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The Ultimate Guide To Creating an MVP for Your Startup

The Ultimate MVP Guide

Put up or shut up. Put your money where your mouth is. Actions speak louder than words. These phrases have earned their place in history by speaking to a commonality in all of us: the desire for cold hard evidence. Because seeing is believing, right? Therefore, these little quips and phrases point towards the importance of business tools like prototypes, product proof-of-concept, or an MVP.

Prototypes, a proof-of-concept, and an MVP are all tools companies use in a variety of ways. Two of the main functions of these tools include investor recruitment and target market feedback. Plus, developing these tools and making use of them will lead to further insights that will help inform the rest of the product development lifecycle.

Understanding MVPs

No, we aren’t talking about Patrick Mahomes possibly leading the Chiefs to a second straight superbowl, for the first time in the history of the NFL. No, in mobile app development, an MVP stands for the minimum viable product. In other words, this is the bare-bones product that your developers build as a sort of shell-demonstration. This demonstrates the core functionality of the application. However, the MVP is still very much a predecessor to the application’s full-blown vision.

Although, that doesn’t always stop the MVP from being utilized. See there’s a whole niche market of app-development where the bells and whistles are just that: bells and whistles. The end-user isn’t so much interested in the seamless UX or the brilliant design; but rather the solution that the application provides. This is often the case when it comes to business-oriented-applications, or industry-specific applications.

In these environments, the end-user may be an early-adopter or a professional simply looking for a solution to their problem, if your MVP contains that solution – the extra functions and features that get added might just be icing on the cake.

While an MVP may sound very similar to a prototype, and they are in many ways, there are a few key differences between the two. The biggest and most obvious difference between an MVP and a prototype is the form it takes. An MVP is always going to be a lightweight version of the application.

A prototype, on the other hand, can come in a whole variety of shapes, sizes, and forms. The most basic prototypes, in fact, are simple sketches. The form your prototype takes will largely depend on a variety of factors. Aspects like your industry-expertise, technical ability, and access to resources.

The Development

While it may seem like one of the first steps in mobile app development, there’s actually quite a bit of work to be done before your firm can tackle the MVP. The very first step in mobile app development is identifying a problem and a potential solution. This is by far the most critical question that needs to be answered at the onset of a mobile app development project.

Without a firm-wide understanding of the problem that’s being addressed and the solution that’s being developed, a whole onslaught of issues will arise. These issues range from miscommunication, to inefficient processes, and misaligned development activities. In other words, one developer might be working on a user-interface that is completely incompatible with the overall solution that’s being developed. Therefore, time, energy, and resources were all wasted, which could have been avoided entirely with stronger communication channels.

Once your firm has identified the problem they’d like to solve, and how they’d like to solve it; then they can advance to the next step of the development process. The next phase in mobile app development, or MVP development is determining the core-features that need to be built into the application. The core features that are selected largely influence both the MVP and the design of the finished application.

This is important to note. The MVP, as mentioned above, is a tool your mobile app firm develops for a wide variety of reasons. Two of the main reasons for MVP development is end-user and target-market feedback, as well as investor recruitment. These are two of the most crucial phases in the entire mobile app development lifecycle.

Feedback and Investor Recruitment

As the age-old-adage goes, “money makes the world go round.” And as sad as that is to acknowledge at times, the practical utility of liquid assets is undeniable. Developing an MVP takes time, money, labor, and resources. Once your firm develops the MVP, however, there’s plenty of opportunity for your team to leverage the MVP into additional investments.

On top of leveraging an MVP into additional funding for your firm, or the specific project; an MVP also gives your company a way to conduct market focus-groups. This allows you to garner real end-user feedback on the solution provided and the overall direction of the application. These insights can be used to further inform your team on the features and trends most impactful to the target market, and how to finish the development process.

When garnering user-feedback or running focus-groups, there are a few important things to keep in mind. Keeping these elements in mind can help your team maximize the value that these activities in the development process yield. For example, when running a focus group with an MVP, your team should consider including a basic version of the UX. This will help the focus-group. It helps them understand the flow of the application, how the app presents information to the user, and more.

Running focus groups and testing the MVP in a variety of demographics is a best-practice by all considerations. This practice is important because it will help you and your team avoid common pitfalls in app development. One of the most common traps that mobile app developers often fall into is known as the ‘assumption trap’. This is the ‘trap’ that mobile app developers fall into when they believe they already know what the end-consumer wants.

Avoiding The Trap

Conducting a series of focus groups across a variety of demographics, therefore, is extremely valuable and provides incredible insight into consumer behavior, and consumer wants.

The end-consumer, especially today, has more power than ever before. Between the era of information and technology providing more widespread access to information, and the emergence of a very competitive marketplace, the consumer truly is king. Therefore, taking the time to understand the issues that are most significant to your target-market will benefit you greatly. Let the consumers and customers tell you what they want, then deliver. Otherwise, you may very well be putting the cart before the horse.

Final Thoughts on MVP Development

The mobile app market is booming. Ever since earlier this year when the pandemic was first beginning to rage and the first set of lockdown orders were issued, mobile app usership has boomed. Between March and April of this year, millions of first-time app users were downloading applications, log-times were skyrocketing, and the shift toward the digital age was officially underway.

In such a crowded market, it’s important to stand out, deliver on consumer wants, and offer new and unique solutions. Developing an MVP will help you and your firm do all of this and more. From investor-recruitment, to real-time consumer feedback, developing an MVP is a necessity.

For more information on MVPs, or anything related to mobile app development, visit NS804 today, and get in touch with an expert mobile app developer ready to turn your idea into a reality.

MVP Development: Competitive Analysis and Feature Sets

Developing a Successful MVP

Before developing a minimum viable product (MVP) developers conduct their due diligence to make decisions about the MVP prior to releasing it. That ensures the MVP includes vital features that display the core functions of the app. While there are many aspects to consider, two are especially crucial. Firstly, there is the competitive analysis.

The Competitive Analysis

The competitive analysis is a way to determine the specific competitive advantage of the mobile app. In other words, the comparison of mobile apps in the same market. Mobile app developers find valuable insight from these comparisons. Insights that highlight differences between mobile apps.

These differences then become differentiating factors. Enough of these factors form a competitive advantage. A comprehensive competitive advantage then informs the marketing strategy.

Another important aspect to consider when conducting a competitive analysis is the product-market fit. The product-market fit helps determine exactly where in the marketplace any specific app fits. Thus, leading to important insights that the marketing team leverages into different marketing tactics. In turn, forming the overall marketing strategy.

Feature Sets

Feature sets are also incredibly crucial in the development of a successful MVP. The feature sets of an app are the high-level pillars of what makes the app viable. In other words, feature sets make up the core skeleton of the app.

Another way to look at the feature sets of a mobile app is to define what solution the application offers the end-user. Essentially, what purpose does the app serve?

Defining the feature sets of the mobile app is an important step in the MVP development process for a spectrum of reasons. One of the most crucial is that some to many of the aspects defined as a feature set need to be included, to some capacity, in the MVP.

Moving Forward With The MVP

After determining the feature sets of the app the developer can begin designing and building the core of the application. Once the development process is a little further along, the app will be ready for the competitive analysis. Between these two components, an MVP is born.

While the MVP is being built behind the scenes, the marketing team surely is surely not sitting idly by. Once developed, the MVP needs groups ready to test it. These groups often include early adopters.

After the MVP undergoes testing, and the competitive analysis is complete, a mobile app is ready for it’s home-stretch.

At this point in the process, there is plenty of data readily accessible for mobile app developers to complete the app. Insights garnered from conducting the competitive analysis and the product-market fit. Additionally, extra aspects of feedback offered by test-groups from the released MVP.

Develop an MVP with NS804

NS804 is the mobile app developer of the people. NS804 brings mobile app development services to the everyday person with a good idea. With experience that spans the entire mobile-app marketplace and a team of expert developers and designers, bring your mobile app idea to life with NS804.

Finding Early Adopters for an MVP

It’s no secret that investors of all sorts receive a constant barrage of inquiries and proposals. Busy investors don’t have the time to read through every proposal that hits their desk. Therefore, as an appreneur it’s important to stand out amongst the crowd. One way to elevate your proposal is to develop an MVP, or minimal viable product.

An MVP gives investors and early adopters a chance to hold, feel, and test the product before making any important financial decisions.

Developing an MVP is really only the first step in acquiring investors, and early adopters though. After developing an MVP to include in proposals, it’s time for the next step. The next step involves actually recruiting early adopters and early investors.

It’s hard enough to gain the attention of serial-investors, but how does one go about securing early adopters to test the MVP, and provide real market-feedback?

Using an MVP to Attract Early Adopters

There is a bit of an art-form to attracting the right early adopters and investors to your mobile app. This includes utilizing a series of preparation tactics. In other words, doing the due diligence to create an accurate and informative presentation on products that offer a real solution to a real need.

It can be tricky to find the right pool of early adopters and potential investors. This group should represent a larger marketplace that the product ultimately aims to serve. Additionally, this group should possess an expert level of insight into market trends. This, along with other important insight, will be crucial in determining value.

Once there’s an understanding of the demographic for a product, the search for suitable early adopters can begin. This starts with the brands online presence. GutCheckIt has social media as the number two way to attract early adopters. However, there’s a catch.

Engaging an Early Adopter

Many early adopters are so ahead of the curve that they can be hard to actively hook into a conversation. That being said, showing an interest in their challenges and a real desire to provide a successful solution can be the exact appetizer they need.

Once an early adopter is engaged with you, and opening up about their problems, the time will present itself to pitch your solution. This is a sensitive window. This will really be the time to put your product to the test.

The proposal should certainly include a comprehensive business plan. The plan should contain both a marketing, and acquisition strategy. However, there’s an element that will be even more interesting to the eager early adopter. That is practicality. Early adopters, and early investors, will want to test the product.

Testing can provide valuable feedback and insight. Consider and implement this feedback moving forward.

NS804 is dedicated to making mobile-app design services more accessible than ever before. With years of experience that bridges industries, and spans the entire marketplace, NS804 mobile-app design can be trusted to provide users and appreneurs with the absolute best design service available. Visit NS804 and start the conversation today!