Startups are breeding grounds for game-changing ideas. A single idea could solve a problem for a large population and in turn, become a new business model.
Take the case of Airbnb. When the Air-Bed-Breakfast was just a business model, the founders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia did not have deep pockets to splurge on web development. They did the chores of web development and business administration themselves. It was only after the business idea was validated and after the funding rounds began that they were able to deploy full-time resources to make Airbnb the disruptive business model that it is today.
Like Airbnb in its initial days, most startups with ground-breaking ideas grapple with the shortage of resources. They are high on ambition, but low on resources. They also need validation for their idea before investing time, money, and effort into building on it.
That makes building an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) before developing the full-blown product a smart move. Building an MVP is similar to test the depth of the water before taking the deep dive.
Here is what Eric Ries defines an MVP to be:
The idea of MVP was introduced to the world by Eric Ries in his book – The Lean Startup. Within a short span of time, the lean startup became a movement that was embraced by several startups. It helped them leapfrog to the enterprise league from the startup ground. Dropbox, wealth front, and Grockit among many others.
If you are a startup that has an idea, building an MVP helps you in several ways, like:
- Validate business idea feasibility,
- Establish market potential,
- Save time, effort, and expensive resources,
- Have a working model to pitch to investors.
Also, the show-and-tell way of pitching has a better chance of winning funding than pitching with a presentation.
MVP development: Should you do-it-yourself or outsource it?
Now, if you are a startup, who will build your MVP? Should you do it yourself? Maybe, yes. The Airbnb founders were good at web development. That made it possible to whip up a neat online room booking website quickly.
If your MVP needs some deep programming or designing, would you be able to do it? Ideation is one thing and bringing ideas to an MVP is another thing. If your programming skills are insufficient to build the MVP, should you hire an in-house team for MVP development?
Unfortunately, among the common challenges that many startups face, finding the right people tops as one of the toughest. Be it for mobile development or web development or even for a simple blueprint designing, finding people can be quite a curveball to tackle. In other words, putting together a team to build the MVP itself could pose to be a serious challenge.
It is here that outsourcing your MVP development could prove to be a smart move.
What makes it a smart move? Outsourcing your MVP development could bestow your business with several benefits. Some of these are described below:
1. Access to specialists
Outsourcing throws open a channel through which you can access world-class talent in any domain. Web development, mobile app development, designing, marketing — outsourcing helps reach out to specialists who can do the work for you quickly and efficiently. The good news is that there are MVP development companies that have the entire team assembled under one roof. You can hire resources on a timely basis or engage them for the short term to build your MVP.
2. Technical consultation
A significant part of MVP development should be spent on understanding customers, their pain areas, and how their problems can be solved. That makes it mandatory for an MVP to be a working model that addresses those customers’ wants heads-on. Now customer wants can be solved through innovating existing solutions or by creating new technical solutions from scratch. Both options require technical consultation. MVP development firms have the technical grounding as well as customer-front understanding which makes them capable of building the right MVP.
3. Quick turnaround
As Eric Ries puts it in his MVP definition, an MVP is built with the least effort. Nevertheless, some amount of effort is required. But, when you exert the effort on your own and try to get things done, even the smallest tasks could take a long time. With an expert MVP development team at hand, you can be sure of a quick turnaround of your MVP. In fact, Slack — the communication and collaboration tool was able to ramp up its development during the initial days of outsourcing.
4. Cost reduction
One of the most underrated benefits of outsourcing MVP development is that you save a huge chunk of your MVP development costs. For the cost of hiring an in-house developer, you can outsource it and build a feature-rich MVP. If required, you can also use the cost savings to run market research and user persona designing to build a near-perfect MVP.
5. Ensuring partnership
During the process of building the MVP with an outside partner, you create a mutual understanding of the product and its long-term vision. This would come in handy when your MVP is ready to be scaled into a full-scale working product. The groundwork that was laid to build the MVP will result in an ensuing partnership that will smoothen future operations. There is no need for you to brief the requirements from the ground up.
Bringing it all together
For any startup, building an MVP is the starting point to a 1000-mile product development journey. You have to do it only once, but it should be done right. You can build an MVP on your own. But, the process could be time-consuming and may not result in an ideal output.
Outsourcing MVP development could lead to better results since you have access to experts with experience and expertise. Also, it saves a lot of time and cost that is otherwise required to be spent for technical studies, consultation, and decision-making. All these benefits put together makes it a smart move for startups to outsource their MVP development.
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