Deciding whether to invest in building an MVP or an EVP ?..

February 9, 2024

At Inovatyv we speak to so many entrepreneurs, startups and scale-ups daily and there is often a persistent thought that comes up - when do we start building an MVP ? Being entrepreneurs ourselves, we look at the business value proposition and counter the question - "Do you need an MVP or an EVP?"

What is the difference ?

Let's start with expanding the acronyms - MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product and EVP stands for Exceptional Viable Product.

An MVP (Minimum Viable Product) as the name suggest is a product that is a representative of the future. It has limited functionalities and is largely there to for the purpose of testing, validation and gives an indication of the future product.

An EVP (Exceptional Viable Product) on the other hand is a product that's probably gone through multiple iterations and is an almost final version of the product.

Simply put, an MVP is a concept that needs validation. On the other hand an EVP is often a proven concept. The builder of an EVP knows 90% of the time that it will work. The 10% that remains unknown is probably the marketing copy, UI of the product, UX design and so on which need to be tested.

Advantages and Disadvantages of both the models

Now that we understand the differences between an MVP and EVP let's talk about their Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages of an EVP

  1. A more complete entry: An EVP is an almost complete version of a product. So when a company launches an EVP, it usually gives a more complete, big bang entry in the market which can often lead to a very high growth of the product.
  2. Preserves your Brand: Every company has a brand, a story, a presence that it's customers resonate with. An MVP often tends to put the brand on sidelines and focuses on validating a hypothesis. With an EVP the brand is maintained. Because it's an almost complete product it is almost always designed in alignment with the brand. This is good, in fact it's great to built a loyal customer base.
  3. **Competitive Advantage :**An EVP, just by its nature of being nearly complete positions the product to become very competitive. This is great for highly competitive markets like - travel and tourism, E-commerce and so on. Compared to and MVP which is often very minimal and EVP

Disadvantages of an EVP

  1. Pricing: Building an EVP is expensive. We are talking about a nearly finished product here. Which means everything from the features, to Information Architecture and Design need to be completed. Hence it takes about 6- 10 months of minimum development time, a bigger team and a lot of money to build it. Now here is an icing on the cake - at Inovatyv we've got plans that can help you build your EVP in byte (pun intended) sized payments.
  2. Higher Risk: Because of the expense, size of the team and the big bang approach this can pose to be a high risk game. However this risk is absolutely worth taking when you know that your product can shake the industry. Yes, it's a high risk, high reward proposition.

Advantages of an MVP

  1. Pricing: Easy, quick to build and usually doesn't take much to make. An MVP doesn't always need to be a working product. It could be as simple as a placeholder website or a form! There are many ways to create an MVP that just tests a hyper-focused hypothesis.
  2. Your Brand is still in "progress": When you are building an MVP, you are likely just testing the waters and deciding whether your concept will even work or not. Establishing your brand, its values and its experience doesn't need to be solidified. It's often not the main focus. You may have some rough guidelines, but trust us - it's bound to change.
  3. Massive Scope for Change: As one iterates and learns about the concept / idea, the changes are massive. This allows room for a lot of feature improvements, feature concepts, and so on. This is great for your product, but if you have engaged an external vendor who quotes you a fixed price then you are guaranteed to get into a rough patch.

Disadvantages of an MVP

  1. Time: While getting to the first version is quick, there are often a lot of changes that need to be incorporated - from a design and development perspective. A lot of time is spent and items scrapped. At inovatyv we understand this and have faced it first hand while developing our own in-house products and hence came up with the Dedicated Teams offering to for those startups that need solid teams who can be on this journey with them.
  2. High Chances of being copied: Since you're out in the market from day 30 of your idea and iterating, there is enough time for people to visualize and come up with something that may beat your odds of success.

So what should you go for ?

While the advantages and disadvantages of botht the methods are clear, the right answer to the question comes from the idea that you are really working on. The following questions will help you get to the answer better:

  1. Has a similar idea been done before ? And if so, what was the success rate? If your idea is 10x better but in a similar space as another product or company, then there is less of the "concept to validate" and more of how to make it 10x better. In this scenario, you can start with a kano-model evaluation, run some focus groups to really get the pulse of what you want to offer. This will lead you to a clear picture of an EVP. Businesses in the travel, e-commerce, and Fintech industries that are saturated you do not need an MVP.If the idea hasn't been implemented yet, then there is a lot of unknown ground that we are playing with. In these cases it's always better to start by breaking down the hypothesis and validating them through an MVP.
  2. If I were to build the entire product that I am envisioning, how much of an investment would I need to make? Building products are expensive. Having a cost analysis of the product done is a great starting point. The price data point combined with the success certainty (first point) will give you a good sense on whether it's worth making that kind of an investment. With this you will be able to make a judgement on whether you should go for an EVP or an MVP.

Need some help?

Great! now that you know how to evaluate you can make a much more informed decision for your startup! If you need to talk to someone about this, drop us a note. At Inovatyv we help startups, founders, SME's build beautiful digital products that have that "oomph" in them. Singing off!

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