How to build a free MVP?

November 24, 2023


When it comes to building a minimum viable product (MVP) for your startup or new project, you don't need to break the bank. In fact, there are plenty of ways to build an MVP for free or at a minimal cost. In this article, we will explore the steps to building a free MVP, from choosing and prioritising features to releasing it to the public. Let's get started!

Choosing & prioritizing features

Before you dive into building your Minimum Viable Product (MVP), it's important to carefully consider and select the right features to include. This crucial step will lay the foundation for the success of your product. So, let's explore the process of choosing and prioritising features in more detail.

First and foremost, start by brainstorming all the features you believe your product should have. This brainstorming session allows you to unleash your creativity and envision the possibilities for your product. Think about the problems your product aims to solve and the value it intends to provide to its users.

Once you have a comprehensive list of potential features, it's time to prioritise them. Consider the importance and impact of each feature on the overall user experience. Remember, an MVP is all about delivering the core functionality and value of your product. Therefore, it's crucial to focus on the features that align with this primary goal.

During the prioritisation process, you may want to consider various factors. For example, you can assess the potential market demand for each feature, the level of complexity involved in implementing them, and the resources available to you. By carefully evaluating these factors, you can make informed decisions about which features to prioritise.

Breaking down each feature into smaller tasks or user stories is another valuable step in the process. This approach allows you to gain a deeper understanding of the scope of each feature and estimate the time and effort required to implement them. By breaking it down, you can also identify any dependencies between features and plan accordingly.

Furthermore, when breaking down features into smaller tasks, consider the user's perspective. Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience and think about how they would interact with your product. This user-centric approach will help you ensure that the features you select align with the needs and expectations of your users.

Additionally, it's worth mentioning that involving your team or stakeholders in the feature selection and prioritisation process can bring valuable insights and perspectives. Collaborative decision-making ensures that different viewpoints are considered, leading to a more well-rounded and informed feature selection.

In conclusion, choosing and prioritising features for your MVP is a crucial step in the product development journey. By brainstorming, prioritising, and breaking down features into smaller tasks, you can lay a solid foundation for your product's success. Remember to keep the core functionality and value of your product in mind while making these decisions. So, let's get started and create an MVP that will captivate your target audience!

Choosing an MVP Platform

Now that you have a clear idea of the features you want to include in your Minimum Viable Product (MVP), it's time to choose a platform to build it on. This decision can greatly impact the development process and the success of your product. Fortunately, there are plenty of options available that can help you quickly develop and deploy your MVP.

One option to consider is using no-code or low-code platforms. These platforms provide pre-built templates and modules for common functionality, allowing you to easily create your MVP without writing a single line of code. The drag-and-drop interfaces offered by these platforms make it particularly user-friendly for non-technical founders or entrepreneurs who may not have extensive coding experience. By leveraging these platforms, you can save time and resources while still creating a functional and visually appealing MVP.

However, if you have some technical skills or a development team at your disposal, you may want to explore open-source solutions. Open-source platforms provide the flexibility to customize and scale your MVP as needed. Our suggestion is to opt-in for a popular, well maintained tech stack, specifically using Javascript. It's not as hard to find strong Javascript developers, as it might be with Ruby on Rails, C#, or others.
In most cases, we'd advise going for NodeJS on the backend, ReactJS on the frontend, and Typescript on both. For your database, either PostgreSQL or MongoDB should do the job. Hosting will depend on your needs, though Vercel or should be sufficient in most cases.

Ultimately, the choice of platform for your MVP will depend on various factors, including your technical expertise, budget, and specific project requirements. It's important to carefully evaluate each option and consider how well it aligns with your goals and vision for your MVP. By selecting the right platform, you can set a solid foundation for your product's success and ensure a smooth development process.

Testing and optimising based on feedback

Once you have built your Minimum Viable Product (MVP), it's crucial to gather feedback from your target users. This will help you identify any issues, usability problems, or missing features that need to be addressed before releasing the product to the public.

Consider setting up a feedback loop with your users, such as surveys, interviews, or usability testing sessions. Actively listen to their feedback and make updates or improvements based on their suggestions. Keep in mind that an MVP is an iterative process, so don't be afraid to make changes and pivot based on user feedback.

Surveys can be a valuable tool for gathering feedback from a large number of users. You can create online surveys using platforms like SurveyMonkey or Google Forms. Make sure to ask specific questions about the user experience, functionality, and any pain points they encountered while using your MVP. Analysing the survey responses will provide you with valuable insights into what is working well and what needs improvement.

Another effective way to gather feedback is through interviews. By conducting one-on-one interviews with your target users, you can gain a deeper understanding of their needs, preferences, and pain points. Prepare a set of open-ended questions to encourage users to share their thoughts and experiences. These interviews can help you uncover valuable insights that may not have been captured through surveys.

In addition to surveys and interviews, usability testing sessions can provide valuable feedback on the user experience of your MVP. During these sessions, observe how users interact with your product and take note of any difficulties they encounter. Usability testing can be done in person or remotely, depending on your resources and target audience. By watching users navigate through your MVP, you can identify areas that need improvement and make necessary adjustments.

Remember, the feedback you receive from your users is invaluable. It allows you to refine your MVP and ensure that it meets the needs and expectations of your target audience. Actively seek out feedback, listen to your users, and be open to making changes based on their suggestions. This iterative process will help you create a better product and increase the chances of success when you release it to the public.

Releasing Your MVP to the Public

Once you have iterated and refined your MVP based on user feedback, it's time to release it to the public. Start by creating a landing page or website where you can showcase your product and capture leads or early adopters.

Consider using free or low-cost marketing strategies such as content marketing, social media, or targeted advertising to reach your target audience. Leverage your network and industry communities to spread the word about your MVP and generate initial interest and traction.

Don't forget to monitor and analyse user data and behaviour once your MVP is live. This will help you identify areas for further optimisation and validate the product-market fit before investing more resources into scaling your product.

Next steps (beyond the MVP)

Once you have successfully launched your MVP, it's important to plan for the next steps. Evaluate the feedback and data gathered during the MVP phase to identify the most valuable and requested features. Prioritise these features based on their impact and start planning your product roadmap.

Consider seeking funding or investment to fuel the growth and scalability of your product. Look for potential partnerships or collaborations that can help you accelerate the development and adoption of your product. Continuously gather user feedback and iterate on your product to ensure it evolves to meet the needs and demands of your target audience.

Building a free MVP is an exciting journey that allows you to test your idea, validate your assumptions, and gather valuable feedback from users. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can minimise costs and maximise your chances of building a successful product without breaking the bank.

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