Hey makers and side-project enthusiasts!
You've found the idea for your side project. You want to bring it to life. Great!
If not you can check my post on how to find the best side project idea for you.
To make it real you need a Minimal Viable Product also known as MVP. You may ask yourself what is it and what makes a valuable MVP.
Here we are going to define an MVP and its important characteristics such as the value-added and when your MVP is ready to be shipped.
What is an MVP?
An MVP is what brings your idea to life! It is the first product you build to fulfill the need you want to address.
Let's decompose it:
M as in Minimal
You want to focus on what is the best-added value of your product. I'm sure you have thought about a lot of nice-to-have features. But these features will take more time to reach the market. First, earn your first customers with what differentiates your product!
V as in Viable
You want it to be viable. What it means is that it must be something your targeted customer needs.
It must realize the promise of your product. Before this step, it does not worth shipping it. Your end users won't see interest in using it.
P as in Product
Here when we talk about a product it could also be a service.
For this one have not too much to say except that it is the product you build ;)
Think about added-value
What is important in an MVP is to think about its added value.
I will start to tell you a little story of what happened with the first SAAS I developed.
It starts soon after I've finished my studies. We were two young graduates. We try to build the best product (in the field of energy savings). The problem was that we put a lot of effort into features that we believed were impactful.
Spoiler alert: the users didn't care about it and we lost a lot of time in implementing them.
But other features we added after, thinking of it as nice to have and quick to implement added a lot of value to our customers.
This story led me to this point: center your attention on the part that has the best ratio added-value/time.
You want to bring more value to your customer in the less time possible. It doesn't mean that you won't add other features to your product/service. You may do it in the future when you will have your first customers.
Another important point: You must focus on what differentiates your product/service from existing ones.
There are certainly other products/services that do more or less something similar. It is not a bad thing, it means that there is a market for it!
You need to differentiate your product/service from the crowd. Why do you want to create this project? What needs does it fulfill which is not covered by existing products?
Now you know what makes your product different, let's talk about the launch!
When to ship it
I will continue the story of my first SAAS. It is a good case of study as I made these mistakes. I hope I could give you enough insights for you to avoid them ;)
With my colleague, we wait until the product seems more or less perfect to our eyes. We always thought that we need one more feature before launching the project. This led us to the point where we developed a lot of features that were not used at all. They were so useless to our customers that we removed them from the product when we developed the V2.
Moral of this story: Ship your product as soon as it addresses the needs you have identified
Then it will be your users/customers who will tell you:
- what they like
- what they don't like,
- what they need
- what they want
You build a product/service for your customer not for you.
What you think is a perfect product may not be the perfect product/service for the users/customers.
So don't wait until it's perfect!
Into actions 🚀
Now let's resume what actions you can set up:
- Define what is the value-added of your product/service
- Find some users who need your product
- Ship your product as soon your product/service fulfills the value added you have defined even if it is not perfect
And you in what stage of your MVP are you? Share with us in the comments ;)
If you ship your MVP when it is perfect then you ship it too late