use case that saves his biggest pain point. That is the only thing that you need to develop for the first version. Everything else can be ignored or a temporary setup can be made to address the other use cases in your MVP.
For example consider you are developing a SaaS Based CRM Startup solution. Your primary user is a sales executive or small business owner trying to capture his leads. He only need to streamline the steps from cold lead convertion to a real client.
So that single flow of lead management is what you need to focus for your MVP. Ignore every other user say, admin or other staff, advanced reports, graphs and charts, integration with email and every sophisticated feature that adds value but are secondary.
Even the plan and subscription logics needed for a SAAS system can be ignored in first version. You can given all your users a 6 months free trial. By that time you will be able to develop and perfect the subscription flow.
3. Ignore internal sections not meant for customers
There are several sections that are important for the smooth operations of your application. But those might not be very important for your early end customer. For example the administration console from which you manage every aspect of the application. The online payment section from which you collect payment from the client. The automated periodic summary report generations and mails, notifications etc.
However while developing the first version of your mvp application , you can ignore all of these. If you can take care of all this manually, and if it doesn't stop your main customer from achieving his goal. Then you don’t need any of these in your mvp.
You can directly edit the data in the database, which will replace the need of admin console. Try to manually collect the payment offline via email or hard cash. Manually look into the data and draft a summary email report is also possible in initial days
So the idea is clear. Except the core functionality that need to be handled by the application everything else can be handled manually. So those functionalities can be avoided from the mvp application.
4. Use templates and open source components
There are thousands of high quality themes and templates available for web and mobile applications for any kind of business. You might need some tweaks and customisations, but in 99% cases one of this template will fit your need. They are very cheap ,range from $10 - $50 and sometimes even free.They are optimised for mobile friendliness and Search Engines as well.
Using one of this can save considerable amount of time and money. It can also give a professional finish to the UI of your mvp application. For an MVP, i will recommend the use of a template in 9 out of 10 cases.
Similarly there are thousands of open source components that does some of your tasks. If used, proper credits need to be given. Don’t shy away from using that. You can always comeback and implement your own replacement for them. After once you have some traction, funds, resources and time.
5. Spare Advanced Architecture, Keep it Simple for your MVP Application
The entrepreneur, in most cases, want the startup application to be a highly scalable, secure, fool proof, advanced technology masterpiece and that is a good thought as well.
But every application that is successful, scalable and a digital masterpiece now, had gone through several round of iterations, revamps and sometimes total rework to reach to the current point. To name a few, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Yelp, every one of those applications had gone through this life cycle.
Nobody cares how optimised your db structure is or how you layered your classes, While you are at your mvp application stage
You can keep it really really simple, keep the code and design minimal. Spare all advanced methods. But ensure your mvp application to be minimal, easy to tweak and if needed scrapped and rebuild with minimal work.
Your app needs a super cool technology backbone only if you survive to a day when you have thousands of users. If you reach to that point you will have enough time and resource to fix the gaps or rework on them.
You can be less bothered about technology, and more focused on the primary user and primary use case alone.
So that is the summary of it. I am pretty sure that one or all of these points might ring a bell. I hope that it might provoke you to rethink your strategy if you are not already following this model. Go ahead and read few more articles about the same to gather more information and clarity.
Let us know, if you need some suggestion on any of this. How to reduce your work scope for the mvp application? what template or technology to be used or how to identify your primary user and use case? Let us know your queries. We will be happy to assist an entrepreneur in bringing his dream to a reality.
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