A new idea has gained dominance when it becomes a cliché.
This is what usually happens to "lean startups," a philosophy that sees the startups as a scientific experiment in search of a business model. This concept began as a new idea, and then became so popular that people consider it common sense.
What experiments can you do to test your hypotheses?
1. Publish a blog about what you do. This will help you get the quality feedback you need for the quantitative data, such as measurable results and metrics that you will collect later. Besides, you should include personal interviews with clients.
2. Ask open-ended questions on Quora and any other online discussion tools. Listen to what people are saying about your brand and idea. Question and answer sites such as Quora, or forums like Reddit, or any platform dedicated to your industry are the ideal places for you to start asking questions. You can begin with broader issues such as "What CRM tools are used by venture capital and private equity funds?" This will reveal feedback from both competitors and customers.
3. Create polls and experiment with monetary and non-monetary incentives. Sending profiles to your customer base is a great way to get feedback and find out the needs.
4. Collection of pre-orders. Crowdfunding platforms such as Indiegogo and Kickstarter have greatly facilitated the measurement of market demand for a product or service. By describing the characteristics of the product and offering it to the masses, entrepreneurs can get an idea of how the market will respond outside the crowdfunding platform. Besides, instant feedback and questions can help startups uncover potential problems and fix them before scaling.
5. Run a test ad. Use Google AdWords, Facebook, Yahoo!, Bing, or any other platforms to create ads that bring viewers to a page that requires email registration and possibly pre-orders. Check which ads are the most effective. Try also to collect data in the form of a mini-survey and analyze it.
6. Test several versions of your site. Design and user experience plays a massive role in how consumers view your startup and its offerings. Launchrock is an excellent site for creating start pages and analyzing user data. Another option is trying experimenting with various A/B testing campaigns using Optimizely.
7. Talk with real users of your beta product. Beta testers could potentially be your lifeline when launching a new product. To interest people in testing your startup, visit sites such as Betali.st, StartupLi.st, and others.
8. Analyze the use of your site. Checking which words get the most views can give you an idea of the target market. Deploy Google Analytics using goal tracking, demographic information, interest segmentation, and cohort analytics.
9. Analyze which marketing campaigns are the most popular. Just as you should understand your end-users, it is also essential to understand the behavior of influencers that concern your end-users. There are several social media analysis tools that can help you with this.
10. Test referral programs with monetary and non-monetary incentives. Referral programs can be a great way to attract new customers, leaving current customers happy.
Overall, your MVP is the foundation of your product. It contains only the functions necessary to solve the specific problem you are focusing on.
MVPs are a great way to get a feel for the market you are hoping to enter. You can see if there is a demand for your product before plunging into something that no one wants. Nine out of ten startups fail, and 42% of them did it because there was no need for their product. Thus, MVP emphasizes the lack of market demand before using additional resources. This is a way to challenge your assumptions and see if you need to answer them. A minimum viable product is a process of testing your hypotheses and the starting point for your product.
However, if done poorly, minimally viable products can distort the end goal that you perceive for your product. This means that any idea of the market that it provides may be incorrect, and as a result, you may risk targeting incompatible customers.
In a functional MVP, "minimum" does not mean "lazy" or "satisfied." This means the most straightforward thing your product will be. The "minimal" part of a minimally viable product forces your team to reduce the product to the essential functions necessary for a simple, elegant, and effective solution to a problem. This is the bar that needs to be achieved before a product can be called a product.
The problem is that a "minimal" product can sometimes not be "viable," and viability is just as crucial for a functional MVP. "Viable" means that the product is suitable for use. This ensures that the product solves the problem or works the way it is intended. A product that does not work or does not meet the needs of the market is not viable. The essence of what provides a functional minimum viable product: a release that consists only of a kernel of what it will become, but of a core that is still usable by the consumer. Good MVP is a working, useful product.
Just because it's MVP doesn't mean that you can be indifferent to it. You need to conduct market research and know who to focus on with your product. You need to write user stories and think about the client problem that you want to fix. And you need to carefully choose which features are vital to achieving this.
Done poorly, MVP will not help you analyze the market, attract compatible customers, or give you a working model for building your product. But done well, MVP can save you time, resources, and help you start building your customer base.
Good MVP is your product at the stage when it solves only one specific problem. This is the starting point for your growth. Later, you build your minimally viable product to improve the way you answer the same question. You demonstrate the core value that your product will always have and find out if it solves the pain point that consumers face. It just doesn't have all the bells and whistles.