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What's the Business Journey for a MVP?

A MVP (minimal viable product) is the standard starting place for building an app.

The idea is to build a simple version of an app, test it with users, and use their feedback to improve the app. While originally the definition of an MVP included just about anything that could prove a concept, such as a paper prototype, it’s become the norm to develop a basic version of the app as an MVP.

This focus on product building has its logic. Users are expecting more and more out of the products they use. Founders are anxious to put something real and attractive in the hands of users and investors to get the most valid testing results. Since even an MVP can be costly to make, this is a risky gamble that has caused many founders to flame out before they can startup.

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Rushing into an MVP doesn’t usually pay off

It’s important to understand that the journey from idea to product isn’t a direct route. It’s a dynamic process that transforms an idea into a solution.

The all important feedback loop doesn’t go into effect only once an MVP is released. Rather, several opportunities for feedback loops exist before any code is written.

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Step 01

Define and Understand the Problem

Behind every great idea is a problem that needs to be solved, and you know that needs is a tricky concept. There’s a big difference between “have to have” and “would be nice to have.” This is always something that is much clearer in hindsight than in the moment.

As a founder, you’ll have to play the role of investigator to determine whether their supposed user pain point is real. At this stage, you can apply several learning processes to understand the problem, such as surveys and interviews.

Step 02

Identify and Test Assumptions

Every idea has an assumption (or several) that underpins its potential for success. If that assumption is proven false, the whole business is not feasible.

Imagine, for example, if people were not willing to buy shoes without trying them on first. Zappos would never have existed if that were the case. Zappos founder, Nick Swinmurn, in order to test the home shoe buying assumption, created a simple website that offered shoes from local stores. If users ordered shoes, he would pick them up from the store and ship them himself. This was enough to prove that users would be willing to purchase shoes online.

Step 03

Create and Test Solutions

“I want to build…”

The idea for how to solve a problem is usually in mind from the very beginning. Yet, at some point, a project will start to focus more on the solution than on the problem. So, we can say that the solution phase truly begins once the problem and assumptions have been worked out and a product starts being built. In many cases, this process can begin with prototyping tools like InVision. The idea is to make a clickable wireframe where users can try your app and give you their feedback.

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Conclusion

When it comes to making an app, there’s no one formula for getting it right. What is common to all, however, is that going all in on a product without validating the idea is a bad strategy. Bringing an idea to a full product is a complex process, and those who work hard to test their product with as minimal risk as possible have the best chance to win.

Do you have a startup idea? You’re gonna love our article about the value of ideas in the startup process!

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