Speak to almost any entrepreneur and they will tell you their greatest idea for a mobile app, the one thats going to change the world. While their idea might indeed be a game changer in the mobile space, an idea alone isnt going to make the entrepreneur successful. No, its the execution of that idea that leads to success. And execution obviously isnt easy–if it were, then 50-70% of small businesses wouldn’t fail within their first 18 months. Theres one contributing factor common to all of these failures: Companies formed the design of their app around what the founders wanted, rather than focusing on what the market desired.
The problem always amounts to something like this: A company sets out with an initial vision of how the product should function, then makes assumptions of what product users themselves would want, and finally makes changes to initial designs based on those assumptions. This process happens for months, sometimes years, and the end result is a product that is out-of-line with what end-consumers want. The company thus spends considerable time and money building their “ideal” product, but few are willing to use it when it’s finally released to the world, because it doesn’t suit their needs.There is a solution to this madness for anyone looking to minimize their risk: Build an MVP, or Minimum Viable Product, and validate its assumptions. This avoids the headache of completely rebuilding the project from scratch at a later date by allowing users to test out the core functionality of a product without you entering development purgatory. Using an MVP, your development team can quickly cycle through the build, measure, learn feedback loop that is a core tenet of Lean Launch methodologies and pivotal to the success of many startups and businesses in recent years.At Interapt, we’ve applied this MVP philosophy to our own projects, even offering special tools for our clients to help expedite the development process and get their MVP out there. This provides clients the opportunity to quickly get something valuable to market that allows them to test out their assumptions and then make the appropriate changes to accommodate their users. It’s difficult for many entrepreneurs to practice patience when they have great ideas and want them all to reach the marketplace. But by taking this measured approach, our successful clients have found that when they focus on core features necessary for a release and simply iterate often, they have higher customer engagement and their business model is ultimately stronger because of the process.
So my challenge to you, holder of the world-changing mobile app idea waiting to be brought to life, is this: Think of your idea, and throw in every conceivable feature you could possibly want to make it better than your competitors. Taking that huge bundle of features, think to yourself: How can we boil that concept down to just a few key functions that would allow you to test your assumptions? When youve figured that out, youre on your way to a successful product launch.