What Is a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)?

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Contributor, Benzinga
September 22, 2023

A minimum viable product (MVP) is a product with the bare minimum features needed to validate a business idea and test its market fit. It is the most basic version of a product that can be launched and tested by potential customers. The purpose of an MVP is to quickly and cost-effectively validate a business idea, gather feedback from early adopters and identify key features that will attract and retain customers. This article explores the concept of an MVP in more detail, including its definition, purpose, steps to creating one, differences from a normal product, benefits, pitfalls and some examples of MVPs.

How Does Minimum Viable Product Work?

In the world of startups, the term minimum viable product is often used to describe a product that has just enough features to satisfy early adopters and provide feedback for future product development. An MVP is a stripped-down version of a product that has only the essential features required for it to function.

The purpose of an MVP is to validate a business idea with minimum investment and to test whether it resonates with potential customers. By getting feedback on an MVP, a startup can make necessary changes and improvements before investing significant time and money into the development of a more complete product.

Steps to Creating a Minimum Viable Product

  • Identify the core features: Determine the most essential features of the product, which will be included in the MVP.
  • Prioritize features: Prioritize features based on their importance and potential impact on the product.
  • Design a simple user interface: Create a simple and easy-to-use user interface that allows customers to interact with the core features.
  • Develop the MVP: Build the MVP with the core features and user interface.
  • Test and gather feedback: Release the MVP to potential customers and gather feedback on the product.
  • Make necessary changes: Use customer feedback to make changes and improvements to the MVP before moving on to a more complete product.

Why MVPs Are Important for a Startup

The concept of an MVP is important in the context of startups and startup investing. Investors are interested in funding startups that can validate their business ideas and demonstrate that there is a demand for their products. By creating an MVP, startups can reduce the risk of investing significant time and money into a product that may not be well-received by the market.

What’s the Difference Between a Minimum Viable Product and a Normal Product?

An MVP has only the essential features required for it to function and be tested by potential customers, while a normal product has all the features that are deemed necessary for a complete and polished product.

Benefits of Launching a Minimum Viable Product vs. a Normal Product

Launching an MVP has several benefits over launching a normal product. It can help to reduce the risk of investing significant time and money into a product that may not be well received by the market. It can help to get feedback from potential customers, which can be used to make necessary changes and improvements before launching a more complete product. Launching an MVP can help validate a business idea and provide evidence of demand for the product.

Downsides of Using an MVP

One of the pitfalls of creating an MVP is that it can be difficult to identify the core features that are necessary for the product to function. It's important to conduct research and gather feedback from potential customers to ensure that the MVP has the right features. Another pitfall is that an MVP may not generate enough revenue to support the ongoing development of the product. It's important to have a clear plan for generating revenue and scaling the product over time.

Examples of MVPs

Several successful companies have launched MVPs, including Dropbox, Airbnb and Zappos. Dropbox launched an MVP that only included a simple file-sharing feature, which allowed the company to confirm its business idea and develop a more complete product over time. Airbnb launched an MVP that allowed users to rent air mattresses in their living rooms, and Zappos tried a business model that only included a few shoe styles.

A Strategic Startup Approach

The concept of an MVP is important for startups as it allows for idea validation and market testing with minimal investment. It offers benefits such as risk reduction, valuable feedback and concept validation. Challenges include identifying core features and sustainable revenue generation. Successful companies like Dropbox, Airbnb and Zappos have used MVPs to transform ideas into market-oriented products. Adopting an MVP approach helps startups navigate the innovation landscape and resonate more effectively with their target audience.

Frequently Asked Questions


How do you define your Minimum Viable Product?


An MVP is a simplified version of a product that solves the core problem it aims to address. It allows entrepreneurs to gather feedback and test assumptions before fully developing the product. The key is to focus on essential features that deliver value to the target audience while leaving out non-essential elements. The MVP serves as a starting point for iterative development and helps validate product-market fit.


Should you outsource the creation of your MVP?


The decision to outsource the creation of an MVP depends on factors such as cost savings, expertise and development time. It can provide benefits but also has potential drawbacks like communication challenges and lack of control. The decision should be based on specific circumstances, budget, timeline and desired level of control.


How long should it take to build a Minimum Viable Product?


The time it takes to build an MVP can range from a few weeks to several months, depending on the complexity and available resources. It is important to balance speed with meeting minimum requirements and attracting early adopters. The goal is to deliver value to customers while minimizing development time.