Minimum viable products (MVPs) allow entrepreneurs to discover the best ways to bring their ideas to market and serve their customers, but the Top 5 MVP Misconceptions can hinder success.
In a way, it’s a natural reaction. People aren’t told to dream small. They’re advised to dream big. It feels right to create a product that provides all of your customers’ needs from the start.
Building an MVP is a different approach. It’s about getting to market quickly with your base product, testing the results, and taking the next steps determined by the successes or failures you face with your MVP.
When it comes to website and mobile app design and development, MVPs get to market quickly, so your company can engage customers as soon as possible. An MVP is a real-world experiment that tests actual customer behavior to determine how the site or app should be refined over time.
It’s also possible that customer responses, or the lack of responses, will uncover problems with your initial idea, so you can go back to the drawing board and rework your plan without having invested too heavily in a flawed approach.
According to The Harvard Business Review, MVPs have two benefits:
- Reduce the risk of bringing your idea to market.
- Reveal problems that need to be solved.
Are there any responsible business owners who don’t want to reduce risk? Are there any entrepreneurs who don’t expect to encounter problems when taking an idea from the planning stage to execution?
MVPs are tools with undeniable upsides, but they’re not always well understood. Let’s take a look at the Top 5 MVP Misconceptions and see how they hold up to scrutiny.
Misconception #1: An MVP is a Fully Functioning Product
One big myth is that an MVP must be fully functional from the start. That means your mobile app has every feature your customers could ever want on the day it’s first launched.
If that’s a workable plan for your business, then you’re probably sitting on a bunch of cash and can afford a robust research and development team.
If you’re not overflowing with money, you need to do your research by degrees and let customer behavior guide the development of the digital product.
The results of MVP tests do not predict the success or failure of your idea. Instead, they generate questions and answers that you can use to refine as you go forward.
Misconception #2: An MVP Needs to be Perfect
Another myth is that an MVP must be perfect, but who can guarantee that a new product will be perfect from the start? Even with all of their resources and manpower, multinational corporations consistently put out failed products:
- Ford Edsel, 1957
- Sony Betamax, 1975
- New Coke, 1985
- Apple Newton, 1993
- Microsoft Zune, 2006
- Amazon’s Fire Phone, 2014
An MVP doesn’t guarantee success. In the end, the market decides. But by diving in and trying things out, you’re able to catch and correct mistakes in a low-risk way. It’s a matter of iterating your way to success.
Misconception #3: An MVP is a One-Time Thing
Some believe an MVP is a one-time effort, but it’s not. At heart, it’s a process of constant improvement because success is a moving target that depends on how you, your customers, and your competition behave.
The business world doesn’t rely on many one-and-done solutions. You used to buy fast food at the restaurant counter, and then you had the added convenience of drive-through windows. Now, services will bring tacos, cheeseburgers, and curly fries right to your door. It’s a safe bet that someone is trying to figure out yet another way to get you the food you crave.
Businesses that innovate are the ones most likely to survive. That’s true for legacy companies as well as those just starting out. Recognize that your MVP will need to change as your business grows and demand increases.
Misconception #4: An MVP is Expensive
It takes time and resources to build an MVP. That’s a fact, but it’s a fraction of the cost of producing a fully functioning product.
It’s helpful to look at the reverse—if you put all of your resources into creating a product with plenty of features right from the start, that dramatically increases the cost of fixing mistakes.
Sometimes, great ideas go from the drawing board to the real world without any problems, but most times, there are issues to figure out and snags to think through. A scaled-down version of the project is a low-cost way to learn what works and what doesn’t.
Misconception #5: An MVP is Easy
Actually, it could be easier for a digital product design and development team to load you up with all of the features you ask for and then charge you a premium for the effort.
But if you’re working with a company that embraces the MVP mindset, team members will use their experience and creativity to discover which features have the best chance of becoming breakthrough ideas. That requires careful planning and execution.
In the end, an MVP is about serving your customers. The final website or mobile app won’t be loaded down with features, but the features it does have should work effectively. It’s a matter of enriching the customer experience, so they keep coming back for more.
If you’re on board with the MVP mindset, then you understand that it’s about creating a small version of your product so you can run experiments, collect real-world data, and improve things from there.
You’re committing to a process of discovering what works for your business and for your customers, but you’re not stumbling around in the dark.
Before creating an MVP, you need to document what your digital product should do and how you expect people to respond to it. In other words, make sure you know your goal before you start chasing after it.
You also want to manage expectations at the beginning, so everyone on your team understands the benefits and limitations of building an MVP. People who are informed and invested are willing to look for solutions.
As you move forward, know that you’re aiming for a balance between speed and quality. You want to move quickly, but a product that’s too “buggy” won’t generate many useful questions or answers to point you forward.
After you build and test your product, it’s time to evolve and adapt to
- customers’ needs
- market conditions
Final Thoughts on Top 5 MVP Misconceptions
When someone launches a new website, it makes sense for them to swing for the fences and hope to attract thousands of viewers and potential customers. As mentioned, we’ve always been told to dream big, not small.
But the lesson of MVPs is to take small steps on the way to big things.
At Content Workshop, we create content that gets our customers noticed, but we don’t do it by snapping our fingers and making it happen in one fell swoop.
That’s not because we don’t want your business to grow overnight. It’s because we understand the crowded nature of the internet. It’s estimated that there are between 30 and 50 billion web pages on Google in 2023. That’s a lot of noise that can get in the way of your signal.
Content Workshop’s strategy is to take an MVP approach proven to move Google search results higher and higher over time. We spread your message in small and specific ways, track the results, and make changes as needed. Along the way, we help your customers find you.
If you’re ready to consistently build better results for your website, contact us at Content Workshop. We’ll develop a plan and create content that works for you and your business.