"The first thing you can give to the very first set of users you want to target to see if you can deliver any value at all to them" - Michael Siebel, YCombinator
“If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.” - Reid Hoffman, Co-Founder of LinkedIn
Literally, a minimum viable product.
Where do I get my first users?
If you are solving a problem you know someone has, then talk to that person and build it for them. A red flag is not knowing how to find users who have this problem.
Should I outsource building my MVP to a dev shop?
Almost certainly not. If you are paying someone to spend several weeks or months building you an app, then by definition it's not minimum, and what they give back to you almost certainly won't solve the problem. You'll need many more iterations, and you'll end up spending a lot of money building the wrong thing.
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◻️ Start with the problem you want to solve
- It's easy to fall in love with an idea for a product, and work back from there to decide on the problem you want to solve with it. However, most great products solve a major problem. And there might be many ways to solve those problems. The solution you have in mind might not be the best, or the easiest, or cheapest, or most intuitive way of doing it that will resonate with the greatest number of people.
- That's why it's a good idea to always start with the problem you want to solve, and then explore that problem in great detail before formulating what the solution will be.
- Make sure you aren't building a faster elevator, when you could be giving people a way to be less bored when waiting for an elevator
◻️ Places to talk to find potential users and validate your idea
- Check out our other checklist template Places to Validate Your Product or add it to your Taskable account.
- These work great if your target audience hangs out in these places. If they don't, then you'll need to do a bit more digging. LinkedIn groups are a good place to start - if you are selling to the CMO try and get into the CMO group and share interesting content that drives traffic to your site.
◻️ Reading list
- Michael Seibel - How to Plan an MVP
- The Mom Test
- Are You Solving the Right Problems?
- Why the Lean Start-Up Changes Everything
- The Lean Startup
◻️ Identify your target audience
- Who are the people who have this headache? Where are they the most underserved or have the biggest headache? Focus on them as much as possible, and try not to get distracted by adjacent target users or else you'll try to do too much right away.
◻️ Conduct prospective user interviews
- At an early stage, you really want to validate the problem.
◻️ Scope out the smallest thing you can build that solves the problem
- Your MVP should be the quickest thing you can build and ship and get to your users to see if it solves a pain point for them. Strip it back as much as you can to optimize for speed of delivery so you can start getting feedback, iterating, improving and releasing the next version.
◻️ Create a landing page
- Creating a landing page is good for a few reasons.
- It helps you formulate how you talk about the product, and also test some messages and key concepts
- You can use it to collect pre-registration email addresses
- It lets you test demand for the product
- There are some quick, out of the box tools for building a website out there like Carrd and everypage so you don't have to spend much time on this.
◻️ Launch quickly, even if it's bad, and get feedback
- Launch the smallest thing you can that solves the problem you are trying to solve and get feedback.
- Once you launch the first thing, get feedback, retool, and fix the thing that isn't solving the problem you need it to solve yet, until it solves the problem.