A minimum viable product (MVP) is a version of a product that has just enough core features to allow a company to begin the sales process and gather insights from early adopters on what types of adjustments they should make for future models. This process can help you determine whether your new product serves a purpose and fulfills a customer need.

Some of today's most popular products started out as a MVP. A classic example is the Apple 1, which was the first computer Apple released. This 1976 model was simply a circuit board and did not have a case, monitor or keyboard.

Here are five steps you should take to develop a MVP for your business:

Step 1: Define How Your Product Solves a Specific Problem

The first step in developing your minimum viable product is to determine how it will add value to your customers' lives. By having this discussion with your team early on in the process, you can ensure that you don't waste valuable time and resources on a product that may not serve a purpose.

Step 2: Test Your Hypotheses

As The Next Web reports, there are various ways to test whether your MVP will have a positive market impact. For instance, you can interview your customers to see if your new product idea is something that would be of interest to them. During these conversations, provide your audience with specific details regarding how your MVP has the potential to solve the problem you identified in Step 1. These types of discussions will allow you to gather valuable data that will help you build improved versions of your product in the future.

Step 3: Outline Your Process

At this point, you must develop a plan for how you will deliver your product to customers. You can do so by mapping out a process flow chart that defines each activity from start to finish. This illustration will give you a comprehensive but streamlined look at your offerings to help you better explain your product to the prospective market.

Step 4: Create a List That Outlines All the Required Features

Next, you should compile a list of all the features that will be essential to the product development process. In other words, you should not include any unnecessary or nice-to-have features.

Step 5: Build Your MVP

After you have done the relevant research, you should be ready to put your plan into action.

Once your MVP hits the market, you'll be able to determine whether it warrants further investment. Any and all feedback that you receive from customers will allow you to make product iterations that may prove to be successful down the road. Be sure to check with your legal counsel to protect any novel ideas and help ensure you can own, use and protect any feedback you may receive.

Tags: Product Line operations market research Business Strategy