You’ve been pining over an idea for the past two years. You’ve finally gathered the courage to invest some money, sacrifice your social life, and pour all of your available time and energy into bringing your dream to life. On your first day as an official entrepreneur, you’re drinking your morning coffee while staring blankly at the white wall in front of you, thinking now what? Where do I begin?
When faced with this timeless question, many entrepreneurs instinctively have the urge to start building their digital product. After living with this idea in your head every single day for years, you feel like your product is inevitable. If you build it, they will come–Field of Dreams style. You’ve done enough thinking and should start building your Minimum Viable Product, right? Not so fast.
One of the biggest mistakes that entrepreneurs can make is to allocate resources into developing an MVP without first considering the why behind their product. A truly compelling why is backed by market research and ensures that the product you intend to build is worthwhile. No matter how eager you are to take your idea from a concept in your head to a product that you can hold in your hand, answer these five questions to find your why, and set your MVP up for success.
1. What problem does my product or service solve?
Think of starting a company as building a solution. In order to justify investing significant amounts of time and money into conceptualizing and developing this solution, you must first understand what problem you are trying to solve. If a problem does not exist, why would consumers and investors care enough about your venture to buy into your solution? In order to articulate the problem, think back to what triggered you to come up with this idea in the first place. Did something bug you in your day-to-day life that led you to this idea? Did you notice a market inefficiency while working on a project for the company you used to work for? Don’t build just to create something new. Build to solve a problem.
2. Who will buy my product/service?
Before designing you MVP, you must be able to articulate who you are designing this solution for. Be as detailed as possible when trying to envision your ideal target consumer. Think about where the consumer lives, where they work, how old they are, what they look like, how frequently they use the product, and how this product improves their daily life.
3. What market am I trying to enter?
When users are looking for a solution to the problem you are trying to solve, what key terms will they search for? Where will your product or service be discovered by potential buyers? Whether the market is physical or digital, you cannot assume that your product or service will be the only one that consumers will find. Rather, they will be exposed to an array of options to choose from. In order to capture market share, you need to become an expert on the competitive dynamics within the market you are trying to enter. Other players will be vying for the attention and dollars of your target consumer as well. Without gaining a clear understanding of the market that you are entering and which market players you are up against, it will be difficult to make decisions surrounding what features you want to prioritize launching at each stage in the product’s development.
4. What features does my product offer that differentiates my startup from competitors?
What would prompt a consumer to choose your product over the alternative options on the market? If you start building immediately only to later realize that you’ve created nearly an exact replica of a product that already exists, you have wasted resources that could have been allocated to the development of a product that has the potential to capture market share. Before building your MVP, make a list of all of the defining features that your product has that differentiates it from the other products on the market. Make sure that your competitive advantage is sufficient enough to give potential consumers a clear reason to reach for your product over other products on the market.
5. How will I test my idea, and if successful, how will I scale?
In order to build a sustainable business, you must ensure that you will be able to establish product-market fit and capture sufficient market share. As you work towards developing an effective proof of concept, you must be able to conceptualize what will constitute a clear test of whether there is demand for your product in the market. In order to clearly prioritize the features you need to have in place before launching your MVP, you must have a clear understanding of how and where you will test your product, and what will constitute success. If the product is successful in your test market, where will you aim to launch your product next and how will you get your product in the hands of these consumers?
At Camber Creative, our accomplished Audience and Revenue team can help you develop the strategic direction and market positioning for your venture before you invest in developing an MVP. Conducting market research and knowing your why prior to building your MVP helps take the guesswork out of launching a new product. Once we help you establish your target market and articulate the problem you are trying to solve, our expert digital product development team will bring your MVP to life. Contact us to see how we can help turn your vision into a reality!