Manage episode 349762318 series 3383733
In this episode we answer questions about how to build your first product! We answer questions including:
- How do you decide what to include in your Minimum Viable Product (MVP)?
- When does good design matter?
- How do you start selling, with just a prototype or an MVP?
All of these questions were submitted by listeners just like you. You can submit questions for us to answer on our website https://www.thestartuphelpdesk.com/ or on Twitter @thestartuphd - we'd love to hear from you!
Reminder: this is not legal advice or investment advice.
Q1: How do you decide what to include in your Minimum Viable Product (MVP)?
Start with "nothing". You heard that right!
- Can you provide the service manually first? The answer is often "yes".
- Start with a spreadsheet, a text message, consulting.
- This is the fastest, most inexpensive way to solve part of the problem for your first users and learn more about the opportunity.
Once you have validated what you should build, v1 of your software needs to only do one thing well: solve one part of the problem. Everything else is a distraction.
The emphasis on “one” is key: by only doing one thing, you can measure if your solution is actually solving the problem or not.
Of course, there are components of your solution that will be requirements, such as the ability to login. Eliminate everything that is not absolutely essential.
Q2: When does good design matter?
Design matters on day 1, but not necessarily the “design” that we commonly think of. There are three kinds of design, and they typically arrive in this order:
1: Design thinking: important from day 1 of startup journey.
2: UX Design: important once you know which problem to solve.
3: Visual Design: important once you have proof that you are solving an important problem.
Early investment in design can hold you back, since you don’t want to over-invest in prototypes. Thus, good design matters when you have a clear idea of who your user is and how they want to use your product.
Until then, your "design" efforts should focus on unearthing insights about your prospective users and how to solve their problems.
Lastly, design makes complex products simple and can be a critical differentiator. Users won’t see great design, since it makes everything easier, but that’s okay!
Q3: How do you start selling, with just a prototype or an MVP?
Start selling as early as possible. How early?
Start selling long before you even have a prototype!
- You can sign LOIs with customers based on a prototype.
- Your first customers can emerge from your customer discovery research.
- Thus, you are selling with your set of discovery not questions, nothing close to a prototype.
However, "selling" ultimately means you are getting money for the product. Thus, when you have customers ready to pay, they are often looking to use your MVP (which many often consider to be your prototype). This is especially true if it’s a product that requires integration with other systems: an MVP is usually necessary to get the customer to integrate.
In general, with few exceptions, if you build before you sell - you will have to build twice. Limit this risk considerably by selling ASAP so that you know what to build.