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The Ultimate Step-by-step guide to building a Lean MVP

Many failed start-ups began with great ideas. If the ideas were that great why did they fail? You may ask. One reason 90% of these startups fail is that they went head-on executing ideas without running a basic test. Unfortunately, great Ideas and pitching investors are good. But, not as important as verifying and validating the feasibility of what you have created in your head.

You need to ask:

· How do I know people need the solution?
 · How do I know if the solution is most appropriate for the problem I want to solve?

A minimum viable product would help you dip your toes in the water. It answers important questions that are crucial to the success of your startup. It addresses lurking uncertainties.

This article discusses everything you need to know about MVP. It covers the following:

  1. What does MVP mean?
  2. 4 features of an MVP development  test
  3. Goals of MVP
  4. Benefits of MVP
  5. How to build MVP
  6. Examples of MVP
  7. Mistakes to avoid when building an MVP
  8. MVP production cost

What does MVP mean?

MVP is the very basic form of your product or service. It involves putting out a product or feature for early buyers. This is done to test the product's performance for future product development. An MVP product development paves the way for developing an effective final product.

It is based on the lean start-up principle propounded by Ries.

According to Ries, "this principle isn't about being cheap but it's about being less wasteful and still doing things that are big". The old saying of "less is more" still holds.

Ries further emphasises the purpose of MVP thus, 

"It is the version of a new product that allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least amount of effort".

4 features of an MVP development test

A basic mockup of a product, services, or feature

A lean MVP that can be set up in weeks with limited functionality and very basic features. It has to be a minimum product as the name suggests but must give enough value.

Early customers

You need to find people that would need what you have put out. You need to find out if it can solve a problem, If it is on-demand, or if they've gotten any value from your product.

Customer feedback

Their feedback would give you insights into what needs to be done. You get to know if you should proceed or halt the process.


You need to improve on your solution and be flexible about changing original ideas. This means you have to continuously receive feedback and act on them as many times as possible.

So, let's say you already have an idea for a good mobile app. After finding out how to build a mobile app, it's important to, first of all, build a lean MVP mobile app before setting out to develop the finished product. This should be launched quickly. One fast way to build is through a no-code method.

Picture credit: Clever tap

Goals of MVP

An MVP for your start-up achieves the following goals.


MVP validates your business idea and confirms that people would pay to get the product when people pay to buy your MVP. It means that there is a ready market for you.

Test hypothesis about what is needed in the market

It ascertains that the solution you provide is the solution they need not what you think they need.

Guides you to know where to invest in the future development

You can now act on the feedback you get. This may involve adjusting a product design or making something completely different to cater to the customers' needs.

Determine product-market fit with real persons and real product

The easiest way to learn from customers is to do it with a product. Developing an MVP allows you to establish a product-market fit.

Benefits of MVP

  • It saves time energy and cost
building a lean MVP helps you invest in a project that would likely succeed.

  • Helps you collect validated learning and test demand
You get maximum feedback about the market demand.

  • Prevents startup failure
An MVP saves you the pain of investing and losing money.

Picture credit: clever road

How to build MVP

Here are the necessary steps to take to build an MVP.


You need to research your target audience and more specifically your ideal buyer. Find out what your competitors are doing and see what you can do differently. If you have to grow your business researching your market is a rule of thumb.

Decide on a design process with your users in mind.

 Design a convenient app or software as the case may be. Focus on providing a simple set of things that appeals to a small set of users.

Write down the features you want

This is to help you stay focused. Building an MVP doesn't require anything extraordinary. Prioritize your list and stick with the high-priority features.

Create a prototype

This should be a quality product with a minimum feature that can address buyers' pain points. It should be intuitive and convenient to use.

Build, Learn and measure

After developing a preliminary version, conduct a testing stage with your quality assurance team. You can then launch your MVP and begin to collect customer's feedback. Integrating the agile methodology will help you accumulate data and make the learn-build-measure cycle a frequentative process. Thankfully, the agile MVP development method can be used for both software and app designs.

Examples of MVP

MVP can come in various forms. It is not always a physical product It can be any of the following
  • An MVP software (involves software development)
  • An MVP app (involves developing an app)
  • landing page, a basic website or even a demo presentation that comes in a video format.

Here are a few real-life examples of lean startups that thrived from MVP development. 


They started with a very basic website with an “Air Bed and Breakfast” offer for just $80. Feedbacks were collected through face-to-face interactions with customers. They found out that people across varying demographics were more than willing to spend the night in a home that isn't a hotel. Today, Chesky and Gebbia are owners of a successful hospitality business.


Buffer is an app that helps you manage various social media accounts and helps you schedule your posts. But it started as a landing page which served as its MVP. At this time, the app was not ready. The owner sampled people's opinions about needing his services and outrightly asked them if they were willing to pay a certain amount for it. People dropped email addresses and even clicked on the paid option.


Dropbox is a file transfer service that started as a lean start-up. Its minimum viable product was a 3 minutes video explaining to early customers what dropbox could do. They got feedback and comments from the video demonstration which led to product development and a real launch. They were also able to capture an audience through a waiting list.

Mistakes to avoid when building an MVP

I have outlined the following mistakes to avoid when creating your MVP.

Don't build anything big

It is not a final product. keep it simple.

Don't waste time

Ideally, an MVP should be created in weeks not months. There are cases where MVPs were created in one week.

Do not build an unappealing product

Make sure your product is good enough to address at least a need of the buyer.

Make sure to have a feedback plan

Not having a plan on how to get feedback that provides you with the data you need will defeat the purpose of an MVP.

Do not have a rigid product vision

Remember that your original idea may not be the best for your user. “Don’t fall in love with your idea”, Micheal Seibel warns. Most times, finished products are different from the original vision your idea created.

MVP Production cost

The cost of creating an MVP depends on a lot of factors which includes who you choose to build for you, and how you go about finding a team of developers. Let's find out how much these options may cost.

In-house development team

This will involve a UX designer, quality assurance, and developer. If you are working on a slim budget, using an in-house team will cost you much more when you consider the overhead expense of operation. It is pegged at about $25,000. Here’s a breakdown.

  • Full-stack developer -$2,900
  • Ux -$3,600
  • QA (quality assurance) - $4,100
  • Project coordinator - $7,500
  • Total - $25,000

Freelancers will cost less but may be risky. It is better to opt for a local remote team of freelancers. It makes it easier to reach them physically if need be. An hourly rate starts from $10-$100 depending on the area you are sourcing them from(Asia vs North America). For one month of full-time work, you can expect the following cost.

Software developers -$6,160
Ux -$3,500
QA (quality assurance) - $2,850
Total - $12,500


Outsourcing to a US-based company that offers developmental service will cost $45,000-$65,000.
But an Indian firm might cost you less at $30 per hour. If you hire a team of four, you pay $120 for every hour.
In a month you might spend approximately $20,000.

Whatever you do it is important to set aside sufficient funds that would sustain the project from the start of the process till the end of it. Withholding resources can stifle the project that may affect the process adversely.

No-Code development - fastest and cheapest way

Now, here's the good news. WeLoveNocode offers the cheapest and fastest way to build an MVP using no-code tools. You also get a 7-day free trial. This gives you a chance to test our developers to see if they are a good fit for what you need. 

Have a look here:   Fast Design and NoCode Development For a Low, Flat Monthly Fee

Final Words

The importance of an MVP for a lean startup pre-launch cannot be overstated.
The successes of tomorrow begin with the right decisions we make right now. Ready to embark on getting an MVP already? You can book a consultation session with us if the process seems too overwhelming. We would be glad to help.