Successful Minimum Viable Product roseberrypi llc
May 28, 2020

3 Traits Of A Successful Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

By William Roseberry

Developing a minimum viable product (MVP) can be a daunting task to undertake. Whether you’re a solo developer, a new entrepreneur, or an established business owner, this article aims to make the challenge a little easier for you. Here are 3 traits all successful minimum viable products (MVPs) have in common.

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1.   Narrow target audience

It’s easy to get carried away and shoot for the moon when developing an MVP but if you try to reach too broad of an audience too early, you won’t be able to satisfy the needs of your customer base. To avoid this, it’s best to focus on a specific niche. Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean your target audience should be small, it means you should be solving a specific problem or small set of problems.

The narrower your target audience is, the more resources you can put towards solving their needs better than your competitors. Once you’ve built a strong foundation of customers, then it’ll be time to expand the capabilities of your product. Let’s use a FinTech firm as an example.

If you’re a FinTech firm developing an MVP that provides fraud detection services to businesses, you may not want to initially target both banking and merchant services. Even though these industries both need fraud detection, the use case and requirements can be completely different. Trying to provide a solution to more than one audience will force you to spread out resources and reduce the quality of your solution.

Instead, provide a solution for a specific industry, then narrow down your solution further by focusing on a specific use case. Our example FinTech company can provide services to small banks to detect transaction fraud for their customers’ checking accounts. Now, not only are they focused on banking but they’re focused on a specific use case of fraud detection. This allows the FinTech to put its limited resources towards perfecting its fraud detection solution.

As the FinTech company grows and more customers move to their platform, they can expand and provide solutions to audiences outside of their initial scope.

2.   Useful functionality

This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s important to remember that an MVP should only contain the features that are useful to your target audience. This trait goes hand-in-hand with ensuring you focus on a narrow target audience.

If you develop features that do not solve the problems your target audience has, those features will not be used. Those are wasted resources that could be spent on developing features that enrich your ideal user’s experience with your product. Implementing too many features that don’t address the needs of your audience will make your product feel bloated and worth less.

Have you ever purchased expensive and difficult-to-use software that you hardly use but there’s that single feature that no other solution provides? How quick would you switch products if another company created an improved solution that focuses on your problem?

There are many businesses and consumers in this situation. By narrowing your target audience and then focusing only on features useful to them, you can convert customers of other businesses who don’t properly address their needs.

3.   Tested and polished

A successful MVP will be thoroughly tested and the user experience thoroughly polished. Many people view an MVP as a quickly developed product that is pushed out to just gather feedback. This leads to the belief that an MVP doesn’t have to be a quality product.

In reality, an MVP is a fully developed and tested product, it just has the minimum necessary features to be viable as a solution and in order to be a viable solution, the product must be reliable. By only developing the minimum features necessary, we create a product that can be designed, developed, and tested quickly in order to put it on the market and gain feedback for future development.

Buggy and difficult-to-use software is already an issue for many people. If your MVP is low-quality, your target audience won’t switch to your product and if your product is the only one on the market, poor software will open a hole in the market for competition.

Launching your MVP

Launching a successful MVP is tough and many companies fail to get it right on the first try. Remember that just because it’s an MVP doesn’t mean it can be rushed. Quality software development takes time, but by reducing the product to only the features that will be used by your target audience, the development process is shortened. This will lead to a high quality product in a reasonable time frame.

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