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 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?

A login form says nothing about your ability to solve the core problem. With MVPs, it’s important to focus exclusively on the most valuable features and your riskiest assumptions.

For a social media recruiting solution, for example, this may mean creating a job post, sharing a posting online and analyzing the results. The scope of the MVP should be no more than the two or three core features that will 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 it simple.

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 MVP.
  • 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 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.”

⚡⚡ Enjoyed this content? I go into way more detail on this subject in Lean B2B. It covers the ins and outs of finding traction in the market for B2B products. Check it out »


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