Time waits for no one in the entrepreneur space. As an entrepreneur, you are working against the clock to develop a product, distribute it to consumers, and start making a profit. And you need to do all of this before your competitors do the same. This pressure causes numerous entrepreneurs to rush into designing their products. And often, they fall into the trap of designing their final product rather than their MVP.
Defining your MVP may be the difference between launching in six months and launching in two years.
What is an MVP?
MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product. The purpose of an MVP is to define the minimum functionality or features your product needs to be viable for your target consumers.
Why Define An MVP?
Defining your MVP may be the difference between launching in six months and launching in two years. Without an MVP, you may be building, or paying someone to build, a full and complete product, which takes valuable time, money, and effort.
While it’s every entrepreneur’s nightmare, your solution to a problem, may not be the solution that your target consumers are looking for. It’s wiser to spend $200 on an MVP, receive valuable feedback from consumers, and realize that your product needs to be tweaked—or worse, scrapped—before you spend $2000 on other features.
When you take the time to clarify what MVP means for your business, you begin to understand how to prioritize your product’s features based on time and value.
The Three Aspects of an MVP
When designing your product, you should categorize its features into these three categories:
Nice to Have.
The’Must Have’ category is for features that your product must have in order to deliver a functional product to your customers. Without these features, your product cannot solve the problem you’re trying to build a solution for.
The ‘Could Have’ category has features that can increase the overall user experience but aren’t crucial to the product. They’re usually smaller features that don’t require too much time to add.
Nice to Have features aid your product in standing out from the other products that may already exist. These features usually require a decent amount of time, energy, and money to fully develop and will be a show-stopper that separates you from your competition.
Prioritizing Your Features
You know what an MVP is and its three components. How do you determine which category each feature goes to? The best person to ask is you. Ask yourself specific questions to help prioritize your features, such as:
1. What problem does my solution solve?
2. In order to solve that problem, what functionality does my product need to have?
Example: Without feature A, does my product still solve the problem? If not, it’s a Must Have. If so, feature A is either a Could Have or a Nice Have.
3. What value does feature A add to the product?
Example: Does feature A improve the user experience or set your product apart from other products? If your answer is the former, it’s a Could Have, if it’s the latter, it’s a Nice to Have.
4. How much time and money will it take to implement feature B?
Example: A Could Have feature may take a week, while a Nice to Have might require an extensive amount of time, such as a month or more. It’s also important to consider if you will need to outsource development or are capable of doing it in-house.
5. What features make sense for my target consumer?
Example: A tinder-clone for matching mismatched socks with your neighbors targeted to millennials and Gen-Z has an audience that may appreciate being able to customize their profiles with custom emojis. A tinder-clone for elderly consumers may not feel the same appreciation and it would be more efficient to not include this in the product, much less the MVP.
It can feel counterintuitive to hit pause on developing in order to think about what you’re going to develop, but creating an MVP plan can more efficiently aid in setting you up for success. By understanding your MVP, you can not only save, but effectively utilize your time, money, and energy.