When you did your customer research you ended up with a list of features that your customers would want to buy your product. Your minimum viable product (MVP) is the smallest number of those features you can implement when you create your product but still get people to buy it.

When more than half of the respondents in your surveys or interviews mentioned a feature that was important to them then that is a good indication that should be a feature you should include in the first version of your product. If only a few people mentioned a feature, then you probably should not include it. Those are called “edge cases” or “outliers” and you must ignore those when you are getting your first product to market.

When you think about it that way with customer development you are learning just as much about what not to ship as you are what to ship.

By starting with an MVP, you can save a lot of time getting the first version of your product to the market. The quicker you have something to sell the sooner you will get revenue which is what makes your business a business!

The second reason for getting an MVP done as soon as possible is that the feedback you get from actual customers is far more insightful than the feedback you got from your preliminary customer research. With your preliminary customer research, everything was hypothetical but when somebody paid real money for a real product they are going to be able to pinpoint specific problems and give real suggestions. This real feedback will help you shape the second version of your product and help you sell many more units.

It is important that your MVP still be enough to address the core problem that your product or service is trying to solve. If your product is so basic that it fails to solve the problem, then nobody will end up buying it.

Starting a business involves a lot of risk and you make a certain amount of assumptions. Customer research is the first step in testing those assumptions but the real test is asking somebody for money in exchange for your product. By creating a MVP, you are able to do that earlier and you will end up much further ahead as compared to your peers who did not.