So you’ve got an incredible startup idea, but you have no idea where or how to even begin. An idea is one thing, but taking those first steps into turning that idea into a product, into a real business, can seem impossible.
If you want to be smart about this, there’s a proven methodology you’ll want to adopt. It’s called starting with a minimum viable product.
What’s a minimum viable product?
An MVP is your tool to test out your business idea with as little risk as possible. Whether you’re going to build an app or an online business, this concept can be applied to your startup. The point of the MVP is to create a product consumers can use and test with as little work (and money) invested as possible. It’s your beta version that will be tweaked, changed, and finalized only once you have gotten enough feedback to validate your idea and ensure it’s exactly what your customers want from you.
If you’re ready to move from idea to MVP, here are some tips for you:
START WITH A STRATEGY Sit down and create a roadmap of what you think this entire journey is going to look like. Include everything from meeting your core customer needs to product development and marketing. It will seem like a lot, but you want to have a solid understanding of what the entire process is going to look like.
MAKE SURE YOU’RE TAPPING INTO A NICHE Regardless of what industry you’re tapping into, there is going to be stiff competition. The more specific you can be with the problem you’re solving, the more exclusive and powerful your product will be. Don’t worry about solving everyone’s problems, focus on carving out a niche you can serve.
RESEARCH THE COMPETITION Once you’ve selected your niche, find out what everyone else in that space is doing. How much are they charging? Who are their customers? What gaps do you see in what they offer?
START YOUR PRE-LAUNCH EARLY Once you’ve nailed down the basics, you can start your marketing pre-launch. You don’t need a product ready to do this, and it’s an easy way to truly start your MVP process. You can start with a basic landing page that captures email addresses. Are people interested in signing up for what you’re offering? Can you build a community around your idea and grow a list of people who are eager for your product or service to become available? How much are people willing to pay for it? You can learn a lot from this process, before you even really start.
DON’T BLAST THROUGH THE MVP STAGE Once you manage to get your MVP into the hands of users, resist the urge to rush this process. Give people time to use it, test it, and provide feedback. You want to allow as many people as possible to validate your idea and tell you what they need from your product before you move into the stages of finalizing the design and features.
REALLY HEAR THE FEEDBACK YOU GET It’s important that you don’t create your MVP with a final product in mind. You want to let your users guide the final version. When large volumes of people are telling you what they want, make sure you listen. Don’t ignore the feedback when it’s not what you want to hear or when it doesn’t align with your initial plans. The point of this is to give people what they want, so your business can be successful.
Countless startups can thank their success to a great idea with a solid MVP. If you have an idea, embracing the MVP process is your safest bet to test your product and start building the foundation for a sustainable and profitable business.