What is a Minimum Viable Product?

March 01, 2019
Charlotte Dougall
Charlotte Dougall

Founder of Blether, helping small businesses do big things online.

If you frequent the startup community, you’ll most likely have come across the term “MVP” and its importance for early-stage businesses. The term MVP, or minimum viable product, was popularised by Eric Ries in his book The Lean Startup and is essentially the simplified core of your product offering and should reflect the basic features available. These features should be attractive enough to distinguish your product and capture the attention of your key early audience.

Having an MVP is a great way to test the waters with your product and test the demand for what you’re offering without investing all of your resources into an idea that might not actually be the best fit. Producing your MVP can help you figure out what works and what doesn’t, giving you incredibly valuable insight into your target audience and what they want. Starting small should help you address the potential bumps in the road early on in the process, ultimately helping you save time and money overall.

The main focus of an MVP is to validate your concept - it might take the form of a prototype, a drawing, a demo, a set of slides or even a functional product. It will look different for every product and company, so the concept will mean different things to different people. In the end, your product might end up looking like the complete opposite of how it started, but that’s okay. It’s about testing your idea, getting feedback and knowing what to change as you iterate.

Your minimum viable product is not going to be perfect and it doesn’t need to tick all the boxes for all of your users. If you’re trying to please too many people, it will take forever to launch anything of real use. Figuring out your MVP will help you validate your idea and reduce the overall risk by figuring out what problems your product actually solves.

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