An MVP is created to validate a startup business idea within the target market. An MVP is the most minimal, yet viable version of a product that can be worked into a complete version through updates and development.
But an MVP doesn’t always work out the way it’s intended, and the reason behind it can be quite a few things. In fact, one-third of the MVPs out there fail. We rounded up the most crucial 15 of them so that you can avoid these mistakes when you’re creating your own.
Reason #1: The Product Didn’t Have A Target Market Niche
Even when you create a product that you believe will succeed for sure, there is a high chance of it failing if the target market is already occupied with similar products like yours.
When other companies are already occupying the marketspace with products that are solving people’s problems, your product simply becomes one of many options, instead of a definite choice that’ll benefit people.
The main reason why this can be a problem is if the market is monopolized. There are a few organizations that create a monopoly in the target market industry, making it a lot harder for new products to enter the market and do proper business.
Reason #2: The Product Strategy Wasn’t Good Enough
Every product requires a well-developed strategy to be developed and published. Even great products can fail if it doesn’t have a good development and marketing strategy. You have to consider why you’re doing it, and how you’ll do it before you start doing so.
If you’re struggling to figure out what your product strategy will be, try asking yourself these questions, and develop your strategy around the answers:
- Is the problem that you’re trying to solve pressing the market?
- Is the market solving the problem now?
- How is the market solving the current issue?
- If there are already other solutions, what makes your solution unique from others?
If your strategy isn’t built around these questions, there is a high chance that your product will fail.
Reason #3: The Product Tried Solving A Problem That Doesn’t Exist
It also means that the product wasn’t necessary on the market at the moment. But how do you determine if your MVP is needed on the market? It’s time for more questions!
- Is your product necessary for anybody?
- Are there people willing to pay for your product?
- Have you identified a market for your product?
Of course, the answers will determine if your product is needed. But to make it more simple, let’s put it this way: If you create a product for solving a problem that isn’t there, you’re only spending more than you’ll ever get back, and that counts as an MVP fail.
Reason #4: The Product Didn’t Identify The Right Problem
Sometimes an MVP may fail because it tried to solve a problem that is entirely different from the one that is currently present within the target user base.
If a product isn’t solving the right problem, the user base will not be interested in that product. It’s obvious, but many products in the market suffer from the same problem, even to this day.
Unless you define the exact issue you are going to solve beforehand, there is a higher chance for the MVP to fail.
Reason #5: The Number Of Features Was Overwhelming
As the name suggests, a Minimum Viable Product should be viable within the bare minimum functionalities. Meaning, it should have just enough features that can function to validate your idea, along with calculating the feasibility of the said idea.
If you’re trying to squeeze in too many features at once, there is a high chance that the product will fail. When you have too many features in an early version, none of the features get enough time to be fully developed and tested.
That way, none of the functions work right, and users lose interest in your product. Also, a lot of features can overwhelm users since it’ll take a lot more time for the users to find the feature they are looking for.
Reason #6: There Were Not Enough Features
Though it can seem contradictory to the last one, this is also a real issue. Some products fail because they had too many features, and others fail because they didn’t have enough.
There are a few myths about MVP that are present throughout the industry, and one of them is: An MVP doesn’t have any real use case so it doesn’t need any workable features. But this is wrong.
An MVP, no matter how minimal, should have key features that will solve at least one core pain point of the customer base. If your product isn’t offering any solution to a problem people are facing, why would people be interested in your product?
Reason #7: The Product Couldn’t Differentiate Between Features And Benefits
A feature is what you’re offering the customers through your product. A benefit is what the user is getting through what you’re offering. But more features don’t necessarily translate into more benefits.
A feature, if well implemented, can provide more benefits compared to another app that has multiple poorly implemented features.
Many MVP developers think “if there are more features, it’ll help the users more”. This takes us back to one of our previous points made, that too many features can even kill your MVP.
It’s about finding the sweet spot of balance where you’re providing minimal features but said feature is providing the users/ customers with better benefits.
What’s In It For Me (WIIFM)?
This concept is s important that it demands attention. This is the question the customers will ask before getting their hands on any product, and it’s something you should consider too.
The customer will always think about the benefits the product can offer them. You, as a software owner, have to provide said benefit through your software. Only then, you connect to your users and your product becomes a success.
If you don’t have a specific idea about what benefits you can offer to the users, always look for what they want first, then determine what you’ll offer them. So when they ask “what’s in it for me?”, you can give your potential user base a definite answer.
Reason #8: The Product Failed To Meet User Expectations In A Unique Manner
If you have an idea on your mind, chances are that someone else has already implemented that idea in one way or another. So, how do you get eyes on your MVP, when there’s more of the same?
You need to offer something different, something unique to stand out from the crowd. But sometimes, your target market doesn’t have any scope for you to reinvent the wheel. Then, you have to present your solution uniquely or solve the issue in a way others are not.
When you are uniquely offering something or doing something that others are not, that is your Unique Value Proposition (UVP).
Many products fail because they fail to offer something unique, or present something that already exists in a unique manner.
Reason #9: The Product Skipped the Prototyping Phase
Many product idea owners get overconfident about their product and start developing the product right away, rather than creating a prototype of it first. This is a great mistake that can lead to MVP failure.
A prototype is a version of the application with no functionality, presenting the application’s core idea in various high-fidelity and low-fidelity forms.
- You can refine your idea using a prototype and gathering user feedback
- It can facilitate your development process
- It can help you prove that your idea is viable enough for funding
When you skip prototyping, your development process focuses on features without validating them with the audience first, and the result is an app that the audience most certainly will not like.
When you offer something people don’t want, it put people off of your MVP, failing in the process. If you want to publish an MVP that understands its users, never skip the prototyping phase.
Thus it’s a wise move to refine your proof of concept before going all out of MVP.
Reason #10: The Technical Implementation Of The Features Were Poor
Have you ever tried using buggy software, or played a video game that had so many bugs that put you off of the thing entirely? The same goes for the product you are offering to people.
It doesn’t matter how many features an MVP has. If the features are buggy and don’t function properly, it creates an unpleasant user experience. People don’t like a product that doesn’t solve their problems, and it causes the MVP to fail fast.
When developing the product, always include a certain timeframe for testing bugs in all the features that have been implemented.
Reason #11: There Was Not Enough Market Research Backing It Up
Market research is the most important part of any MVP development process. When you’re creating a product, it has to be for a certain demographic whose problems you are trying to solve. There’s no surefire way of knowing the extent of your users without proper target market research.
Many startups fail because they didn’t know which market they were going for, and created a product without learning about customers and their demands. As a result, the product didn’t have any clear vision, and it failed.
Never assume what your users want from you. Always take the feedback from users into consideration, then reiterate the product along the way as needed.
Reason #12: There Was No Marketing For The Product
It’s simple: how will people use your MVP if they don’t know it exists, to begin with?
If you don’t market through the right channels, you will never get people’s attention toward what you are offering. So when you’re releasing your MVP, let your potential customers know through social media or other appropriate marketing channels.
Many startups failed just because they didn’t market the product, and no one used it, causing it to fail. Don’t join that crowd; market your product the right way, even when it’s minimal.
Reason #13: The Marketing Targeted The Wrong Audience
Marketing can do you MVP a lot of good, but only when the marketing is done right. Meaning, you are marketing your MVP to the people who need its services.
MVPs can fail when they are catering to an audience that doesn’t need their services. This happens when the MVP builders don’t have the right idea about who their target audience is, and who they are trying to reach.
Before you start a marketing campaign, you need to look back on your market research data so you know who to reach, and then figure out how to reach them.
Reason #14: The Development Process Didn’t Take User Feedback Into Account
We may sound like a broken record but this point cannot be stressed enough: user feedback is the most valuable asset when you build your minimal digital product.
If an MVP development doesn’t collect real user feedback and implement it into the development cycle, the users don’t find the product very appealing. Users like to be validated, and it’s your job to do so.
To validate your users and value their opinions, you must incorporate user feedback in your development methodology. Keep going back to the drawing board till you give people what they want, not what you “think” they want.
Reason #15: The Development Team Wasn’t Competent Enough
An MVP is like a work of art. Though art cannot be perfected, MVP requires a lot of work in the long run to become a successful startup. But here’s the thing: first impression is really important, and creating an app that will offer the best first scenario can be considered an art.
The developers behind an MVP are the true masterminds who create this amazing first impression. But sometimes, despite your best attempts, you might end up with a team who don’t have the necessary skills to give your idea the shape that will resonate with the user base, making it a successful product.
And it’s obvious that if an MVP isn’t offering what people want or like, it will fail. Many great ideas fail just because the people executing the idea were not competent enough, and the same can happen to your MVP as well.
To Wrap It All Up
Before we wrap up, let’s take a look at the reasons why MVPs have failed in the past once again:
- The Product Didn’t Have A Target Market Niche
- The Product Strategy Wasn’t Good Enough
- The Product Tried Solving That Doesn’t Exist
- The Product Didn’t Identify The Right Problem
- The Number of Features Was Overwhelming
- There Were Not Enough Features
- The Product Couldn’t Differentiate Between Features And Benefits
- The Product Failed To Meet User Expectations In A Unique Manner
- The Product Skipped The Prototyping Phase
- The Technical Implementation of The Features Was Poor
- There Was Not Enough Market Research Backing It Up
- There Was No Marketing For The Product
- The Marketing Targeted The Wrong Audience
- The Development Process Didn’t Take User Feedback Into Account
- The Development Team Wasn’t Competent Enough
Do you want to create your MVP, while avoiding all the possible reasons your MVP might fail? Come talk to us at Impala InTech, where we can ensure you a stable MVP development process with all the right boxes marked for success.
The market is constantly changing, and so are the demands of the users of the said market. If an MVP cannot be scaled to handle the change and growth, the MVP results in failure.
Without market research, there is no way to know if the developed product will achieve product-market fit or not. Without it, an MVP is doomed to fail.
User feedback can help product owners and developers understand the user persona better, and improve their products accordingly. If a product development team ignores user feedback, the customers don’t get validated, and the final product isn’t something the customers will want or like.
If an MVP has no clear value proposition, the market isn’t sure what the product will offer. As a result, they end up skipping the product altogether, and the product fails.
The core idea of an MVP is to solve an issue within the target market. If the app is trying to solve an issue that doesn’t exist or is already being solved, the product’s existence is meaningless.