You’ve finally decided to hit the “GO” button on your big idea. You’ve spent months talking about it with your friends and family and now you feel ready to give it a shot. After months of patient research and consideration, you are finally able to get your business started. It’s an exciting time; you can see the end product in your mind’s eye. All you’ve got to do now is build it.
If you are looking to build an app, this is the stage where you normally start looking for a developer. You walk into a development firm, just like ours, and ask them to help you build your dream.
“If you build it, consumers will come.”
But have you thought through what you want the developer to build?
To 1st time entrepreneurs, this may seem like a silly question. You want them to build your idea. Right?
Well not necessarily. You have some decisions to make about how much of your idea you want them to build in the first release.
Many new entrepreneurs come to Band of Coders with an “If you build it, he will come” mindset. They have spent so long refining the idea in their head that they feel ready for someone to build a 100% representation.
Their strong product vision can sometimes give them the confidence to lock down their product specification too early. This is quite understandable considering the large amount of time, effort and research they’ve already invested into their idea to get it this far. At this point, all they want to do is launch their business.
They believe if someone can build their idea, with all of the features they’ve imagined, then they’ll have customers queuing around the block.
But what happens if they’ve spent tons of money, time and effort launching a product that no one wants?
Or what if users don’t want to use the app the same way it was envisioned?
We can all agree it would be risky for someone to custom design and build a house for someone they’ve never met.
What are the chances they would get it 100% right, first time? Unlikely. Even for the best of us this seems a bit of a stretch, which is why most seasoned entrepreneurs don’t even try. Instead they focus on testing their idea and its application early in the process. They want to give themselves the best chance of working out the optimum solution.
Every startup is built around a core hypothesis. An entrepreneur thinks users want or need X and will be willing to pay X for a solution. So, the first job of a startup is to prove if their hypothesis is correct or not. The only way to do this is to go to market with a product and get feedback.
A startup wants the market to answer these kinds of questions:
- Is this a problem they want solved?
- If a solution is offered will they pay for it?
- How do they use the app?
- Which features do they use?
Once a startup has clear user feedback and market validation, it is able to position itself much more effectively.
The great news is that creating an app isn’t like building a house.
An entrepreneur doesn’t have to build the whole thing first. They can build it room by room and then invite their potential customers to come into that space and give their feedback. This helps them learn and perfect what each room should look like and what they are willing to pay.
This is the essence of what a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is.
What is an MVP and how does it help?
The idea of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a lean startup concept that was popularized by Eric Ries. It means creating something simple enough to validate your idea and gain vital user feedback before building the full product. By building something quick, small and inexpensive you can test your idea out without wasting lots of time and money. A good MVP will tell you how your customers used your product, which features they liked and whether your product has market potential.
“Start small, test, learn from user feedback and then use all of that knowledge to build your users a product they’ll love,” says Bobby John, CEO of Band of Coders.
MVP has huge benefits for a startup:
- Minimizes initial investment until you know you have something to support it.
- Reduces go-to-market time by getting a simplified core product out first.
- Minimizes the risk that inevitably surrounds a startup by validating core startup assumptions.
- Maximizes user feedback by getting early adopters to test your idea before locking down larger design and build decisions.
- Encourages product refinement by putting learning, testing and refining at every stage of the design and build process.
Are you working on an app idea and ready to start exploring what should go into your MVP? Would you like some additional resources to help you condense your idea? Band of Coders has developed a number of blogs and guides to help entrepreneurs take the next step towards making their business a reality. Tweet us or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us more about what stage you are at, and we can send you some helpful resources.