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Developing an MVP App? Tips First-time Founders need to keep in Mind

There’s an assumption that an MVP app development should be a done frugally, but this is not the case. Because, besides the development expenses, you need to consider the launch and marketing expenses as well.  

So, if you are bootstrapping your MVP with your hard-earned savings, remember, you need to save some for the launch as well. To be very forthright, if cash is a real problem for you, you need to really sit back and take a re-look at your MVP dream. Is it worth it or not?

More often than not, I am compelled to talk people out of starting to develop their application with us. So many of these intelligent, creative, and hard-working people just are not prepared to begin development because they have not fully explored the costs associated with taking an idea to market. While I am happy to help them build their products, I do not want them to be disappointed when they spend their entire budget on a small MVP, then realize that they have no more money to get it to market effectively. 

Jason Ward, President/RocketBuild + Founder/Boardable

On the other hand, if your pockets are deep enough to handle both MVP development and marketing, we can talk further. (For in-depth take on MVP, check this e-book out: A step-by-step guide to build tried and tested MVP.) 

#1. Try the Fake Door MVP first

A fake door MVP helps the founder know first-hand if there are users for his product. This is done by drawing traffic to a landing page that highlights the features and benefits of the product and also helps figure out if a purchase was made or not.  

Crowdfunding platforms such as Indiegogo, Kickstarter and Gofundme will help you with this. 

In the initial phase of MVP you simply add a button to check it user wants a particular feature or not. Nope, the button won’t be functional to offer any value to user. It may just prompt the user to leave their email addresses. However, whether they leave their email addresses or not doesn’t matter here. What matters is that whether a user has clicked the button and showed any interest in the feature. 

A fake door MVP could be a good idea to see how customers perceive your product, and find out features that they may like and dislike…this will keep you from developing features that are hard on them and on you as well in terms of development and money.   

#2. Consider its Revenue Generating Power 

If you believe that your app would be invincible because of its uniqueness, you need to think again. Having unique idea for your app is just fine. But what matters more is whether you would be able to launching your MVP app in a market that has large user base, which, in turn, will help you with recurring revenue streams. 

#3. Add More Meat to your Idea to Attract Investors 

Some quick sketches, initial conversations, and user flow may get you some family or friendly funding, which will allow you to get a few talented people on board. However, if you want to take your app to the next level – a seed round, that is – then you’ll need three things, namely, prototype, business plan & market analysis, and, of course, legal counsel.  

  • Develop Prototypes 

For some investors, a simple static design will do. In which case, a couple of screen designs are thrown together to convince the investor what makes the product viable and attractive.   This may just require a few hours for the designer using Photoshop or Sketch.  

However, getting hold of a clickable prototype is what gets you to the next level.  A clickable prototype can be attempted using programs such as Adobe XD or Invision, which lends a real look and feel to the product. 

You could try making a prototype in actual code for those who could afford to spend more at the early stages. This kind of code could be developed using inexpensive tools, and the app could be put out in 6-8 weeks. The working model allows users to sign up and interact.

  • Business Plan 

For serious investors, more than your prototype, it’s your business plans that matters. So consider following things in terms of your business plan 

  • Make it thoughtful and well-vetted   
  • What needs it fulfills in the market 
  • Revenue projections and costs for the next 3-5 years 
  • Talent and skills you are planning to get on board 
  • An idea on the market size and target audiences 
  • User acquisition and retention strategies 

Developing all these documents may consume a hell of a lot of time. So if you don’t have people with experience in the fields mentioned above, it’s always nice to get knowledgeable people on board who could complete the above tasks with finesse.  Having a well-rounded team with varying levels of commitment and equity is the best way for the company.

  • Appoint a Good Lawyer 

You will need to appoint a lawyer for three primary reasons. One is to come up with a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) and shield you while talking to investors, developers, and third parties. Two, to review contract details that you plan to sign, particularly those relating to intellectual property, and finally, to ensure that your technology and company identity is not in direct legal conflict with pre-existing technologies or entities. 

For more information on business and equity structure issues, there are several online resources out there.  

#4.  Choose a Compatible Project Management Technology 

For tech startups looking for software for developing MVP should try Agile and avoid Waterfall.  

The Waterfall management model follows a strict sequence of software development.  The development phase includes planning, design, implementation, testing, production, and support. The developer cannot move on to the next stage without completing the previous stages. 

The Agile model, on the other hand, is synonymous with agility. This means changes happen continually, based on user feedback. Continuous iterations will ensure that product development is in alignment with user demands. The only challenge businesses could face while dealing with the Agile management model is that you need to have developers constantly working for you on iterations.   

#5.  Know your Target Audience Thoroughly 

An idea may sound good in theory, but one needs to be sure that it would work practically as well. For instance, the restaurant research mobile app, Botnim, sounded good but failed to find a user base. The app was meant for health-conscious restaurant-goers who could benefit from knowing the dishes’ nutritional value. However, the market research that involved restaurant owners and diners was not enthusiastic about the app premise, citing that restaurant-goers generally aren’t bothered about the food’s nutritional value. Those that are would avoid visiting the restaurants.  Not surprisingly, their MVP didn’t find any takers. So, before thinking of an MVP, you need to know your target audience’s preference. 

Also, it’s not that easy to find the right target audience.  You sometimes need to drill down your target audience to find passionate people in your niche. Get your MVP checked from them to get feedback to make your product better. 

Winding Up 

There you go! 5 To-do list before releasing your MVP. One more you can add here: Facebook and Twitter ads, if you got some money to spend. This will help you test the validity of your MVP. 

Author bio: I am Jennifer Warren- a blogger and content manager at GoodFirms – a review and rating agency that offers a level playing to businesses of all sizes.

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