Five Things I Wish I Knew Before Building My First MVP

by Ryan Luttrell, Founder/CEO


Guiding aspiring entrepreneurs through the process of building their first Minimum Viable Product (MVP) has given me a unique perspective on what it takes to succeed in this endeavor. Over the years, my agency has helped numerous startups transform their visions into tangible products. From these experiences, I've distilled five key insights that are crucial for anyone embarking on the journey of creating an MVP. Here, I share these insights, coupled with real-world anecdotes from our client projects, to shed light on common pitfalls and effective strategies.

  1. Focus on Core Features: One of our early clients was an ambitious startup eager to launch a feature-rich mobile app. They envisioned a product brimming with functionalities. However, through our consulting sessions, we highlighted the importance of focusing on core features that aligned directly with their value proposition. By convincing them to pare down to essential functionalities, they were able to launch quicker and gather user feedback on the most critical aspects of their app. This approach not only streamlined development but also ensured that resources were concentrated on features that truly mattered to their initial user base.
  2. User Feedback is Gold: Working with another client, we realized they were somewhat insulated from their user base, relying heavily on assumptions. We set up a structured process for collecting and analyzing user feedback right from the early stages of their MVP. This led to several pivotal adjustments that significantly improved user engagement. For instance, user suggestions led to a redesign of the user interface, which dramatically increased the app's usability. Teaching our clients to value and integrate user feedback has consistently helped refine their products to better meet market needs.
  3. Product Market Fit Over Perfection: A common challenge we see with our clients is the pursuit of perfection. One particular client delayed their launch several times, striving to perfect every element. We guided them to focus on market fit instead, using a lean approach to launch early and iterate based on real user interactions. This shift in strategy allowed them to adapt quickly to the market's demands and outpace competitors by continually refining their product based on actual user data, rather than hypothetical perfection.
  4. Budget for the Unexpected: Many of our clients come with a well-planned budget but often overlook potential unforeseen expenses. We encourage them to allocate resources for unexpected scenarios. For example, one client faced higher-than-anticipated costs for compliance and data security just before launch. Fortunately, based on our advice, they had reserved extra funds, which allowed them to address these issues without compromising other aspects of their project. This precaution has saved many of our clients from potentially disastrous budget shortfalls.
  5. The Right Team Makes All the Difference: The significance of assembling the right team cannot be overstated. We often assist our clients in team formation, ensuring that each member not only possesses the necessary technical skills but also shares a commitment to the startup's vision. One client learned this the hard way, initially hiring based on convenience rather than capability. We helped them restructure their team, which was a turning point in their development process and significantly accelerated their progress.

Bonus MVP Checklist: Top 10 Things New Founders Need

  • Clearly Define the MVP's Scope: Focus on essential features that fulfill the core value proposition.
  • Set Realistic Goals and Milestones: Break the development process into manageable phases with clear objectives.
  • Engage Early with Potential Users: Build a user feedback loop right from the start.
  • Test Assumptions Continuously: Validate every assumption with real data as early and often as possible.
  • Monitor Competitors: Stay aware of the competitive landscape to adapt and innovate continually.
  • Prepare for Flexibility in Budgeting: Have a financial buffer to manage unexpected expenses.
  • Invest in Marketing Early On: Start building market awareness and interest from the early stages.
  • Focus on User Experience: Ensure the MVP is user-friendly and intuitive.
  • Leverage Agile Development Practices: Implement agile methodologies to enhance flexibility and responsiveness.
  • Cultivate a Strong Team Culture: Ensure every team member is aligned with the project's goals and values.


The journey to launching a successful MVP is fraught with challenges, but armed with these insights, entrepreneurs can navigate this path more effectively. Understanding the importance of focusing on core features, valuing user feedback, prioritizing market fit, preparing financially, and assembling the right team are all critical components of this process.

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