How to Build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) in 5 Steps

  • Want to release a product to market as quickly as possible?
  • Need to test your idea with real users before developing a full-fledged solution?
  • Have a limited budget and want to attract customers in the early phase?
  • Want to take feedback from your customers in the early phase?
  • If yes, this blog is for you.

    Develop an MVP for your business to test your business concept with minimum costs and time. The MVP approach focuses on the core functionalities of the products and speeds up the release of your product.

    Being a leading MVP development service provider in the USA, we understand what it takes to build an MVP that drives results. So, we have drafted a blog for you to get a complete understanding of an MVP.

    Read this blog to learn about:

  • What is MVP application development?
  • What steps to follow for MVP app development?
  • How much time and cost does it take to develop an MVP?
  • What are the benefits of developing an MVP app for your business?
  • What is an MVP in App Development?

    Minimum viable product or an MVP is a product concept developed only with the core functionalities to attract early adopter customers. Then, later on, you keep enhancing the app features to provide better MVP app development services. We ensure to consider the feedback received from the app users to upgrade the features.

    For example: Zappos

    To test the business idea, the founder Nick Swinmurn, created a simple website under the domain of and identified the market viability of the product. He didn’t buy the items at first. Instead, he waited to see if someone would order the shoes from the webpage. Only then would buy the shoes, and send them to his customers. However, the idea turned out to be successful.

    Now let’s quickly discuss how you can build an MVP application. In the following section, we have shared a step-by-step mobile app development process that you can consider to build an MVP for your business.

    5 Steps to Develop a Successful MVP App for Your Business

    This MVP development process is a part of agile methodology. Agile is a software development framework which follows an incremental approach to software development. Therefore, considering these steps will help you identify and prioritize app features for your app so that you confidently deploy your MVP in the market.

    1. Understand Your Business Needs and Market Demands

      Being a startup owner or an entrepreneur, you must identify if there is actual demand for your product or not. For example, it could be for your own organization to streamline the work process, or you might want to bring your business online to boost revenue.

      Finding an app idea is not enough; you also need to analyze what your competitors are doing and how you can actually make an impact through your product. This will give you a better understanding of how your mobile app will help the end users and how you can succeed.

      Determine the Long-term Goals to Build an App

      If you see an opportunity for your product and determine its requirements in the market, then you need to set a long-term business goal to go ahead in scaling the application with more advanced features.

      • Determine what you are planning to achieve
      • Look for revenue-generating opportunities for your app
      • Plan how you can make a brand for your business

      Define the Success Criteria for Your Product

      After deciding the goals, you need to set some of the mobile app KPIs to define the success of your product. You need to track and analyze the results and determine whether the app is really performing well in the market or not.

      Looking to build an MVP on a budget? Let us help you!

      Space-O, a top US mobile app development company with 200+ experienced developers who have built over 4400 apps.

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    2. Map Out the User’s Journey

      When you develop an MVP app, you will have to constantly add new features to the app. It is essential that you think multiple times in mapping out the user journey. Keep the UI in your mind and understand how your target users will interact with your app.

      The best recommendation to make an app successful is to create an app UI that is simple and easy to navigate. Mapping out the user flow will help you plan how you can make it easy for the users, from beginning with opening the mobile apps to completing a successful task.

      Identify Your Users to Create a User Journey

      The simple way to identify your users is to find who would take an interest in your product or services. Or check your competitors to understand who is using their apps and try to collect information like demographics, gender, age limit, and interests.

      Identify the Actions of the Users

      The actions are something that a user will take to achieve a goal. So, you need to identify the ways in which a user can achieve their goals. However, most importantly, you will need to ensure that you are adding a lot of opportunities for you to increase the conversion rate.

      Identify the Story Endings

      Every user has a different story ending, so you need to ensure at which stage they might stop using the app. For instance, the buyer is only using the app to compare the prices of the dress or might really want to order it through your platform.

      Let’s understand this whole layout of mapping the user flow through the table below.

      Target UsersActionsStory Endings
      • Find a dress on the app
      • Add it to the cart
      • Fill in all the required details
      Make the payment and purchase the dress
    3. Create a Gain and Pain Map

      This is one of the essential stages that you can’t skip in mobile app development. In this stage, you will need to create a gain and pain map for each action that a user will take. This will help you identify how much effort your users are putting into taking action and what gain they achieve when each action is addressed.

      This will help you determine where you need to add value to the app through better features and functionalities. The best way to organize the gain and pain points is to create a chart. Have a look at what a pain and gain map should look like.

      Want to compare the prices of different dressesCompare products, add to the cart, and make a purchaseBuy one dress after a comparison
    4. Decide on the App Features

      An MVP is a continuous app development process where you test your business concept by integrating limited yet essential features which would be helpful for the early adopters. This stage is very crucial because you will need to decide on the features for your app along with the features which have lower priority.

      Here are some of the questions that you need to ask yourself before deciding on the features:

      • What do users want from my app?
      • What challenges are my users facing?
      • What solutions are my users looking for?

      Ensure that you only add limited features at one go. This is the actual purpose of developing an MVP, as you could try your ideas with limited resources, budget, and time. You can even hire dedicated app developers who have experience of developing MVP apps as per your business requirements. If you have no idea about hiring app developers, here is a complete blog on how to hire app developers for your business.

    5. Build, Launch, and Test Your MVP

      Up to these steps, you get to learn about your target user base and their pain and gain points and validate your app idea to lay the foundation for the MVP roadmap.

      Now, you need a reliable app development consulting company who can guide you to develop an MVP tailored to your business needs. Coordinate with the development team and focus on getting your MVP to market as soon as possible.

      Once you launch your MVP app on the app stores, it is essential that you collect user feedback from different demographics to understand their requirements better. Want to know the process of launching an app? Here’s a complete guide about how to launch an app on iOS and Android.

      Also, you will get to know where you need to improve your product and what is most liked by the app users.

      An MVP is a part of the continuous process where you build a product, launch it, and test it again until you completely build a full-fledged product.

    However, there could be different goals behind launching an MVP. Your requirements would also differ based on your mobile app idea. So, let’s understand how much you would need to invest in building an MVP.

    How Much Time Does It Take to Create an MVP App?

    The timeline it takes to build a minimum viable product is 1 – 3 months.

    Using the agile methodology, if we build an MVP, then let’s see how much it would take based on different app development stages.

    MVP App Development StageMVP App Development Timeline
    Business Analysis and Market Research1+ Week
    Business Plan Creation1+ Week
    MVP app Design2+ Week
    MVP Mobile App Development & Testing12+ Week
    Product Launch2+ Days

    Estimating an MVP app development timeline entirely depends on your requirements for the app, whether you are simply integrating one feature or more features. It also depends on the complexity of the app, the usage of the third-party APIs and plugins, and the UX/UI design.

    Now, let’s see how much it would cost you to build an MVP in the next section.

    How Much Does It Cost to Develop an MVP App?

    The average cost of developing an MVP is $15,000 – $50,000.

    The cost of app development range varies because several variable factors are involved in developing a minimum viable product. The most important factors include the following:

    • The scope of product design and development task
    • The technology stack that you use
    • Hourly charges of the developers
    • The usage of the third-party services
    • The features and functionalities you add to the app

    However, we will now check the MVP app development timeline based on different app types. Have a look at the following table.

    MVP App TypeMVP App Development Cost
    eCommerce App$20,000 – $23,000
    Travel App$25,000 – $30,000
    Diet & Nutrition App$18,000 – $23,000
    Dating App$15,000 – $18,000
    On-demand App$16,000 – $26,000
    Social Media App$24,000 – $30,000
    Real Estate App$20,000 – $25,000
    Weather App$12,000 – $15,000

    In fact, we have also experience building such MVP apps for clients worldwide, be it on-demand, dating, or weather apps. Look at the following weather app we developed for a client, which more than 150K users downloaded in just a year after the launch.


    Weather Radar Live

    Weather Radar Live App offers real-time animated weather radar images on a highly interactive terrain and satellite map.

    If you are interested in how to build an MVP leveraging some of the best techniques, then you need to look at the following section for this.

    Which are the Top MVP Development Techniques?

    In this section, we are basically going to discuss the practices that you can consider for building a successful MVP. Let’s start discussing the MVP app development techniques.

    • Conduct market research to identify your target audience
    • Identify the estimated MVP app development timeline and cost before starting the project to avoid negotiations later on
    • Keep track of users’ demands and identify the more valuable features based on it
    • Leverage the current trends in your MVP, but try to keep things simple as much as possible
    • Market your app amongst your potential customers to boost sales

    Considering all the points will help you build a solution that will give you the expected and the best results. Now, let’s check the advantages of building an MVP.

    5 Benefits of Building Minimum Viable Product

    MVP brings a lot of benefits along with it. Therefore, it is the widely opted app development process amongst startups and mid-size businesses. Let’s have a look at the benefits.

    1. With an MVP, you will be able to focus on the core functionalities of the app and will get to what is working and what is not
    2. You have a clear vision with an MVP and get to understand more about the user requirements and market demands
    3. You are able to interact early with the customers and deliver the expected results in the minimum time
    4. A minimum viable product lets you quickly release your product into the market with minimum effort and costs
    5. The best thing about an MVP is that you have minimum risks and stress about failing your product, as an MVP is all about trying and testing new business concepts

    We just discussed the benefits of creating a minimum viable product for an app, but now we are going to discuss one more important topic, and that is the scenarios when developing an MVP is worth real.

    When is MVP Worth It?

    You probably had this question in mind while thinking of an MVP plan for a product. So, to cut to the chase, we have come up with some of the points that will help you find some of the best scenarios when it is worth building an MVP.

    When you:

    • Want to quickly launch your idea in the market with minimum resources and effort
    • Want to test your business concepts and ideas to identify what will work in your favor and what not
    • Want to develop a monetization strategy for your product so that you reap maximum benefits
    • Are not sure of any particular feature and want to test it in the market and want to enhance the quality of the app

    Now, we will check the apps which were once MVPs. This will help you understand how you can take the first step to building a successful, robust, and full-fledged application.

    Examples of Companies Who Choose MVP App Development

    We will discuss the companies that were once MVPs and see their transformation journey and how they have become a giant now with the right MVP planning. Let’s explore how developing an MVP helped them in their journey to become successful mobile apps in the market.

    AppUse CaseReviews (Play Store)
    Dropbox logo


    You will be shocked to learn that Dropbox has never launched a physical product before. However, they started out as a demo video MVP to make users aware of the importance of the benefits of storing data in one place. Later, Dropbox got positive responses from the users and actually believed in their idea to launch a successful product in the market. As a result, it acquired more than 1 million users in just 7 months.4.3

    2.2M Reviews
    Foursquare logo


    Foursquare was launched with only one feature that let people check in at various locations in order to gain points and badges. However, this app really got famous amongst the users, and then, Foursquare also enhanced its features and has now become a full city guide app for travelers.4.1

    488K Reviews
    Airbnb logo


    The Airbnb app started as an MVP when its founders realized the challenges of booking hotels in San Francisco. They turned this challenge into an opportunity and started by setting up mattresses in their small room to earn money. Soon, the founders realized the worth of their idea, and now Airbnb is estimated at USD 5.99 billion.4.5

    1.37M Reviews
    facebook icon


    Facebook is a popular social media application that also started as a basic MVP, known as Thefacebook, that used to connect the students of Harvard. The profiles used to have limited information. However, this idea boomed and proved enough to enhance the app with more app functionalities. Now, it is used by more than 2.93 billion users as of 2022.3.1

    130M Reviews
    Amazon logo


    Amazon needs no introduction as it is one of the biggest eCommerce leaders in the market. However, very few know that it started as an online bookstore in the 90s. Looking at the bigger picture, Jeff Bezos realized the worth of this opportunity and built an eCommerce solution to sell almost everything through this platform.4.5

    3.24M Reviews

    We are also going to discuss some of the frequently asked questions in the next section. So have a look at all the questions one by one.

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    FAQ About MVP App Development

    How to measure the viability of a product

    To measure the viability of the product, you need to keep these 3 things in your mind:

    Market Size: Check for enough space to accommodate new sellers in the market and the room for growth.

    Target Audience: Find out whether the potential customers have a discretionary income or not.

    Competition: Don’t forget to look for your competitors, as you will need to look up to their strategies, strengths, and weaknesses to make your product stand out in the market.

    What is the difference between a prototype and an MVP?

    A prototype only evaluates the shape of your mobile app idea and helps you understand the look and feel of the app. On the other hand, an MVP is a fully functional mobile app with essential features that let you test your business vision with the collection of initial user feedback.

    What makes a good MVP?

    You only make a good MVP when you know that your product has the capability to solve at least one specific problem faced by the intended users. Then, you know that you have just stepped into building a successful product that improves the way to solve users’ problems.

    Develop an MVP App for Your Business

    We hope that this step by step guide has helped you understand the different steps of MVP product development along with the estimated timeline and cost to build an MVP. In addition, you have checked how top giants were MVPs earlier to get some inspiration.

    Now you know how an MVP can help your business, it will be easy for you to validate your ideas and test them on the market with the MVP development process. In case you need any help or are looking for a reliable mobile app development company, get in touch with Space-O.

    Bhaval Patel

    Written by

    Bhaval Patel is a Director (Operations) at Space-O Technologies. He has 20+ years of experience helping startups and enterprises with custom software solutions to drive maximum results. Under his leadership, Space-O has won the 8th GESIA annual award for being the best mobile app development company. So far, he has validated more than 300 app ideas and successfully delivered 100 custom solutions using the technologies, such as Swift, Kotlin, React Native, Flutter, PHP, RoR, IoT, AI, NFC, AR/VR, Blockchain, NFT, and more.