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Burbn – does it ring any bell? Burbn was the initial name for Instagram, supposed to be developed as a GPS-based app.
Kevin Systrom and Mike Kreiger, the founders of Instagram, were busy focusing on too many features like checking into locations, making trip plans, and publishing images. Until they realized it could make the app too tricky. In the end, they directed all their efforts on one single feature – photo sharing. As the app's popularity crossed Facebook, they knew they did something right by not going with their earlier idea.
The above story brings us to our main topic for the article.
Developing a new software product and hoping for its success in the market without any communication with the users – doesn't sound like an excellent strategy for startups. If a startup wants to introduce a new product in the market, the product needs to solve a specific pain point of the customers.
An MVP for Custom Software Enables Startups to Know What Audience Wants
Custom software in its entirety defines itself as – a tailor-made product developed for the specific needs of an entity. The significance of developing an MVP before startups kick-start their launchpad with full steam is directly proportional to solving its real purpose when it enters the market for good.
It won't be a welcome gesture if the firms find out that their product did not meet the needs of their target audience AFTER they launch it. It's also important not to sacrifice quality to speed. Spending money and resources on unreasonable things and following the same strategy of established organizations can be harmful to startups.
Here's how an MVP improves your chances of success:
- Minimum features to attract early adopters
- Seek validation with a simple yet effective solution that solves a significant pain point of the target audience
- Collect genuine feedback from early users and know what they want or don't want.
- Learn what market actually without playing the guessing game
- Avoid lengthy process of building a product or features that users don't need
- An inexpensive and effortless way to confirm the market's desire for a product.
When defining the project's main objective, startups should characterize it so that the end goal of the process is to capture all feedback as soon as possible. Especially since any form of communication (e.g., emails or phone calls) need to be kept top of mind. A bad product-market fit, less money, and an unskilled team are three significant reasons why almost 42% of the startups fail with their ideas.
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The bottom line: it's crucial to make users and customers feel like they can always interact with your company. An excellent approach to establish that feeling is through developing an MVP. Why? Probably because premature scaling is the main challenge for many budding startups, according to a recent statistic by Forbes. If the potential customers don't know (or won't accept), a new product might see failure sooner than expected.
Reasons that Pave the Foundation for Successful Development of Custom Software
Startups and established businesses might often face the same set of challenges when developing a new product. However, the ways to deal with those challenges cannot be the same. Enter a software development company like Third Rock Techkno that knows how to approach them differently. Following an Agile Methodology for continuous planning and transparent communication, our expert developers for hire know how to navigate the time and budget-related challenges.
Multiple iterations are bound to reign in some additional costs. However, starting with small builds ensures the development process is on the right path while simultaneously inching closer to the launch time. In short, an MVP aims to strip away all the "nice-to-have" features and keeps only the necessary ones. Here are the crucial reasons how an MVP powers through a startup:
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A Brief Proof that an Idea Works
Besides being an iterative stage of a project, the MVP release version allows a company to start believing that the idea looks promising. It allows you to evaluate whether your business model is profitable and what your target market wants. The idea behind the MVP release version is to solve at least one possible customer's problem and allow you to test your growth hypothesis.
Therefore, you need to have a business model that customers find relatable and/or a product that solves stakeholder problems. The first product needn't be fully-functional, which means there would be a significant reduction in the cost of development. You can also consider launching a pre-launched product version when addressing less-demanded features that customers ask for.
The Story of Facebook
A widespread platform that became much more than just a social network – Facebook was initially designed as a pretty simple concept of a universal directory for Harvard students. Before becoming such a complex platform, the core value only focused on adding three other prominent universities of Yale, Stanford, and Columbia after the release. Mark Zuckerberg decided not to fall into the common pitfall and maintained a narrow focus while developing an MVP. He started small with an idea, that took the world by storm one day.
Helps in Choosing the Right Technology and Tools for Development
Choosing the technology for an MVP depends on several factors in terms of the functions needed. PHP and Ruby on Rails are popular for building MVPs, while Facebook Connect is suitable for building a product from scratch. Further, for a mobile app, an MVP also needs a robust frontend. Hence, development costs also play a considerable role while deciding on a technology. Open-source technologies help ensure that you don't spend a fortune on the prototype.
Scalability is another factor that can define a smoother process of adding further iterations and changes to amplify the ease. It all comes down to hiring a talented pool of software developers who would take the success to another level. They also guide you through the roadmap to add AI and ML with the Python/Django tech stack. Similarly, Nodejs/Meteor is ideal for real-time apps.
Further Ideas for Adding Features and Integrations
A pre-launched product version may also provide ideas for new features and integrations, thereby increasing product relevance. When thinking about release versions versus launch versions, you must consider the difference between the first and the second stage. The first version of your product will be smaller and less functional, with fewer features and functionality. This will help you explore the potential use cases and become familiar with your target audience.
The most critical rule in implementing any service or product is to choose your goal before you offer the service or product. Your target audience is different from what you had previously planned for it. Knowing relevant user issues can save time and money since you can address them before launching the full version. The more value you'll give at each stage of a process, the more likely it will be that the customer actually hits your goal.
The Story of Spotify
Not mentioning Spotify would be an injustice when it comes to talking about MVP development. Dominating the world of music app development, the primary focus of Spotify was the convenience of streaming digital music tracks. Daniel EK and Martin Lorenzo got everything right with this classic music streaming app. And they ensured they struck all the right chords to make this feature their core value proposition.
Starting with only the desktop version, they tested the feasibility and profitability until they released the freemium version of the product. The founders then released it as an app to harness its true potential as it continued to top the charts.
Take a look at the music app created by Third Rock Techkno – Riyaz that helps users learn and practice Western, Carnatic, Hindustani, Bollywood, and Devotional songs.
Understanding Business Goals and Prioritizing Development Stages
Prioritizing steps for your MVP development consist of defining the three phases: pre-launch critical, beta critical, and post-launch critical. An MVP enables startups to understand their business goals by prioritizing the most important of these steps: the pre-launch critical phase. All this needs to happen before they practically define their MVP idea by pitching it to investors s and joining important industry groups.
The pre-launch critical phase comprises defining core objectives and business strategy. Hence, it is essential to understand your business goals and core objectives. These can be something like:
- Increase Visibility and Revenue on Google
- Increase Rankings on Google
- Increase Customer Loyalty
- Improve Brand Reputation
Understanding the pre-launch stage is also crucial for startups because it would help them seek the required funding from investors. Before providing financial aid to a startup, investors look for one essential aspect – the interest from users. The startups that involve their audience early in the development process have more potential to attract investors.
Leverage Long-term MVP Success by Partnering with a Software Development Company
The notion of being slow and steady to win the race perfectly applies while venturing into the software development market with a new idea. To create the maximum impact on your target audience, it is always better to keep them involved from the first stage. At Third Rock Techkno, we have a team of adept MVP developers who build efficient prototypes and transform your dream into reality. Being in the business for more than 12 years, we ensure that your long-term success starts from ideation to the launch that aligns with your requirements.