How do startups actually start? What do you do to get people to know you and your idea? And how much do you need to spend before you make any money? These are the questions that every person with a business idea asks themselves, their friends, and Google.
There are a lot of options for you, a lot of new words to learn, a lot of mistakes to make. Like, what is this MVP everyone is talking about? Chance is you’ve heard it before, even bigger chance is that you’ve used one or two in your life.
MVP is a very simple concept of building something like a prototype of your business. It’s usually a lot simpler than the final look you want to achieve.
MVP usually gives only limited access or limited features for the website or app you’re initially building.
What makes a good MVP? Well, MVP is all about U.
Usability - simple and functional UI is the key
User Experience - make it friendly and reliable
Uniqueness - emphasize your unique selling point, make it memorable
Starting with MVP saves you from lots of extra work, stress, and losses. It gives you a unique opportunity to get your idea into the world for people to use and give invaluable feedback. It’s not a finished product, so after getting feedback from end-users, you’ll be able to tweak it the way you need. Eventually, this MVP will become the product you’ve had in mind.
So, MVP sounds easy enough now? Slow down here because it’s got pitfalls to avoid.
First, make sure your idea is solid, you have a vision, otherwise even this part can take months and tons of cash.
Second, choose your developers wisely. Are they willing to try new things? Are they taking end customers into account or just want the tech to work? We’ll go through the process of finding a good team later.
Third, do you have the budget? There won’t be much or any cash at the first stages of development, so if you need to tweak the project for a little longer, make sure you’ve got the funds. No matter how good the initial idea is, you still have to sell it. So, you can leave a few features for your MVP behind, as long as you’ve put aside some Marketing budget.
And last but not least, have a team. You need someone in your court, a support system, and a person who shares your values. It is important, no matter how hard it is sometimes to agree on an issue.
Say, you have everything under control, then you’re ready to go. We here are ready to share one of our MVP projects to walk you through the process and to give a rough idea of how much money you actually need to get going.
At the beginning of 2021, just when the Covid limitations were in full bloom, we decided to show our support for startups. We created a “Free 25k NOK” (as in Norwegian Krones) special offer which allowed startups to use this budget for the visualization of their idea. The idea that came forward was a marketplace for fitness and beauty services. We’ve worked on it, and after the completion of this stage, decided to move on to build an actual MVP.
The first thing we did was establish the communication grounds. We decided that the whole project will take place in the Asana system so that they have easy access to every stage of development and can give us feedback on our work as soon as possible.
Here came the first challenge we experienced. This is another thing to take into account while working with offshore IT. It is the mighty Language Barrier. First, we speak Russian and they speak Norwegian, so the middle ground was, of course, English. Both languages having unique features are sometimes a bit difficult to translate without losing any sense. Another important issue is that the language developers use may slightly differ from that end-users prefer. For example, the word “production” may come up. While it’s a simple word every IT developer uses on daily basis, for end-users, it means pretty much nothing. So, make sure you understand each other and don’t hesitate to ask questions.
We started working in February and had a working MVP around June. Although, honestly it was a bit more than just MVP. But as was mentioned earlier, the funds were there, so we had an opportunity to twist and turn our idea to really perfect it.
What was done:
- Customer’s user flow
- Supplier onboarding and verification
- Facebook / Gmail login options
- Simple CMS for the managers to have access to all the data and to be able to add/delete features
- Marketplace (search for suppliers, dates, locations, etc.)
- Cart and booking option
- Advanced Stripe Integration with an ability to easily extend to Stripe Connect
- Messaging option/order change option
- Separate interfaces for customers and suppliers
What we used:
- Amazon hosting (5$ a month)
- Figma design system
Who was involved:
- 2 full-stack developers
- 1 full-time project manager
- 1 QA engineer
Now, what do you get for this price?
- 5 months of non-stop communication
- full-time support on every issue
- meticulous QA testing
- all MVP features initially wanted and more, actually, a lot more
- user-friendly service that works
As was mentioned already, MVP is not a finished product. However, it’s working and it gives you a unique opportunity to see what can be of your project, what people think, and what value they give to your idea.
We truly believe that this particular one has a great potential for development and are looking forward to working on it. For now, we’ve gone into a support stage. So, this is one more issue to think about when choosing your developers. Make sure they don’t leave you hanging once it looks like they’re done. We provide continuous support on the project in case something goes wrong or you need to scale your idea into something even bigger.
I’m sure you’ve got some food for thought. Now you know what to expect from the first stages of development, how much money you need, and what things to avoid.
Make it happen!