Your Step-By-Step Guide to Planning a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

Using the minimum viable product model, you can get your idea into the world in less time than you ever thought possible.

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By Aaron Vick

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Are you starting a new business or thinking of launching a product? Do you have a great idea for a new product, but you're not sure if you can do it? It can seem daunting not knowing where to start beyond the idea. If this describes you, you should consider using a minimum viable product (MVP) as your business plan. This business model has helped many other new entrepreneurs launch successful companies — and it can help you, too.

Don't worry if you don't know what an MVP business model is or how to implement it. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know to plan your MVP:

Related: Building A Successful Minimum Viable Product: The How-To

What is a minimum viable product?

Your minimum viable product is created by identifying the core features necessary for your product. Throw all of your solutions and processes on the board, and begin whittling that list down to the smallest number of features that will satisfy your customers.

Then you build the minimum specs for your product and get it into the hands of your customers. You want to do this quickly so that you can get feedback, refine customer funnels and adapt as needed.

At this point, you have an idea, and you're sure it's a good one. But, you can't launch at full-scale just yet, as that could take lots of time, money and resources. This is where the concept of a minimum viable product can help you grow your business. Here are the steps you need to take to build your MVP:

1. Do your market research

Before you start to create anything in your business, you must start with market research. While you might have a great idea that you're just sure will be a success, without this vital step, you might spend your precious time and money creating something that doesn't sell.

So, while this step might not be the most fun on our list, it is the most important. Without knowledge of your customers, you could be swinging for the fences only to find yourself striking out later down the road.

Related: 4 Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make When Building an MVP

2. Define your target audience

Once you've done the research and you know there is a market for your product, define your target audience. Who are you building your product for? What problem are you solving for them?

Until you know your audience deeply and personally, you can't begin to create anything that will help them. You must know what their biggest problems are so that you can ensure your product will solve those problems.

Additionally, when you begin your marketing campaign, knowing your audience will give you a headstart on creating content that speaks to them. So, don't skip this step. Be sure to document every detail you can about your target market so you can create the perfect solution for them and so that they won't be able to resist purchasing from you when you launch.

3. Develop your product

Now it's time to start developing your product. You can choose several ways to do this. For example, you can choose the agile method or the waterfall method. It doesn't matter what product management theory you utilize as long as you ensure you're creating a product you can sell to your target audience. The planning phase can seem to take the longest. But you're much less likely to fail if you plan before you launch.

4. Test the market

You've fleshed out the idea for your perfect minimum viable product. Now you're ready to test the market. Begin to launch this product idea through your website and social media platforms. Start to sell your MVP by taking preorders or limited-time offers. You can also build anticipation by creating a waitlist for those interested but not yet ready to purchase.

Related: How to Make Your MVP Truly Cost-Effective

5. Create the product

Building a startup can be stressful and doesn't have many safety nets until there's recurring revenue. Using the MVP method, you've already validated your idea through market research and pre-selling your product. But as you've probably already noticed in our steps to success, you haven't even begun to build the product yet. You've got a plan, research and an agile mindset after working through these steps. Now you're ready to create your product!

6. Continue to test and optimize your product

To finish up your MVP launch, you need to test your product with your audience and ask for their honest review. It's better to hear negative information at this stage than after you launch it to the masses.

So, once you release your product to your initial customers, don't sit back and celebrate just yet. Your work is just beginning. Talk with your customers, listen to their feedback with open dialogue, and learn from their feedback.

Feedback is vital to launching a successful business that will grow for years to come. You can't just launch and hope for the best. You must continually test and tweak your product for optimized success.

Now you're ready to launch the marketing and put the product out there! You know the exact steps to take today so you can create your new business and succeed. Using the minimum viable product plan, you can get your idea into the world in less time than you ever thought possible.

Aaron Vick

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

Web3 Advisor

Aaron Vick's rise in the tech sector began 30 years ago leading to a successful career as an advisor, consultant, founder & mentor across numerous companies. Aaron's passion for innovation led to unique technologies built for the not-so-distant future instead of current table stakes.

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