How To Build MVP: Step-by-Step Guide - Startup with MVP Characteristics
Product Design
May 2, 2023
3 mins read

What is Minimum Viable Product or MVP?

A Minimum Viable Product or MVP is a product with minimal features which are enough to be used by early users to solve their key problems and get their feedback on how to improve the product. The goal is to launch a product quickly, get feedback, and iterate. Instead of conducting extensive user research by doing hundreds of surveys, it is cost-effective and time-saving for startup founders to directly test the product on users.  

How to Build MVP Infographics

The goals of the founders can be divided as follows:

1. Launch MVP quickly.

2. Invite early customers.

3. Test on customers and get feedback.

4. Iterate to improve the product.

But in this process, founders begin to question-

Will I lose customers if I launch MVP?

After all, all founders aspire to build the best products and they fear that MVP can cause customers to not like the product and never come back. But founders forget that people talking to startups are habitual to using such products and they are open to using new software to solve their problems. Customers who would run away are not early adopters and won't use the product in the first place.

Besides, by around 5th iteration, the MVP would be very different. When users see the product evolve, they would get more excited to use the product. Every product has gone through many iterations, take the iPhone for example. One couldn't take videos with the first iPhone and the early iPhone had 2G internet. What most people remember now as iPhone is the 3rd or 4th iteration of it.

The Software MVP has three common characteristics:

1. It is very fast to build (It takes only weeks, not months).

2. It has very limited functionality.

3. It appeals to a small set of users.

Apart from the iPhone, many famous websites were once MVPs and are now dominating the market. For example, the MVP of Airbnb had these shortcomings:

1. There was no option for payments.

2. There was no map view.

3. There was a must for an airbed.

4. It worked merely for conferences.

MVP of Airbnb - Air & Bed Breakfast

(Source: AirBed&Breakfast)

The MVP of Twitch started as and it was as follows:

1. It had only 1 channel.

2. It had low-resolution videos.

3. It did not include video games.

4. It had extremely expensive streaming costs.

The MVP of Twitch started as


Similarly, Stripe had very few features and the founders were doing paperwork in the background. Yet, YC startups used Stripe to accept simple credit card payments.

MVP of online dev/payments

(Source: dev/payments)

So who are these early adopters who want to go through this experience?

These early adopters are customers who are desperate to get their problems solved. For example, if you throw a sheet of plastic at a drowning person, they will use it to pull themselves out of the water. The MVP is the sheet of plastic that will be built into an inflatable float after multiple iterations from the feedback of the desperate customer. .

Should initial user research like surveys never be conducted then?

Customers are experts in their problems but they don't have all the answers to solve the problem. That's the job of the startup. Surveys can be conducted to understand the pain points of customers, but they aren't the most helpful to know how to solve their problems. The only way is to test the product on the users. This is not only for startups but for larger companies as their products can never be perfect.

How to build an MVP quickly?

1. Set a specific deadline: The deadline has to be short such as 2 weeks or a month.

2. Write down all your features for the MVP

3. Cut down on the features: Ask yourself, "Does a truly desperate customer need that feature to get started?"

4. Don't get attached to the MVP: MVP is going to change with every iteration to make the product better.


To conclude, startup founders should stop worrying about beginning with all the answers to solve the problems of the users. It is a process of continuous learning by gathering feedback and iterating. By building a Minimum Viable Product or MVP, startup founders can test their product ideas without the risk of investing significant time and money. Ultimately, this strategy can lead to a successful product launch and business.

Ready to turn your idea into reality? Let's build an MVP together and get feedback from early adopters - Contact us now!

Read More:

Understanding the Psychology of UX Design

The Role of Branding in Startups: Why Design Matters For Your Startup

Building Alien and helping startups and enterprises with Branding, Websites, Mobile & Web Apps. Alien crew deployed 20+ Projects across industries in the last two and half years: - Banking - Financal services - Ecommerce - Healthcare - Edutech - Enterprise softwares

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What is MVP principle?

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MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product. It is a product development strategy that focuses on creating a basic version of a product with minimum features, designed to quickly validate assumptions and gather user feedback.

How does MVP help startups?

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Minimum Viable Product (MVP) helps startups by allowing them to quickly validate their ideas, gather feedback from early adopters, and minimize development costs, enabling them to iterate and refine their product based on real user insights.

What is the advantage of MVP?

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The advantage of an MVP is that it allows you to quickly validate your product idea, gather feedback from users, and make iterative improvements based on real-world usage, reducing the risk of developing a product that doesn't meet user needs or market demand.

How do you determine the features to include in an MVP?

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The features included in an MVP should be those that are essential to demonstrate the core value proposition of the product and address the primary pain points of the target users. User research and market analysis play a crucial role in identifying these key features.

How do you prioritize features for an MVP?

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Prioritizing features for an MVP should be based on the impact they have on solving the user's problem and delivering value. The prioritization can be done through techniques like user feedback, user story mapping, or utilizing frameworks such as the MoSCoW method (Must have, Should have, Could have, Won't have).