Best Practices

Seven Reasons Why MVPs Go Wrong and How to Address Failure

Published Jul 15, 2019

Even if you take every precaution taken before starting development on your MVP, you still might end up with a disappointing release. An MVP can fail for a number of reasons, and knowing each of them can help you minimize risk and stay in control of the project.

In this article, we suggest what you can do to avoid failure, list the possible reasons why failure can still happen, and recommend actions to take if you find yourself in a worst-case scenario.

How to Avoid Failure

Many reasons for MVP failure are connected to a lack of knowledge. So firstly, you need to collect as much fact-based data about as many product-related aspects as possible. Analyze the industry and the market, research the needs of your target users, learn more about the functionality of your competitors’ products, and consider other steps from this MVP development guide before you invest in software development and enter the market.

As soon as you feel that you’re the most well-informed person when it comes to your product, search for a development company that shares or, better, exceeds your understanding of the industry. This firm should have experience with the market segment and the necessary technical skills to bring out the best of your MVP concept. Since it’s easier to continue the evolution of your MVP with the team that developed its initial version, take your time to choose a reliable and competent vendor.

Reasons Why an MVP Can Still Fail

Even with a reliable vendor and in-depth research, you can’t reduce the chances of MVP failure to zero. The conditions of fast-growing markets, for instance, change quickly. In fact, the data you’ve acquired for your MVP may become outdated at the moment of release. To know what moments you have to pay special attention to in order to avoid worst-case scenarios, take a look at seven reasons for MVP failure below.

1. No Market Niche

If you decide to enter a market that is either monopolized by a few large leaders or full of multiple similar solutions created by companies like yours, your chances to succeed are extremely low. You may strongly believe in the remarkable nature of your own product, but your target audience might be quite content with what they already have. Unless you can prove that your MVP offers something truly distinctive, it’ll simply be one among many existing options.

2. No Problem to Solve

A successful software product addresses an existing problem. It provides a real solution to those customers who regularly face this problem. If it offers a solution to an irrelevant or a non-existent issue, your MVP will surely fail due to the absence of interest and demand for it in the market.

3. User Needs or Expectations Weren’t Met

There are many aspects that make your MVP click with the user base and disregarding even one of them can cost you your revenue. When users show interest in your product but quickly abandon it, you’ve successfully pinpointed an existing problem but failed to present a satisfying solution with your software.

Perhaps you’ve adhered to the “minimum” part too much and delivered an unimpressive and mediocre MVP. Maybe your choice of basic functionality was off the mark, or your user experience design had serious flaws. Maybe your solution addresses an existing problem but doesn’t help to solve it in practice because you’ve misunderstood it. To figure out the exact reasons, you’ll have to conduct targeted, in-depth research and get answers directly from your customers.

4. Poor Technical Implementation

You can identify the market, find and understand a user problem, and then create a new and effective approach to solve it. However, your MVP will still fail if it works badly (or not at all.) Hardly anyone will believe in the future of a solution that is too bugged and laggy from the first release, even if you remind your customers that it’s not a finished product. You need to acquire genuine support and loyalty of your future customers at the very start, so make sure to invest in testing and deliver as much quality as your MVP budget can afford.

5. No Marketing

Believing that the great concept behind your product will sell your MVP on its own is, mildly speaking, unrealistic. To demonstrate to your users that you’re offering an effective solution to their problem, you need to actively promote your MVP and decisively spell out its advantages. Otherwise, the chances that your MVP will receive the attention it deserves are quite low.

6. Incorrect Pricing

A price tag set too low will diminish the worth of your MVP and can even give it a “suspicious” image. Most customers won’t spend time checking out a product they don’t trust, so your audience will be comprised of just a few adventurous enthusiasts. In the same vein, a very high price can also put potential customers off. This is especially true if they can pay the same price you’re asking for an MVP on a fully finished product.

7. Wrong Timing

Picking the wrong time to launch an MVP can have a dramatic effect on your product’s future. If you disregard significant events in your product’s industry, such as releases, important competitor updates, or tech summits, you risk losing the spotlight you could’ve gotten at other times.

How to React to Failure

There are two common reactions to failure. One is to persevere and persistently improve your MVP according to market reactions. The other is to pivot: looking for an alternative route for your product growth or even rethinking its entire concept. What’s important is to know when each reaction is appropriate. When you have an audience who is openly dissatisfied with your product, you can still persevere. Chances are, you’ve stumbled over reasons 3 or 4 for failure and delivered a disappointing MVP that didn’t meet user expectations. Tune into user reviews and then make the necessary adjustments. If needed, search for a new vendor.

When your MVP doesn’t get any attention in the market, it can be hard to pinpoint the exact reason for failure. First, invest more in marketing and try promoting your MVP with discounts and special offers in order to override the possibility of reasons 5-7. If new pricing and active marketing don’t fix the situation, you’re probably dealing with the first two reasons: the absence of a market or a problem to solve. At this point, pivoting is necessary.

Wrapping Up

There’s no 100% foolproof way to ensure your MVP’s success, but you can still try to minimize the risks of failure as much as possible. Keeping yourself well-informed of industry- and product-related issues and cooperating with reliable and skilled developers are the most important measures you can take.