The difference between an MVP, or a minimum viable product, and a prototype is that an MVP is a finite version of your product with a certain set of minimum features for your user to experience the purpose of your product and provide feedback. A prototype, though similar in nature, is anything that helps you get your idea out of your head and in a tangible form to be shared with others for feedback. It can be a sketch, a PowerPoint presentation, or in the case of Dropbox--a video, but ultimately, it makes it easier to share and converse about your idea to get feedback from others. It’s most important to understand that the MVP and prototype are both ways of communicating your ideas and making them as tangible and experiential as much as possible to test and get feedback from stakeholders—potential users and customers.
At TPM Focus, we are advocates for prototyping. Though many entrepreneurs want to get straight to building their product (we never suggest this!), we always advise to take a more strategic approach, design thinking-approach, with prototyping and producing an MVP. While it may feel like you’re slowing down, you’re really not as it will save you a lot of time and money using this approach because you’ll get to the right idea, faster. By the term “right idea” we mean the idea that the marketplace (your customers) values and is willing to use and pay for it’s use. This typically involves a pivot from your original idea because you’ll have feedback from them to create a product with utility.
Prototyping and producing an MVP enables you to receive valuable information which results in more ideas and a chance to challenge your beliefs and opinions about the market. There’s nothing worse than creating a great product that nobody wants to buy—a founder’s worst nightmare. This approach will minimize risk in that regard.
...many entrepreneurs want to get straight to building their product (we never suggest this!), we always advise to take a more strategic approach, design thinking-approach, with prototyping and producing an MVP Click To Tweet
If you have questions on how to best create a prototype or MVP for your idea, contact us today. Keep in mind that depending on your product, you may need one or the other, not both. We can help you figure out what’s best.