How to build an MVP: A step-by-step guide for 2023

The cover reflects the title of the article "how to build an MVP" and its content - the article discusses, among other things, how generative AI helps in planning MVPs. The cover image features a man standing in front of a mobile phone screen. On the screen is an Android symbolizing ChatGPT. They are communicating with each other.

The concept of developing a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is well-documented in numerous reputable sources. However, this approach is not static; it continually evolves with the emergence of technological innovations that can not only expedite the verification and launching of ideas but also become standout features in their own right. For instance, generative AI can assist in validating ideas of an MVP, while concurrently being incorporated as a key component of the service. Let’s explore how creating the process of MVP development can be significantly enhanced these days.

Step 1. Define the problem

Before understanding how to build an MVP itself, it is crucially important to first define the specific problem the product aims to solve and identify the target audience for whom it is intended. This initial step is essential to avoid the fate of numerous failed startups that did not sufficiently address the needs of their audience and were disconnected from reality.

To define the problem, start by asking yourself the following questions to fill in the template:

The image presents a diagram illustrating the process of formulating the problem that an MVP should address. The diagram is structured as follows: "I believe that... a specific group of people... has this particular problem... when they are doing this task / encounter these limitations..."

For instance, consider the example of the McDonald brothers who recognized the issue drivers faced in finding affordable, simple, and quickly accessible snacks while on the go. In response, they developed a revolutionary fast food system that emulated a factory model, where each worker had a specific task, resulting in an expedited process. However, they didn’t kick off successfully right from the start; it took them a while to formulate their Speedee Service System which started a whole new trend in the restaurant industry.

Discussing applications, a good example is Spotify, which sprinted to prominence during the digital piracy crisis within the music industry. Its innovators identified the issues of illicit music downloads and consequently birthed a legal streaming platform. This service provided an avenue for affordable and expedient access to an extensive music library. To listeners, it addressed the problem of acquiring costly albums or wrestling to locate trustworthy free downloads. On the side of artists and record labels, it unveiled a fresh source of income and a method to counteract piracy.

By adhering to the step of defining the problem, you can gain a deeper understanding of your target audience’s needs, enabling you to customize your product to address these needs effectively. You can employ generative AI dialogue as a tool to validate or slightly modify your product idea. However, ensure that you have provided accurate premises to the AI for the best outcomes.

UserI’ve observed that people often need designs for a specific room or corner when decorating their apartments. However, interior designers typically undertake full projects. Suggest 6 mobile app MVP ideas that could address this issue.
AI assistant

Here are six mobile app ideas that could address the need for specific room or corner designs without requiring the assistance of a full-fledged interior designer:

  1. Room Decorator: An app that allows users to virtually decorate and visualize specific rooms or corners of their homes using 3D models, furniture, paint colors, and decor items. Users can experiment with different designs and layouts to find the perfect style for their space.
  2. Corner Design Guru: This app focuses specifically on corner spaces, offering curated design ideas, furniture suggestions, and decor inspiration to transform any neglected corner into a functional and aesthetically pleasing area.
  3. Design My Nook: Targeting niche areas like reading nooks, study corners, or relaxation spaces, this app provides users with design templates, furniture recommendations, and customization options to create personalized and inviting nooks within their homes.
  4. DIY Decor Planner: A do-it-yourself app that provides step-by-step guides, tutorials, and visual aids for transforming specific rooms or corners. It includes ideas for repurposing existing furniture, DIY projects, and budget-friendly decor hacks.
  5. Virtual Interior Designer Lite: A simplified version of a full-service virtual interior design app, this lite version focuses on specific room transformations or corner designs. Users can upload images or videos of the area they want to decorate, answer a design questionnaire, and receive personalized design recommendations within their budget.
  6. Collaboration Corner: An app that connects users with interior designers who specialize in smaller projects or specific room designs. Users can browse through portfolios, discuss their requirements, and collaborate with designers remotely to get professional guidance and design suggestions for their desired corner or room.
These app ideas aim to provide users with accessible, budget-friendly, and user-friendly solutions for designing specific areas of their homes without the need for a full-scale interior design service.

Step 2. Outline the target audience portrait

While we previously discussed the specific group of people we were targeting, creating a more comprehensive and detailed study of the target audience is vital for effectively building your MVP. This in-depth analysis is important for answering the question of how to build your MVP correctly.

A target audience description focuses on characteristics, although it is not as comprehensive as a target market, which includes not only the main group of customers but also their surroundings. For instance, significant others may potentially purchase a subscription to your app as a gift for their loved ones. On the other hand, a buyer persona is an imaginative representation of your ideal customer, encompassing detailed attributes, behaviors, and motivations. It helps to humanize your target audience and gain a deeper understanding of their needs and preferences.

In terms of defining your target audience, you likely have an idea of the prospective group interested in your offerings, since every product idea is born from the need to solve a specific problem. However, instead of having an app to track traffic and adapt to its users, it can be immensely beneficial to initially study your competitors’ data. This can be easily achieved with marketing tools that are easily accessible.

Once you’ve understood the demographic characteristics of your target audience, such as their age, gender, and profession, it’s time to engage in direct conversations. This approach is known as customer development interviews, or in-depth interviews, and is designed to identify the pain points of your audience. At this juncture, a generative AI can prove to be a powerful tool, especially if you’re uncertain about the questions to pose.

UserI am thinking about how to build an MVP of the mobile app. What questions should I pose to a potential customer during my customer development interview? My target audience encompasses people who are interested in improving specific areas within their apartments instead of redesigning the entire space. This group includes millennials of any gender, many of whom are either married with children or are planning to start a family.
AI Assistant
  • What is the main challenge you face when decorating a specific area in your apartment?
  • How do you currently source design ideas for specific spaces in your home?
  • What features would you prioritize in an app designed to help with the interior decoration of specific spaces?
  • How often do you redecorate or rearrange your space?
  • What resources or tools do you wish you had to help with this process?
  • Have you used any apps or services for decorating your home? If so, what did you like or dislike about them?
  • Would you be interested in an app that offers personalized design recommendations for specific areas of your home?
  • How essential is budget consideration in your decorating process?
  • How much time are you willing to dedicate to a decorating project for a specific area in your apartment?
  • How important are sustainable or environmentally friendly products in your decorating decisions?

Step 3. Hold a SWOT analysis

Performing a SWOT analysis is a crucial step in the development of an MVP as it allows you to thoroughly evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of your product idea. This analysis provides valuable insights that can guide your decision-making process and help you refine your MVP to better address the needs of your target audience.

To conduct a SWOT analysis, follow these steps:

Identify strengths. Determine the unique features, capabilities, or advantages of your MVP. These could include technological innovations, expertise in the industry, strong relationships with suppliers or partners, or a unique value proposition.

Assess weaknesses. Analyze the potential limitations or drawbacks of your MVP. This could include gaps in resources or skills, technical challenges, lack of market knowledge, or potential vulnerabilities that may hinder your success.

Identify opportunities. Identify external factors or trends that present opportunities for your MVP. This could include emerging technologies, changes in consumer behavior, market gaps or untapped niches, or potential partnerships or collaborations.

Evaluate threats. Identify potential obstacles or challenges that can pose threats to your MVP. This could include competition from existing or emerging players, changing market dynamics, regulatory or legal challenges, or shifts in customer preferences.

By conducting a SWOT analysis, you can gain a clear understanding of the current landscape and make informed decisions about how to build your MVP. This analysis can help you capitalize on your strengths, address your weaknesses, leverage opportunities, and mitigate threats. It is essential to regularly revisit and update your SWOT analysis as the market and your product evolve.

Example of a SWOT analysis for the mobile app ideas mentioned earlier:

  • Utilizes generative AI to provide personalized recommendations
  • Offers budget-friendly solutions for specific room or corner designs
  • Provides user-friendly interfaces and step-by-step guides
  • Targets a niche audience interested in specific area improvements
  • Limited resources for marketing and scaling
  • Lack of brand recognition or customer base
  • Potential technical challenges in implementing generative AI
  • Growing interest in DIY home improvement and decor
  • Increasing adoption of mobile apps for home design and decoration
  • Collaborations with interior design professionals for added expertise
  • Competition from existing home design apps and services
  • Changing consumer preferences and trends in home decor
  • Regulatory or legal challenges related to privacy or data protection

By carefully analyzing and considering these factors, you can make informed decisions about the design, features, and positioning of your MVP. The SWOT analysis will serve as a valuable roadmap for further development and refinement of your product idea. This step can be effectively supported by leveraging the power of AI, although it’s important to note that AI may not always possess the most up-to-date market information. In such cases, incorporating the assistance of analytics can be beneficial. By combining AI capabilities with in-depth market analytics, you can ensure a comprehensive understanding of the market landscape and make informed decisions for your MVP.

We offer a range of AI integration services to enhance your app, streamline your marketing efforts, and automate your internal business processes. Let us know your requirements, and we’ll help you leverage the power of AI.

Step 4. Select the essential features

To ensure that your MVP effectively meets the needs of your target audience, it is crucial to carefully select the key features for the initial release. These features should directly address the core problem or need that your product aims to solve. For an app dedicated to room designing, the following features can be considered essential:

Room layout design tool. Provide users with the ability to easily create and customize room layouts according to their preferences and needs.

Furniture and decor selection. Offer a wide range of furniture and decor options for users to choose from, allowing them to visualize different styles and arrangements within their rooms.

3D visualizations. Enable users to view their room designs in realistic 3D renderings, providing a better sense of how the final result will look. Augmented reality is definitely a trend.

Save and share designs. Allow users to save their designs for future reference and share them with others for feedback or inspiration.

Customization options. Provide users with the ability to customize additional elements such as wall colors, flooring, and lighting to create a truly personalized room design. Elevate the experience for nostalgic millennials, bringing the iconic essence of the Sims game into their real-life environments.

These features represent the minimum viable product, and additional features can be added in future releases based on user feedback and market demand. While features like in-app purchasing, social media integration, and advanced design tools may be considered for future development, they may not be necessary for the initial release. It is crucial to prioritize the key features based on their importance and relevance to the core problem your product seeks to solve. By focusing on these essential features, you learn how to build an MVP that effectively addresses the needs of your target audience while keeping the development process efficient and focused.

Step 5. Find a reliable development partner

Creating an MVP often necessitates a diverse team of designers, developers, UX/UI experts, and project managers. It’s crucial to select a reliable supplier unless you have the necessary expertise and resources in-house to bring your MVP to fruition.

While selecting a supplier, seek a team with prior experience in MVP development and a track record of successfully completed projects. They should also comprehend your target market and the industry you plan to enter. To gain insight into their ability and work ethic, be sure to examine their portfolio and ask for client reviews. Among sources that have robust verification processes to ensure the authenticity of reviews are:

  • Google reviews
  • Clutch
  • Glassdoor
  • GoodFirms
  • Yelp
  • Better business bureau
  • Trustpilot

Also, consider the supplier’s communication and project management tactics. Regular and clear communication is crucial for keeping the project on schedule and meeting deadlines. A supplier that employs agile methodologies can provide a tremendous benefit, allowing for versatility and continuous advancements throughout the development process.

Finally, ensure you have a clear understanding of expectations, deadlines, and budget before entering into a contract. A dependable supplier will work closely with you to comprehend your vision and offer affordable recommendations for MVP development.

Consider asking the following questions to your potential development partner:

  1. What experience do you have with MVP development? Can you share examples of MVPs you’ve created in the past?
  2. How well do you understand my industry and target market?
  3. Could you provide references from previous clients for whom you’ve developed an MVP?
  4. Can you walk me through your development process, from the conceptualization stage to final product delivery?
  5. How do you handle project management? Do you follow agile methodologies?
  6. How often will we communicate and what form will this communication take?
  7. How would you go about understanding and implementing my vision for the MVP?
  8. What are your cost structures and payment terms?
  9. How flexible are you with changes or pivots during the development process?
  10. Will you provide post-launch support and iterations based on user feedback?

Anyway, the goal is to find a partner who knows not only how to build your MVP but also understands your vision, providing critical input throughout the process.

Nevertheless, if you’re planning to build everything on your own, there is another trend that’s been here for some time which is low-code and no-code tools. The following are the noteworthy ones:

Adalo: Recognized for its user-friendly features and ability to quickly build both mobile and web applications.

Bubble: Known for its easy-to-use interface and strong capabilities for developing web apps without coding.

Mendix: Reputed in the enterprise sector for its robustness and scalability.

Appian: Specializes in business process automation and swift app development, making it ideal for more intricate MVPs.

However, outsourced suppliers often provide customized prepackaged solutions that can be both cost-effective and quick to launch. For instance, at Ronas IT, we’ve developed an e-commerce rapid builder. This tool provides all the essential functions for launching an e-commerce application, while still allowing for the creation of a unique design.

Step 6. Launch and develop further

Once your MVP is developed, it’s essential to plan for and execute a successful launch. This involves creating a marketing strategy to reach your target audience, generating buzz and excitement for your product, and effectively communicating the value proposition and features of your MVP.

Utilize the power of social media to connect with your target audience, engage with potential users, and promote your MVP. You may also want to consider partnering with relevant publications, influencers, or YouTubers in your niche to reach a broader audience.

It’s vital to track and analyze user feedback and analytics after launch to identify areas for improvement and iterate on your MVP accordingly. This continuous cycle of launching, collecting feedback, and making improvements will help your MVP evolve and grow into a successful product.

Additionally, it’s important to have a further roadmap in place to anticipate and manage future costs and resources needed for further development and scaling. This includes forecasting user growth, potential revenue streams, and budget allocation for marketing and updates.

Wrapping up

Developing an MVP requires thoughtful planning and meticulous execution. Understanding the target audience’s needs, outlining the problem that your product aims to solve, choosing the essential features, conducting a SWOT analysis, and partnering with a reliable development team are all essential steps in the MVP development process. Implementing technological advancements can further enhance your product, so looking at what everyone is talking about is essential. Once the MVP is launched, user feedback and market analytics are vital to refine the product and ensure its continued relevance and success.

If you are unsure about how to build an MVP, we can help guide you through the process at Ronas IT. We specialize in guiding clients through this intricate process, backing every step of the way from the initial conceptualization to successful product launch. Click the "Get in Touch" button below and start your journey towards realizing your product vision with our team.

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