Entrepreneurship, CTO Insights

Misconceptions we’ve seen when building MVPs

December 11, 2020

At Atom CTO we build MVPs (Minimum Viable Product). We’ve been doing it for years either as CTOs of our own businesses or on behalf of our clients. We thought we would share with you some of the common pitfalls we’ve seen companies stumble into when trying to build a MVP.

1 – Not knowing the point of the MVP

When is a MVP not a MVP? When you try to build everything you’ve ever wanted in your dream product all at the same time. It is perfectly fine to build out a fully fledged product if that is what you want. If you know your market well and you feel that your idea will take off once the product is launched without any changes then go ahead, build it. What we tell new businesses is that if you think your new business is going to remain the same over the first year of its existence, think again. Don’t invest too much in tech upfront, put something out to market and the client base you think you are trying to reach and test it out. You’ll get feedback and potential clients will want different things. Save some money so that you can respond to the market and when you do respond, don’t try to be all things to all people. Try to stay focused on your key goals and what you want to bring to the market.

2 – Unrealistic timescales and budget

Someone else’s story is not your story. You may hear that people have managed to bootstrap their business for pennies and got to market lightning fast. They may well have done, but they probably didn’t tell you about all the work they did upfront to refine what they wanted and how they were going to get to market. Tech takes time to build and it costs money. It doesn’t have to cost huge amounts and take forever, so the key to ensuring that you minimize costs and time is to know exactly what you want and the minimum you need to bring it to market to start getting feedback or sales. Tech involves people and unfortunately the world is not full of people waiting to work on your idea. You’ll need to factor in the lead time to draw up contracts, find the right people, tell them what you need, set up the infrastructure, test the system etc. Oftentimes the reason tech builds take longer is because there are dependencies on others – designers, lawyers, 3rd party integrations and it is these dependencies that can break budgets and timelines

3 – An app is not a business

For many clients coming to us the MVP is their first step to building a business and generating sales. They want to build the minimum they need to generate their first few orders. That’s great but sales means customers which means support and here at Atom CTO we strongly emphasise that an app is not a business. You are trying to build a business so as part of the process of building the MVP you need to think about how you are going to operate the business support the product you are putting out there. You many need to allocate some of the MVP budget on non-app spend i.e. tech to help you manage customers, manage sales, manage bugs. Don’t forget that once something is built, it needs to be supported and you should factor that in when looking to build your MVP

These are just a taste of some of the things we’ve come across when building MVPs and our aim here is to prompt your thinking when you’re looking to build a new product or service.

If you’d like to learn more about Atom CTO then feel free to reach out to us and book a free consultation.