Chapter 1.3: Creating Your MVP
June 24, 2020
Once you've presented an idea that's been met with positive responses, it's time to move on and develop your MVP.
This step is one of the most crucial in validating your idea. To put it simply, this is where you test out your concept to see if it actually works!
An MVP or minimum viable product, is an early mockup of your idea that you deliver to customers to get more feedback (for future development).
In other words, you’re pretty much testing out your idea by dishing out the basic form of it.
When developing your MVP, you want to start finding people who can balance out what you're not good at. Specifically, finding an operations/ salesperson to help you sell your product or a technical person to help you build it. The person who knows how to sell/ build the product doesn’t necessarily come up with the best ideas. This is what makes you crucial.
To provide an example, let’s pretend that you're developing a new food condiment that you want to see on grocery shelves.
-Developed your idea
-Come up with a pitch: It’s the ketchup of ice cream!
-Utilized your friendlies
So now, you have to create a mockup of your product to see if it’s the success it can actually be.
This could be as simple as making a sample of the condiment and having people try it.
Your operations person helps in this process by figuring out the best way to market it, whereas the technical person helps out in developing the product.
With the condiment example, imagine your technical person is a chef showing you the best ways to combine your ingredients. Your salesperson tells you which market to best advertise to. They help you in the areas you may not be so knowledgeable in.
By bringing on people to help you, you can come up with the best mockup product to showcase your idea.
The most common ways of developing an MVP are:
-A Mockup Product
Here you're really selling what it is that your product does and seeing if people are responding to it positively.
Back when I was running my tuxedo business, my MVP involved building a database of tuxedo measurements for the students I was marketing to. I was selling the idea, that since all their measurements were online, it would be a simple and easy process for them to rent a tuxedo. For those interested, it would be as easy as clicking a button. However, I needed to build this database first, and this is where I struggled initially. My clients weren't all too interested in participating.
Most of the students that I worked with figured that their parents would be responsible for handling their rentals for them. I needed the measurements of these students to highlight how my business was a simpler and easier process. So to get my audience to participate, I made the measurement process more fun and accessible to them. I’d show up during lunchtime or breaks and would raffle off prizes to those who participated. This instantly drew in more students who wanted to get their measurements done. Once I had my database, it made the process of renting a tuxedo easier for their parents, resulting in an immediate increase in clientele.
As you're testing out your MVP, you should be noting ALL the responses you're getting. For those that are vibing well with your product, be sure to start asking them what it is about the product they like.
Also consider asking:
-What problem is your product solving for them?
-What do they like most about the product?
-What price range suits the product?
-What ways can you make your product better?
Be sure to also note demographic information surrounding your audience, and noting which groups are saying yes and which are saying no. Demographic info to consider is:
This information helps you build an idea of what your consumer base looks like so that in the future, you know who exactly you're market to.
If at this point, you’re receiving more no’s than yes’, you need to figure out where you lost your audience. Be sure to go back and directly ask them what’s wrong.
-What about the product doesn't appeal to them?
-What do they think you could improve on?
-Is there a different product that solves their pain better?
-Is the pain you’re solving not that urgent?
Don’t be afraid to approach your audience. Even if your idea isn’t doing great right now, we can still smooth out any nicks it has. In the previous chapter, I mentioned that your only focus should be getting feedback. The same applies here as the reviews you get help build up and refine your idea.