The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that around 20% of new businesses fail within the first two years they’re open; 45% within the first five years, and 65% during the first 10 years. But knowing how to test your startup idea can drastically increase your chances of being a part of the successful minority.
Whether you’re new to entrepreneurship or an experienced founder, a solid MVP has the potential to set your venture up for success.
So what is an MVP? Does it make a difference in the way you launch your startup? What features should you consider when qualifying an MVP development company?
In this article, we’re answering these questions and more to ensure your MVP leads your startup to long-term success.
What is MVP development?
Reid Hoffman said, “If you are not embarrassed by your first product, you launched too late.”
MVP development involves developing your Minimum Viable Product (MVP), or the first edition of your product that you’ve used to demonstrate its minimal features before going all-in on development. By developing an MVP, you’re building out your product step-by-step to eventually reach the point that it’s functional, reliable, usable, and appealing to your target audience.
As you develop your MVP, you’ll continue with a series of iterations, using the feedback you obtain from early adopters to improve your product’s design and deliver what your target audience wants.
What is the purpose of an MVP?
The goal of an MVP is to launch your product as fast as possible while using a minimal budget. During MVP development, you’re also raising funds for your project and testing your offer with your target audience. Through this approach, you’ll have the chance to collect feedback accordingly, allowing you the opportunity to enhance your product through each iteration.
According to HBR, 85% of new product launches failed due to poor market segmentation. This is where MVP offers value. Creating, using, and developing an MVP allows you to gain insight from your target audience, use feedback from the MVP development process to improve your product, and find the right product-market fit.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you’re able to illustrate a working product when pitching to investors. With this being the case, MVP products increase your chances of getting funding, as well.
Why work with an MVP development company
The right MVP development agency will guide you every step of the way. This team works to ensure your product releases faster and within budget as it progresses your product through the development process. The main benefits of outsourcing the development of your MVP include:
- More time. Without being forced to develop your MVP, your team can spend its time and energy on actions that will contribute to your startup’s growth early on. This – paired with a working MVP – makes it easier to succeed in a competitive business environment.
- More insight. You’ll learn from the experience of the agency you work with, as most of them have already successfully developed many MVPs. Consider how much relevant knowledge the company you’re working with possesses. After years of helping other startups develop MVPs, it’s safe to say these professionals know a thing or two about how to make your product successful.
- More expertise. You’ll have the opportunity to work with a team of experienced developers who have a diverse set of skills instead of just one. With access to developers excelling in ideation, design, UX, and product creation, you have the combined experience of several professionals working on your startup’s MVP development. This team progresses your product forward faster through the development process.
- More resources. You’ll save money outsourcing to a professional agency compared to hiring someone in-house. This translates to getting your product testing started faster without investing your entire budget early on in the process.
- Know what talent you need to acquire. You understand how an MVP development company will shape your product and know what to look for in your future team members (hiring process).
Now that you have a better idea of how an agency will add value to your startup, here are the things you need to keep in mind when choosing an agency.
Things to look for in an MVP development agency
- A clean website. The company you choose should showcase its talent through its website. Simply put, if the company’s website looks like it hasn’t been updated in a long time, it’s probably best to move on to the next one. A high-quality agency will take pride in everything it does, starting with its own work. The website is the first example you’ll see, so it should be impeccable in its design.
- Reviews. Trusting a company you found online isn’t always the easiest thing to do, and while you might be tempted by the way it describes its services, recommendations from trusted sources should influence your decision. Without referrals, you’re gambling on whether or not the company you choose to work with is legitimate and reliable. But with reviews, you’ll gain insight into how your working relationship could work.
- Experience working with similar startups. As you’re analyzing each MVP development company, check their client work before deciding which one is the right fit for your startup. Any reliable agency will have a portfolio of previous projects for you to examine. Consider which startups they’ve worked with in the past, and don’t hesitate to contact the startup founders to get a brief idea of their experience.
- Willingness to sign an NDA. A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is a contract that will ensure the company agrees it won’t disclose information about your startup. This will allow you to establish a confidential relationship with the company while keeping your proprietary information protected. If the company is not willing to sign an NDA, there’s a chance that they’ll use your information on another project or even provide that information to your competition.
Why you should consider Coara
Working with Coara means partnering with 2nd and 3rd-time founders who have a positive track record of building their own startups and helping other startups achieve their desired success.
Knowing and understanding the real challenges of operating a startup gives us insight into what we should do as we develop your MVP. Over the years, our past failures and successes have been lessons to us, allowing us the clarity we need to see how to gain your business the traction it needs to achieve its goals. In other words, we walk the talk and understand the struggles of developing an MVP.
With other agencies, you’re buying into a team that’s focused on developing software. But working with Coara gives you access to valuable resources that contribute to your long-term success. Rather than bringing on a software development team, you’ll work with an agency that has startup experience and a wide array of skill sets to complement your startup.
And software development is not all we do. In fact, we follow the stages of growth and provide continuous support all along the way.
At Coara, we go beyond software development to provide ideation, design, UX, and product creation experience that ignite business growth. Our experience in technology and building successful businesses drives our clients’ successes, and it’ll fuel your startup’s success, as well.
Simply put, if you want to transform your startup’s MVP and reach new heights through each iteration, consider requesting a demo by reaching out to us.
Developing an MVP is essential for most startups. These efforts come with a host of benefits, and through each iteration, your product improves. This is where having the right agency working on your startup’s MVP plays a pivotal role in its progress.
As you’re deciding on an MVP development company, remember:
- Choosing the right agency will give you more time, insight, expertise, and resources to progress your startup.
- Analyze the company’s website; if the website looks outdated, this is a tell-tale sign of what you can expect working with them.
- Check the agency’s reviews and, if possible, reach out to a few previous clients to get a better idea of what it’s like to work with them.
- Find a company that has experience working with businesses similar to your startup.
- Protect your startup and its intellectual property by choosing an agency willing to sign an NDA.
If you’re ready to explore your options and outsource (part of) the development process, make sure you also check out this guide for more information.
Frequently asked questions
Do you still have questions that remain unanswered? Then check the following Q&A.
How do you develop an MVP?
- Explore the market by doing research. See what the market is missing and understand if your idea has potential. You might need to do some brainstorming for this one.
- Design your product’s features in a way that is easy to use. Another way to describe this would be to map out the user flow and understand how the navigation process needs to look like.
- Create a list of all the features that your product needs to have. This is an important step before the development process starts - especially if you choose to outsource.
- Create the MVP either in-house or by outsourcing it to a reliable partner. Once the first edition is ready, test it with your audience and try to adjust it based on customer feedback.
What makes a good MVP?
A good MVP should point out all the important features of the product in a minimal state. This way, you can both:
- Show the initial product to potential funding partners to receive investment offers.
- Allow your audience to use the product and offer valuable feedback.
How long should an MVP take to build?
This really depends on (1) the needs of the product and (2) the manpower available to build it. As such it is really hard to give a specific answer. However, studies show that the average timeframe for the development process should take approximately 18 weeks.
How much does it cost to build an MVP?
This is a very subjective question and heavily depends on the needs of your product and the timeframe available to create it. The best thing you can do is reach out and tell us about your idea so we can give you a realistic price range.
Should I be involved in the process of startup MVP development?
Absolutely. Even if you have no technical knowledge it is always better to stay involved in the process and see what is being done on a frequent basis. An MVP development company should take your opinion into consideration in each part of the project, and use their expertise to point out how and if your ideas could be implemented. Aside from that, you will also get more knowledge that will help you out in future endeavors.
How do I know if the agency I choose is proficient at developing MVPs?
The selection process of an agency is very important. We have previously outlined all the steps you can take in this article. Make sure you check it out to understand how to find capable agencies that build MVP’s. In short, this is what you can do:
- Have several meetings with the company to better understand its method of work.
- Have the company show you some of their in-house products or briefly walk you through the process the follow when creating software.
- Talk with previous clients of the company to understand their communication methods, ability to meet deadlines, and quality of work.
Does a startup development agency help me build more than just software?
A startup development company is exactly what it sounds like: A company that helps your startup grow. Obviously, your software product is going to be a big part of this. However, it is not the only thing that you should focus on. Apart from building up your product, these agencies are usually capable to provide assistance when it comes to marketing and growth. This can be anything from inbound marketing to testing a new product with your audience. Furthermore, startup growth agencies are also well-connected in the industry and will be able to recommend third parties that you might need to work with.
What are some common red flags when interviewing a startup MVP agency?
This can be categorized as one of the biggest fears of a founder - working with an agency that is incapable of producing the right results. But how can you know beforehand? During the initial stages of the interview process, it is really hard to understand which startup development house to avoid. From our experience here are some red flags to pay attention to:
- Communication seems too informal and lacks professionalism.
- Unable to provide client examples or shows examples that are “too good to be true”.
- Unable to find previous clients on Social Media platforms.
- Inability to delve deep into technical topics or communicate the stages of development in detail.
- No information about the company (agency) in any business directories of their operating country.
Can I build an MVP startup product without any coding experience?
Yes, if you wish to experiment with building your own product without incorporating an MVP development house, you can do so by learning “no-code”. No-code refers to the process of learning and using several tools (e.g. Adalo), to build a basic product when you neither have a large budget or development experience. Check out this no-code cheatsheet to get started (credit: KP).
Can no-code handle the MVP development for tech startups as well?
No-code is mainly used to support the earliest version of your product. It is not meant, at this moment at least, to support MVP development for enterprises or startups with a heavy tech focus. That being said, the available tools keep improving, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see future unicorns being built solely with no-code.
What is MVP for startup companies?
MVP is the first edition of your product - the minimum viable product. In short, the product offers a minimalistic operating system to indicate how the final product will work in order to (a) receive funding, (b) gather feedback from beta users, and (c) indicate its importance for a particular industry. As soon as an early-stage company has the funds and resources to build the final product, they can then proceed to hire an MVP development team, whether in-house or outsourced. If you decide to go with the second option (outsourcing), you will need to find an MVP software development company.
Can a founder take on the MVP development for startup funding?
If the company is owned and operated by a single person, then there is an opportunity for the founder to build the product himself. However, chances are that the founder will not have a wide variety of tech skills which would allow him to build a fully functional product. Therefore, unless the budget forbids, its best to work with an MVP company or agency, that has experience building and improving early-stage products.
Apart from MVP software development for startups, what should I look for when hiring an agency or freelancer?
When deciding to explore MVP development services to build your early-stage product, there will be a few more things to consider. The most important aspect of this, especially when building a SaaS product that requires testing, is that of a great landing page. MVP website development is usually an additional service offered by agencies and freelancers and is generally discussed upon the introduction call. If you feel like your product would benefit from this, make sure to mention it while talking with potential candidates. The top MVP development company you end up working with should give you a detailed list of everything you need to know when choosing to also build a website.