The Dos and Don’ts of Minimum Viable Products for B2B Startups

If you add a great user experience to a product no one wants, they will just realize faster that they don’t want it.Eric Ries, The Lean Startup Author

There are three parts to a valuable Minimum Viable Product (MVP):

  1. The experiment – What are you trying to learn with this particular B2B MVP?
  2. The data – What data are you collecting about your experiment?
  3. The failure criteria – What determines the success or failure of the experiment?

The Focus of a Lean MVP

A login form says nothing about your ability to solve the core business problem.

With minimum viable products, it’s important to focus exclusively on the most valuable features, and your riskiest assumptions.

For a social media recruiting solution – a minimum viable product example – this may mean creating a job post, sharing a posting, and analyzing the results. The scope of the lean MVP should be no more than the two or three core features to solve the customer pain.

You might have to re-do everything after the first few customer interactions. For that reason, it’s best to keep your minimum viable product as simple as possible.

Minimum Viable Product Guidelines

Here are a few additional tips and pointers for putting together an MVP:

  • DO use real-looking data. Using dummy data (e.g. lorem ipsum) will raise unnecessary suspicions and cause prospects to question your minimum viable product.
  • DO build the product in a repeatable way; don’t over-customize. Launching a startup as a consultancy has its risks. It’s easy to get trapped in B2B consulting.
  • DO support your solution narrative. A good story helps prospects understand the use cases and expected value.
  • DON’T get carried away with your mockups or prototype. If you try to make your product perfect before you engage prospects, you’ll run out of time.
  • DON’T make your MVP funny. Keep your jokes for face-to-face meetings. It will be less of a distraction.
  • DON’T be too proud. Say: “Remember, this is just a prototype to show you how it works. The finished product will be much more polished and have many more features.”

B2B Minimum Viable Product Example

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