Let’s imagine that you have exactly 24 hours to implement your idea. What can be done during this time? In fact, there are a lot of hackathons, teams even have time to work out the entire project – from the idea and business model to the simplest MVP (minimum viable product). Your task is to understand in a day whether it is worth spending your further time on this idea, or it is better to switch to other tasks. How to do it? Very simple!
To begin with, clearly formulate your idea, think through the main risks that may arise during its execution and how you will avoid them.
Next, determine your target audience – who she is, where to find her, what alternative products/services she uses. If nothing bothered you in the first two stages, then proceed to the third step.
The next stage is the presentation of your idea to friends and any other representatives of the target audience. You can prepare a small questionnaire on Google Forms with a list of questions that will allow you to identify the pains of your target audience and get feedback on the idea. Keep in mind that the questionnaire does not need to ask direct questions about the need for a product, they should only indirectly help you understand people’s problems.
Important: Don’t count on the fact that if your friends said they liked the idea, then they will actually use your product. They are 95% lying just to support you and will never actually buy your product. It is better to ask strangers on forums, on social networks, or ask friends to give contacts of their acquaintances who are your target audience.
Interview only the target audience: do not ask your bachelor friend if he will use your baby stroller with an electric motor – he will simply confuse you and you will make the wrong decision.
A week to check demand
If during the first day of work you have identified the need for CA in your product, then you can proceed to the following check: are they lying? To make sure of this, you need to check that people from the street will be interested in your product. How to do it? It’s very simple – quickly make a landing page and launch an ad. At this stage, you do not need to order a website from the most expensive Runet studios, a simple page with a minimalistic design and a description of your product is enough for you. The main thing is not to stretch the creation of a landing page for months – you have to meet in a few days, a maximum of a week. Also, you don’t have to have a ready-made service or product in stock to make sure it is needed. For the service, you can collect applications for a beta test, and you can call back to the buyers of the product and inform them that the product is out of stock (at the same time asking what attracted them to the product).
To quickly launch ads, we recommend making 5-10 ads on social networks for different groups of users and Yandex Direct, where we recommend setting up only YAN – this is much faster than collecting deep semantics. Have you received at least a few applications at a price 3-4 times higher than the one you expect in the future? Great, let’s move on! No? Then you should think about stopping working on the idea.
A month for the prototype
If all the previous points are completed successfully, then congratulations, it looks like your idea is really interesting to people, which means that only now it’s time to move on to development. Your tasks for the next 2-3 weeks:
Clearly define the necessary functions of your MVP Choose a developer (hire a staff or decide on a contractor) Scale marketing channels, Possibly launch a super-basic version of the product Decide on the functions of the MVP
Try to be tough on your idea and ruthlessly delete functions from it that take a long time to do, but whether they will benefit is unclear. Developers should help you in choosing functions (we will tell you about the choice of a developer later). Your MVP should have functions for 2-4 months of work, this is almost always enough to test an idea with minimal costs.
The MVP functions need to be arranged in the most detailed TOR (here the developers should help you again), so that in the future you do not need to redo anything and waste precious resources.
We have described the choice of developers in great detail in a separate article. Be sure to read it, but for now here are the main theses:
Hire a full-time developer only if your project is large enough or you have a good budget Do not involve freelancers and very cheap studios Choose developers with experience in implementing startups Make sure that the proposed technologies are widespread and suitable for your project To launch a very basic version of your product (possibly). If the stars have formed in the right way and:
you already have proven developers or you know how to code yourself (although we do not recommend programmers who make their project to program it completely, because in this case you will always need to code, and there will be no time left for other processes) have you managed to identify a key function that can be implemented in a couple of weeks
Then launch the project as soon as possible and get feedback from the first users you have already attracted!
Scale marketing channels
Are you surprised that we offer to engage in advertising when the project is not ready at all? But we still recommend increasing traffic to your landing page: add new channels (for example, Yandex search. Yandex.Direct or other social networks) to come fully prepared for the launch of the project, gain a subscriber base and once again make sure that your hypothesis works.
If you do this now, then after launching the project you will not need to spend several months on marketing, and even more so – to understand that no one needs the project, and the money has already been spent. The first subscribers will help you decide which features are needed and which are not. And development will be much more effective if you know that you already have customers who can’t wait to try your product as soon as possible.
QUARTER ON MVP
In 2-4 months, it is quite possible to implement all the most necessary functions of your project, if, of course, you did everything correctly at the previous stages. Try not to delay the initial launch – it’s better to give up something. For example, for the first time you can restore the password to users through the database, the site may not have a mobile version, and payment may occur manually. Do not strive to do everything perfectly, but make sure that the key functions of your project work like clockwork – after all, it is for them that users will forgive you minor flaws.
Try to check the progress of the project as often as possible – it will be good if once a week the developers will show you the result, although not fully completed. In the meantime, you should not stop marketing activity – expand your subscriber base, you can start a blog and a newsletter about the progress of the project development. Have you completed the development? Test the project either on your own or by remote testers, fix the worst bugs and get started!
A YEAR LATER – A WORKING BUSINESS
After the MVP of your startup has already been launched and you have several regular paying customers, you will need to conduct regular customer development and maintain a balance between two factors:
What your current customers need, what features will make your product more useful to them (and, therefore, they will be willing to pay for them) What you need to attract new users
Listen carefully to your current users, but do not do everything they ask without hesitation – this can inflate your product with a lot of features that ~ 5% of users will use.
We also recommend that you often compare your service with competitors (if there are any). Try to implement functions that are not available anywhere else – this will give you a great advantage in marketing, because you will have clear differences from competitors. But do not forget that the most important thing is that these functions are in demand and benefit customers, do not make features for the sake of features.
Despite the fact that your project has already acquired functionality, you should always strive for flexibility and not spend a lot of time on new ideas – launch them in the minimum version and communicate with your users.
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