What's a Minimum Scalable Product?

Minimum Viable Products (MVP) and a Minimum Scalable Product (MSP) are similar in nature, but the opposite in purpose. Startups in most cases must build the latter and often is the reason why they never get traction.

Your Startup need a Minimum Scalable Product

2021, November  |   Read in 4 minutes


You’ve all heard of the Minimum Viable Product (MVP). It’s the most basic version of a product or service that can be implemented in-market.

An MVP is a proof of concept. Oftentimes it is built to showcase usability to investors. It is also used to get feedback from its earliest customers to improve.

The main goal of an MVP is to grow bigger at as low a cost as possible.

You see, scalability is inherent in the nature of startups.

Why? Startups are ephemeral. They eventually either perish, or morph into SMEs or large corporations. So the two growth options need room and the ability to scale for huge growth.

StartUp Nation defines scalability as:

Boosting your bottom line over time by increasing revenue, while at the same time keeping cost increases to a minimum so that you don’t cancel out your profit

Backtrack 10, 20 years ago and flexibility at the MVP was seen as a competitive edge. It wasn’t something that was a make or break to a product’s future success.

But with today’s often-rushed approach to MVP creation, technology will be used that isn’t flexible. Then, once the MVP is ready to grow, the technology fails and the startup fails.

That’s why we believe that all startups need a Minimum Scalable Product (MSP).

It’s the more fitting term for a product that is best suited to grow in today’s tech-centric environment.

Nowadays, with an abundance of software offerings — from the cloud, to Jamstack, to blockchain — an MVP that doesn’t utilise these flexible solutions to scale will fail.

The primary feature of an MSP is that it uses flexible technology that enables scale. Max flexibility at the MVP stage will give your product the best chance to grow sustainably.

Features of a Minimum Scalable Product:

  • Ability to mass supply: You can produce it and sell it in mass quantities
  • Flexible margins: Your margins are sufficient to compete on price
  • Reliance on tech: You build on platforms that can scale
  • Low customer acquisition costs: If you then have to spend big on overheads to service a new customer, that’s not scaling. Scalable startups won’t need big spending on marketing and sales efforts. Good word of mouth resulting from a solid product/market fit will result in low cost to acquire.
  • Huge Total Addressable Market: To scale, you need to have a large potential market reach.
  • Economies of Scale: Your business will need to have operating leverage to achieve smaller operating costs the larger you grow
  • Modest upfront investment: Until you are able to scale, likely coinciding with funding, you will need to start your venture at a low cost, with minimal incremental costs as the venture grows. Use of software and technology enables this.
  • High technical and managerial autonomy: Automate as much as possible to keep costs down.
  • Cheap, fast product distribution: The more products or services sold, the more distribution must occur. Offering a service on a website or mobile app is a prime example of inexpensive, speedy distribution.

How do you build maximum flexibility into your startup?

As we mentioned before, an abundance of flexible software solutions exist that will level up your MVP to an MSP.

Let’s use website development as an example.

We hear stories of so many startup founders shocked at how expensive developers are that have built extremely inflexible code on monolith structures like Wordpress.

When building an app or website, you need to make sure the developer you choose will understand maximum flexibility.

Here at PixelPixel, our web and app developers have helped many startups develop their MSPs using a maximum flexibility approach.

The main technology we use is the JAMstack because it lets you infinitely scale without functional hiccups.

For startups looking to deploy a scalable MVP, the JAMstack is the most cost-effective option in the short and long term that scales brilliantly.

Serving a site over a CDN, everything can be cached. This gets rid of complex workflows that decide what should and shouldn’t be cached. In turn, JAMstack sites can deal with heavy traffic loads and scale to use by caching everything by default.

Find out more about the benefits of the JAMstack.

Don’t completely diss the MVP

Does that mean bye-bye MVP, hello MSP? Not quite. MVPs have a purpose and place.

A minimum viable product is made up of core features for the product to deploy and nothing more.

All startups should still develop MVPs. But on top of that, they should make them MSPs.

Your action from this post should be to reinvent your timeline of product development to put scalability as a huge checkbox.

This means, when it’s time to scale, it will be easier to build on stable ground than have to tear down entire structures to fix bad flooring.

Book a free consultation with us to develop a website or app that can scale.

PixelPixel is a digital agency based in Noosa on the Sunshine Coast that builds and optimises modern websites and apps. We use tried-and-tested, diverse technology stacks to build fast, secure, scalable and stable online solutions.