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  • Marcia Otto

Fast Tracking Startup Success: Importance of Your Product MVP

Updated: Jun 28

Early-stage startups, such as software as a service (SaaS) companies, often have a winning product idea that they must bring to market without breaking the bank. The first step towards success is building a startup Minimal Viable Product (MVP). An MVP is a product with just enough features to satisfy the needs of early customers. It’s a critical step because you can quickly learn whether your assumptions about the market fit and features are accurate, it provides the foundation for your final product’s release to a wider market, and investors often require proof of concept via customer adoption data.

Best practices for startup product MVP
Startup Product MVP Functional Roadmap

Make sure MVP updates remain functional as you build towards a final vision.

An MVP with paying customers increases your ability to secure funding. 

Investors in the San Francisco Bay Area hear great ideas every day. However, most investors want to know that you have a good idea that customers are already buying. Proving that people will pay for your solution requires fast experimentation and learning to show that you are moving in the right direction. The fastest and least expensive way to get customers to use your product is an MVP. 

In my blog article Smart Startups are Frugal at First: Maximize Your MVP but Minimize Cost, I emphasize the importance of focusing on essential features when building the requirements for your MVP, rather than getting caught up in adding unnecessary bells and whistles. Think about your product in its most basic and effective form. In other words, don’t build a Tesla if your customers just need a skateboard. Building a solid, reliable, value-first MVP helps gain early adopter customers, so investors will fund the next phase of your startup journey.

MVPs help you validate market and customer assumptions.

The most prominent benefit of an MVP is understanding whether customers really need or want your product. The MVP also allows you to learn what features resonate or don’t resonate with them. Getting feedback early helps the product development team steer in the right direction toward market fit and ensures they release features customers actually want. While it’s critical to keep early customers happy, the product team should take feedback holistically and avoid focusing too heavily on any one customer’s problems and feedback. Maximizing adoption requires building a solution that adequately fits your market’s needs – not just one major adopter’s. 

Your MVP sets the foundation, but continuous testing and strong execution are key.

An MVP provides the groundwork for your strategy to produce a final product for a broader customer base. Beyond your MVP, you’ll want to follow the agile methodology mindset of continuous improvement and ongoing development. You’ll continue to scale up and expand toward your end product. The finished product usually ends up more complex, packed with features shaped and validated by customer feedback and testing. Plus, it often gets additional bells and whistles that make it even more appealing to buyers. Of course, a final product does not mean you’ll never make any additional changes. You’ll always continue to improve your product as customers’ needs change over time. 

Use a fractional product manager to guide your team during development.

Founders often need help navigating the product development of a successful MVP because they lack the expertise and time to dedicate toward their MVP. Product Managers are experts at defining, prioritizing, executing, and deploying new products and features. Given that startups face tight budgets, a fractional product manager may be the solution. What is fractional? It's all about flexibility and scalability. A fractional product manager provides specialized expertise without the need to hire a full-time employee - allowing startups to access top-tier talent without breaking the bank. This is especially beneficial for teams in high-cost-of-living areas where talent is expensive, like New York and the San Francisco Bay Area. 

Ready to build a winning MVP? OakBloom Marketing offers fractional product development Contact us here.  San Francisco Bay Area-based, OakBloom Marketing services startups in the Bay Area and throughout the U.S. learn more. #producttipsforstartups #womenintech


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