When it comes to launching a new product, the journey often begins with a grand vision.

Entrepreneurs are full of ideas and ambitions, eager to create something groundbreaking.

Nonetheless, it’s crucial to start small, focus on the essentials, and validate your concept before going all-in. This is where the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) comes into play.

In this article, we’ll explore what an MVP is, why testing it is essential, and the best strategy for doing so.

What is an MVP?

MVP, or Minimum Viable Product, is a term often heard in the startup and product development world.

But what exactly does it mean?

At its core, an MVP is the smallest version of your envisioned product. It’s the stripped-down, essential representation of your idea.

When launching a product, we tend to think, “What if we add this feature or that one?” The truth is, that many of these extras are non-essential for viability.

The key question is, how do you best align your product with your vision without overcomplicating it and while reaching your goal quickly?

It’s about providing the minimum functionality required, not a half-baked product. The MVP should be functional and align with your vision, even if it lacks the bells and whistles.

So, let’s talk about the MVP, which stands for Minimum Viable Product.

There are various definitions of the MVP, but in essence, it’s the smallest version of your idea. It is there to help you test your product market fit.

A fresh look at the MVP:

In many discussions about MVPs, you might come across a common image. You will find this image or something like it:

To clarify, this representation of an MVP often depicts a gradual progression from a basic version to a more advanced one, which makes sense.

However, we have some reservations about this model.

It implies that an MVP involves a significant leap from a scooter to a car, which just doesn’t make sense! If anything, it should show a progression from a scooter to a motorcycle, which is a different mode of transportation.

If the ultimate goal were to create a car, you would start with a pedal car, then transition to a go-kart, and so forth.

The point is that the MVP isn’t about offering something non-functional or changing your vision throughout the process; it’s about delivering the minimum functionality required.

What are the criteria to test your MVP?

There are plenty of well-connected people in the startup world who will tell you how to measure your MVP.

In our humble opinion, the best definition is that while your MVP should align with your vision, you should feel ashamed of it.

If you’re not embarrassed by it, you’ve launched too late. Let’s say you already have a legal or privacy policy page, an incredibly beautiful design in your MVP, and so on; that means you’ve launched too late.

Again, your MVP should adhere to your vision, but stop when your vision is there, even if all the details aren’t.

Why is it important to test your MVP?

Now that you get what an MVP actually is, let’s dive into why it’s crucial to test it.

1. Agility:

If you’ve understood when to launch your MVP and the importance of not waiting too long, you’ll see that agility is a significant factor.

Your time is finite, and if you want to find a winning formula, you need to move quickly!

You have to release something that embodies your vision as quickly as possible.

2. Aligning with Vision and Interest:

People will tolerate the absence of legal pages or a polished design if they buy into your vision.

By dedicating those 3 months to building that vision and then finding out there’s no product-market fit, you’ve only lost 6 months.

But if you take a whole year to build and test your MVP, you’ve lost a whole year.

You need to accept that not all products are meant to last.

Which beautifully transitions us to our next point:

3. Determining Product-Market Fit:

The notions of MVP and product/market fit are closely linked.

Your MVP serves as a tool to assess your product/market fit, emphasizing the importance of having a clear vision for your final product.

And why would you want to test your product/market fit? Well, it’s to determine if it genuinely exists.

If it doesn’t, you have two options: pivot to something else or conduct additional user interviews to understand their preferences.

Explore how La Growth Machine can help you gather valuable customer feedback and insights to refine your product! 🤝
Learn how to get customer feedback with LaGrowthMachine here.

The golden rule before you start: Hold at least 20 user interviews with your target group.

If, at the outcome of the interviews, none of them insist on either 1) wanting to invest, or 2) when they can join the beta, maybe it’s time to start brainstorming again.

And yes, we’re setting the bar high because too few people will dare say a product is bad – all you’ll get is “positive” feedback. As a result, you have to look for interest elsewhere such as in the obvious desire to be part of the venture.

How to effectively test your MVP?

When discussing the MVP (Minimum Viable Product), it’s essential to understand that it’s not just about the product or service itself.

Testing an MVP encompasses both the product and the communication strategy that accompanies it.

Three Key Components to Test

When testing your MVP, focus on three primary components:

  1. Audience/Persona: Determine who you’re addressing. It’s crucial to identify and distinctly address multiple audiences to understand which one resonates more with which part of your offering.
  2. Message: What are you telling your audience? Which features do they care about the most?
  1. Channels: Where are you communicating your message? Whether it’s through email, LinkedIn, or another channel, the medium can significantly influence the effectiveness of your message.

Implementing the Test

To effectively test your MVP, follow these steps:

  1. List Down Hypotheses: Begin by listing down the different combinations of audience, message, and channel you want to test.
  1. Launch Campaigns: For each hypothesis, create a distinct campaign. You can use our own La Growth Machine for this. Play with the personas, the channel used, and different copywriting.
  1. Analyze Results: As feedback comes in, qualify the responses and/or track conversions. This will help you determine which combination of audience, message, and channel is the most effective.

Final Thoughts

Testing an MVP becomes quite a straightforward notion once you have a clear understanding of what it entails.

What’s crucial to grasp, and why we emphasize what an MVP is and why you need to test it, is that when you conduct tests, you’re not solely evaluating your product.

What’s essential is that there are three dimensions that significantly impact your conversion rate:

  • Who you’re targeting – The persona(ae)
  • What you’re saying to them – The message
  • Where are you trying to reach them – The channel

These dimensions should be tested equally.

Furthermore, it’s vital not to make assumptions.

Indeed, it’s crucial to abandon the notion that you’re always right.

Instead, compile a comprehensive list of all the tests you need to perform and approach them with the utmost objectivity. Be as humble as possible in the face of the data, and let the results guide your decisions.