How often donors see huge sheets of estimates with high costs, millions of investments and long payback periods in applications for grants. There is no guarantee that donor’s money will be beneficial. Investors receive such bulky projects regularly. They have many beautiful figures, but it is not clear, where is the truth in them. The question arises: how to check with minimal cost whether such a product is required in the market and whether it is worth to invest serious money in it.
Your grant application can be very competitive if it has a description of the minimum viable product and its testing process. So, you show that you are aware of the risks and are ready to test the product before taking millions from the investor.
Minimum viable product
The minimum viable product (MVP) is the simplest prototype of your product without unnecessary functionality, without unnecessary packaging or design, but containing the basic functions of your unique commercial proposal. It can be a model, assembled by hands without starting mass production, even a scheme drawn on a napkin. MVP is very important to test with a focus group or in a real market. Many people think that MVP is a way to quickly start selling goods and make profit. This is not entirely true. It’s not about ASAP start of selling the goods in a truncated form harming the brand and the consumer’s perception of quality. The essence of MVP is the analysis of the market: can we sell this product in a big amount, do people need it, how do customers perceive it, how can we modify it to make better. The main idea of MVP is to create a prototype for sale or testing with minimal costs.
If you are going to create a product that already exists on the market, then you can take a competitors example as an MVP. In this situation, it would be nice to visit them, to conduct a survey of the the product’s audience, to make a test purchase. If you are going to launch an innovative project that has not been previously on the market, then you will have to create a minimally viable product yourself.
For example, let us speak about projects of schools with a large number of new-fangled programs and electives. Let us start by running one class in a rented room with a team of teachers partially recruited. So you can immediately check, if people need such a curriculum in such quantity that it is possible to cover the costs of creating a school? The same applies to mobile application. It makes sense to test them first with minimal functionality or with manual functionality. With a small number of initial users, this is quite realistic. Frequently added after that functions, by the way, can be paid by users.
Testing a business idea
At the MVP testing stage, your main goal is not to extract profits from sales, but to get maximum information, feedback from customers for the lowest price. Both polls and focus groups are suitable for this purpose, and today a new tool has appeared – crowdfunding platforms that allow attracting minimal funds even to a product that has not yet been created. Before launching the project, look through these sites and see which projects enjoy success there. Also a good idea for testing can be a creation of different versions or configurations of a product at different prices. This will allow you to see which product versions are popular and which are not.
Testing a minimum viable product is your magic wand in order to determine whether to invest money and energy in a project or not. So, your money will multiply and not disappear.