HOW TO AVOID BUILDING A DOOMED MVP: RED FLAGS AND SOLUTIONS FOR STARTUPS

Deyan Nikolov, Software Services Consultant talks about the six major red flags of a doomed MVP from ITIDO’s experience.

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INTRODUCTION

The road to building successful software is rocky, with many potential pitfalls. It’s discouraging to realize, after investing substantial resources, that your creation isn’t solving the problem it was meant to or hasn’t gained market traction.

Over the years, we’ve encountered numerous startups facing these issues, leading them to the brink of failure. Through our interventions, some were able to pivot in time, but not without incurring significant costs in terms of time, effort, and finances.

We will spotlight six major red flags indicative of a doomed MVP, we have derived from our experience. To help startups, we’ve included applicable questions to self-assess, and remedies to overcome these challenges.

The goal? To ensure that your startup thrives.

1. RUSHING STRAIGHT INTO DEVELOPMENT

The temptation of bringing a groundbreaking idea to life can be overwhelming. But it’s precisely this rush that leads many startups astray. Jumping headfirst into UX designs and coding without proper validation can be catastrophic. Equally concerning is when a startup ends up creating a replica of an existing product, one that’s significantly more advanced.

Understandably, market research, problem definition, and solution validation require substantial effort. They’re processes that can be expensive, taxing, and, at times, soul-crushing—especially when feedback demands a return to the drawing board. Yet, the harsh reality is that foregoing this step can lead to months, or even years, of wasted coding efforts, ultimately culminating in a product that fails its intended purpose. 

So, what’s the right approach? Before immersing oneself in coding, a startup should:

  1. Define clearly the problem they aim to solve.
  2. Validate the envisioned solution with potential users.
  3. Be receptive to feedback, even if it challenges the original idea.

Questions to Think Over:

  1. Have you unequivocally defined the problem you’re addressing?
  2. Is your solution directly aligned with this problem?
  3. Can you vouch that a significant user base acknowledges the problem and views your solution as a potential remedy?
  4. What price point are customers comfortable with for your product/service?
  5. Have you conducted a comprehensive market analysis?
  6. Is the market for your product saturated, fragmented, or consolidated?
  7. What strengths and weaknesses can you identify among competitors?
  8. How does your product stand out?

My Pro Tip:

Avoid perfectionism! During the development phase be careful not to over-engineer the solution, or to get carried away with coding while you ignore the other aspects of your startup. Try to release a lightweight MVP as soon as possible so you can leverage user feedback to make it better.

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