Making Minimum Viable Product work for you
If you're just launching a business or have an idea you want to turn into reality, you might hear the letters "MVP" thrown around quite alot. Off the sports field and in the tech world, MVP isn't the most valuable player in the office, it's a bit of a catch cry for doing the least you can to have your idea out in the world - the Minimum Viable Product. That's all well and good - but what is Minimum Viable Product? And why is it so important to a budding entrepreneur or business person?
What is Minimum Viable Product?
In a nutshell, your minimum viable product constitutes the lowest effort and spend you can put in to have a functioning business live. From our end, this is easiest to explain in terms of a website, but in reality the concept expands to the whole business. As a practical example - let's say you run a delivery business and ideally you want custom parcels with your logos on to send your products in. The MVP for that delivery business may be sending the parcels in a more generic package initially - until you have enough sales and proof of business to invest in a custom parcel design. From a website perspective, we can probably explain this in a bit more detail looking at a company that wants to take online bookings.
The website example - online booking
So, let's say you have a hair salon and you want a new website - but don't have a huge amount of money to invest in it. Ultimately, you want to take online bookings in a custom system where clients can specify a whole lot of detail. A good web designer will quickly let you know that a custom booking system is extremely expensive, that the next step down would be using a booking plugin which may have a monthly fee, but the MVP (minimum viable product) version of that site would just use a simple contact form to take the bookings. Eventually you could grow to have that custom booking system, but while your costs are restricted, you'd still be able to test the theory of having online bookings by having a simple contact form that you then use to manually make bookings at your end. It's not perfect - but it does provide proof of concept, without a huge outlay.
Why is MVP so important?
The MVP stage of a budding business provides a huge opportunity to test your idea without over extending your finances early on. You may think that your idea is the greatest in the world, but an idea isn't a business until it has sales - and spending vast sums on your first version of a concept could lead to alot of losses. Chances are your idea is phenomenal, but why not get it out to market and tested in some way first? Sit down, think about what your ideal business/platform looks like, then work backwards to a point where you are satisfied you have enough to go to market, but not so much it will drain your budget on day one. In the above example that thought process would have gone "I definitely want a website and I definitely want to be able to take bookings online. I don't NEED for that system to be automated, customised, or have online payments just yet, so I'll test it in a more basic form on day one and grow."
Now, next time you are standing around a tech hub and someone throws the letters MVP at you, you'll know they aren't about to award a little trophy for the best team player, and you'll be able to verbalise your skin and bones plan to get your idea out to the world!
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