Take your idea to MVP for <$4.5k
Issue 1🪜: Go from idea to MVP, what to build first, where to focus on, what makes MVP successful & measure metrics.
Hey everyone👋, welcome to the 4th newsletter.
On my last product, I spend $75K+ to get the product from idea to on the internet. I did everything & build a full-fledged product in 6 months, and launched it in the hope that my marketing will get users once the product is out.
But this plan didn’t work out. I was struggling to reach my monthly goals - users, revenue, and success.
Nevertheless, the expectations were unrealistic, and only to find out that users didn’t find some of the features useful, there were so many unnecessary features that could have been integrated, found several bugs as there was a struggle with the developers, etc.
This scenario would have been different if I had already tested the idea, looked for market-fit conditions & known what do users actually want in the first launch. It’s a nightmare to lose money on a product that didn’t perform as expected.
That’s the place where MVP (Minimal Value Product) comes to great use.
The concept of MVP is important to expand our ability to reach the right audience at the early stage & test the idea with core features. It should be able to solve the main problem for which you’re creating the product.
Currently, I’m working on building a new product & aiming to launch it in 3-4 weeks. I’ve already created a one-pager, which includes the core features to focus on this MVP. Keeping the design minimal and limiting pages & features - need to focus on the main solution than fancy features.
🪜2-4 weeks to go from Idea to MVP launch - Timeframe
Your MVP should not take a lot of time to build and get into public. Quick market testing & getting the users should be your first priority.
Here’s the common timeframe I use:
~ 1-2 day planning & deciding what to build.
~ 1 week designing the product - keeping the design & elements minimal.
~ Start pre-marketing as eary as possible. Untill and unless you won’t spread the word about what you’re building you won’t be able to reach the users quickly.
~ Create a survey & capture your early users.
~ 2-3 weeks to develop the product.
It can also take you less if you minimize the work for designing & development. If it takes you more time to roll out the MVP, it will reverse your thinking.
Start by asking why your product is needed in the first place? What problem does it solve? Create a one-pager for yourself to understand the concept of what your building, what your product is about, something like a one-page business plan. Here’s my one-page “Idea to MVP” format which I created on Notion 👇🏻.
You can take as long as you want your product to be on the MVP stage and keep it open for beta testers only. Even Instagram, Pinterest, Stripe, and many other brands took years to run in beta before making it available to everyone. But how quickly you get it out for users to test will set a potential success for your product.
The cost of building MVP 💸
There are several ways to build MVP:
Build it yourself - this can almost cost you nothing.
Hire a freelancer - You’ll have to pay designers or developers which can start from a few thousand dollars.
Build through No-code - It is a great new way, if you don’t know how to code you can easily build an app through No-code, you don’t need to code a line.
For my previous product, WorkMap, here’s what I did & spend my money on:
Product designer ~ $10k
Developers ~ $45k
Marketing & branding ~ $10k
I spend other on miscellaneous: AWS, domain, hosting, email service provider, etc.
Looking back now & what I’ve learned, I can confidently say I would have built this product for less than $4k. The money was spent on too many unnecessary things, services, features, and people. In the future, I’ll share what I’m doing to build a new product MVP & the process of it.
🎯Your focus is to get users who’ll actually pay for your product
Our mind juggles between perfect & imperfection to believe that MVP doesn’t need to be “perfect” but “good enough” to validate the idea. The struggle is what to build in the MVP? Building a *working* MVP that doesn’t solve the problem is the risk of failing to validate the startup idea.
Keep things simple & don’t make your user’s onboarding difficult. The success of an MVP is not a fully functioning polished product but what it’s useful & users to engage with.
Your MVP should focus on core features that will stand out from the competitors, solve the problem directly, and gives users the reason to use your product in the first place.
You don’t need fancy MVP - look at Stripe & Gumroad:
Keeping in mind that MVP is to test the idea & getting those initial users by creating few features but also the ones that will sell the problem.
📊Measure the success of MVP
How do you define the success of your MVP? This completely depends upon what kind of product you’re building: B2B, B2C, DTC, etc. What you build will help you collect data, feedbacks & measure success.
Trying to overbuild to test every assumption will drive you to make wrong decisions. Here are your questions:
Do you have any clear purpose or goals for your MVP?
The features you created, were they enough to validate the idea?
How many users did signup? This will completely depend on your business model.
Traction: how many turned into paying customers or are willing to pay.
MVP is fun & a roller coaster ride of an entrepreneur’s journey if you don’t think of fancy things and wait for everything to be perfectly done. To play around with features, relaunching the MVP multiple times and finally moving to an open product.
Kudos for building!
Until next time! 👋
👋 PS: I’m Ritika founder, product marketer and advisor for early-stage startups, find more here or connect with her here. If you’re a first-time founder looking for curated resources, download here. If you enjoyed this post, read the past issues here. You can also promote your product in this newsletter.
A big thanks for reading & sharing!