A great way to get feedback when building your Minimum Viable Product is to build a community. You can ask members questions directly, and also receive valuable feedback via other channels. Also, you can find potential customers there who will show you what they really want.
Building your MVP is a crucial stage on the way to building a profitable business. The best option to launch your product is to build or become part of a community where you talk to potential users, test their feedback, and validate your product idea without investing more resources in it.
Your community will be dedicated to your idea and will keep you on the right track by providing useful insights that will help you make improvements as soon as possible. So you don’t waste time and money in the wrong direction!
In today’s post, we explore what is a minimum viable community, and how it can help you build and scale your MVP into a profitable business.
What Is a Minimum Viable Product?
A Minimum Viable Product is a product with just enough features to satisfy early adopters. Therefore, they can provide feedback for future development. A more accurate definition could be the one given by the author of the book “The Lean Startup”, Eric Ries, who defines an MVP as “the version of a new product that enables a team to gather the maximum amount of validated customer insights with the least amount of effort.“
The goal of an MVP is to help you test your idea without spending too much time or money. You want to be able to get something out there as fast as possible. This way, you can start gathering feedback from customers!
From Idea to MVP
According to Ries, “what you as an entrepreneur think is the MVP, it’s still too big”. This means it may have too many features to be the right-sized Minimum Viable Product. Therefore, the formula to find if the MVP that you’ve thought about is correct is to take what you think it is right now and cut it in half. Then do that two more times… And launch that!
A successful product is one that generates an impact on its potential customers and clients. This way, you’ll give your potential consumers the possibility to give you feedback.
Listen to them and take their comments to improve the product – even if these are qualities that you had already thought of beforehand.
Step #1: Identify a Problem Worth Solving
The first step when turning an idea into a Minimum Viable Product is to identify and analyze the problem you’re solving in depth.
“Find a problem and develop a product to solve it” is common advice among entrepreneurs… But how do you actually nail the solution for which your potential customers will be willing to pay?
Building a Minimum Viable Community might be the answer… But we’ll talk more about this later on!
Step #2: Create User Stories & Flows
Once you’ve found a problem worth solving, it’s time to start creating user stories and user flows. A story map will help you visualize the flow of your application from start to finish. This way, when you design your product later, you will easily see how everything fits together.
A good story map should include detailed descriptions of the steps users will go through when using your product. As well as any potential problems or issues they might encounter at each step. It’s crucial that your stories are realistic!
Step #3: Create a Landing Page
To make it easier for people to access and explore your product, create a landing page with a sign-up form so you have a page to share with users. Also, start collecting emails from interested parties!
Step #4: Share Your Idea in Communities
When turning your idea into an MVP, a great idea is to become part of a community and share it with other users. Also, you can build a Minimum Viable Community.
A large number of people who have never heard of your product can be a great source of feedback. For example, if you have an idea for an app, you could post it on Product Hunt, Reddit, or Hacker News.
However, when writing about your product, try not to brag about it too much. Instead, focus on the benefits that your users will get from using it. If people like what they see and read, they will be more likely to give you their feedback or even sign up for testing.
✨ Pro tip:
Try joining a community where people are already talking about similar topics. By joining one of these online groups and engaging with its members, you’ll be able to get valuable feedback on your idea & build a relationship with users!
You can also learn how others are solving the same problems that you are trying to solve. This will help you understand what type of features would be useful for your customers, which features should be included in your MVP, and what price point should be set for your product or service.
Step #5: Interview Potential Users
The goal of these interviews is to find out the needs of those you are building for, as well as their pain points and frustrations. This will help you determine the features and functionality that your MVP should include.
After approximately 5 interviews, start looking for patterns among the targeted users!
Step #6: Build an MVP Prototype
The last step when turning your idea into an MVP is building your Minimum Viable Product prototype. This is where you take the bare bones of your idea and turn it into something tangible.
The prototype is the first version of your product that you can show to potential customers (that’s when Minimum Viable Community becomes essential, but we’ll have more on that later on in this post). It’s not the final product, but it’s a work-in-progress model that shows how your idea will work in practice.
At this point, you should have enough information to build a prototype of your idea. If you don’t have enough information yet, then you need to go back and collect more data about your customer base and the market!
What Is a Minimum Viable Community?
As the concept of MVP, Minimum Viable Community is a concept developed by the author of “The Lean Startup”. Basically, it’s a small group of people reunited under the same shared interest.
In his book, Ries describes it as “a group of customers and potential customers who are willing to try out your product or service and provide you with feedback.”
However, your Minimum Viable Community might also be the first step toward building your MVP. Therefore, a crucial part of the startup process. But you can also decide to build a community that will grow and sustains itself beyond the development of the MVP.
Features That Make Your Community Viable
To build a successful and viable community, you need to understand what makes members tick. Here are some key factors that you need to take into account:
🙌 Purpose: Why do you want to build a community? What problems will it solve? How will it help your users achieve their goals? This is what drives people to connect with each other! So make sure you have a clear purpose for your MVP.
👋 Membership: Who are the people who can join your community? What are their interests, skills, and passions? Identify these characteristics early on so you can find the right people who would benefit from joining your community.
📝 Policies & Moderation: What rules do they follow? How do they communicate with each other? How do they resolve conflicts within their groups? These policies shape how members interact with each other and dictate how they conduct themselves within your community space.
Why Do You Need a Community to Scale Your MVP?
Building a Minimum Viable Community around your product is essential to scaling an MVP. Firstly, you can test your idea with early adopters before spending money on development. Testing with real people will allow you to get feedback on what they really want and then build something that solves a real problem.
Therefore, you’ll be able to iterate quickly on what works and what doesn’t work!
Also, if you have an open source project, a community is an excellent source of talent, code contributions, and other resources that can help you build a better product or service offering faster than going it alone or relying on paid contractors only.