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Learn How to Launch An MVP In One Minute

Key Takeaways

A Minimum Viable Product centers upon the idea that you should release a new product ASAP. Don’t spend nine months building all the features. Instead, build the most important features — just enough to learn whether or not people even want the thing you’re making.

Repeat after me: an MVP means getting the most learning for the lowest amount of effort. Ask yourself, “How can I get this product in front of people as quickly as possible?”

Example of Minimum Viable Product in action

  • Dropbox started as an MVP
  • Here at One Month, we use Launchrock to build a landing pages, and to collect email addresses for classes that aren’t yet in development. This helps us learn which classes are most in demand.

How to Learn to Build an MVP Today

  1. Steve Blank, and Eric Reis: Read about the experts and follow them on Twitter (5 minutes).
  2. Data Drive Products Now! (slideshow): Check out this cool case study from on Etsy developer Dan McKinley (12 minutes).

Additional Resources

How To Decide Between Indiegogo vs. Kickstarter

As an entrepreneur, three of your favorite words are most likely “let’s DO this!” Advanced thinking and forward motion are where your comfort levels lie. While you’re busy running the show, you often need a boost from others to help you keep the momentum moving to reach the next level, which is where our breakdown of Indiegogo vs. Kickstarter comes into play.

By the power of the Internet and more importantly, the benefit of social media, we are in a time where we can propel our businesses and ideas not just among our friends and family, but through people who share our same passions.

Indiegogo and Kickstarter are two of the most popular sites entrepreneurs use to raise money to fund their business. Both sites are user-friendly and house a variety of campaigns. Non-profits use the sites to raise money for their charitable cause, independent films use it to raise monetary back for their projects and the list goes on and on.

Before you reach out and begin “campaigning,” so to speak, make sure to perform your due diligence and research which fundraising method will work best for you. It seems simple enough to watch others become funded and think the same course will work for you. However, keep in mind that each campaign is unique with its own set of goals and measurements of achievement, which means that you will have different means of reaching success.

At the end of the day when you’re creating a profile on either of these sites, you want to make your story stand out. That’s one thing that all successful campaigns on Indiegogo and Kickstarter have in common.

So, then the question remains: how to decide between Indiegogo vs. Kickstarter?

Indiegogo — The Good and Bad

Indiegogo is not as well-known as its competitor, but it has its own appeal for entrepreneurs who want to jump start their business or launch a new product or invention.

Pros:

  • It’s free to set up a campaign. The site charges 5% on all funds raised, when your project begins to receive contributions.
  • More variety on the types of projects able to be submitted for funding. Kickstarter typically accepts creative projects dealing with the arts, media, technology, and design. If your business doesn’t distinctly fall into one of these categories, Indiegogo may be your better option.
  • Flexible funding means you get to keep every dollar you raise, even if you don’t reach your goal. Although you should plan for the best-case scenario of reaching your target, consider how you will allocate any money you receive if you do happen to come up short.

Cons:

  • Indiegogo is a lesser-known brand than Kickstarter and thus, may be harder to pick up traction or gain as large of an audience.

Kickstarter — The Good and Bad

Pros:

  • History of success; over 95,000 projects have been funded since their launch in 2009.
  • There is a built-in community with Kickstarter. For example, if you visit their website, it shows “new and noteworthy” Kickstarter campaigns for donors to review for consideration.
  • Prior to official launch, you can test your campaign and receive feedback. Your chosen focus group can help you work out the kinks and make sure it’s polished before it goes live to the world.

Cons:

  • Unfortunately, if your project doesn’t reach its goal, no money is collected. Also, Kickstarter does not currently take PayPal payments; Indiegogo does.

Any platform will have its pros and cons, but no matter which fundraising site you decide to use, it’s still up to you to promote your project. While you may receive backers from people you’ve yet to meet, your first supporters will be friends, family, and peers. Prior to setting up your project, determine what kind of promotion you want to do and set out a strategic marketing plan.

Keep in mind that when using social media, people can become fatigued if it feels like they’re just being sold to all the time. Brainstorm creative ways to share your story and make the actual act of donating appear secondary. If people confidently believe or support your idea it’s easier for them to want to contribute.

Think about your goal and how feasible it is to achieve. Since most monetary goals are in the thousands of dollars, you have to think who you’ll outreach to for the bigger donations. If you are dependent on family and friends alone, it’s not likely that you’ll reach your goal on Kickstarter and therefore, will not receive any funds. Research your target audience to ensure that your campaign gets in front of the right eyes.

Consider how you will spread the word. Will you set up an email campaign? Will you promote through a special Facebook page. Will the people you are targeting be more comfortable donating through a site that is more well known to them, such as Kickstarter, or is that not a factor when it comes to the audience you plan to target?

When it comes to deciding between Indiegogo vs Kickstarter, weigh your pros and cons and decide which one will fits your product, idea and campaign best. With careful planning and execution, you can launch a successful campaign and get the funding you need to take things to the next level.

What is a Minimum Viable Product?

It’s a tool for finding product market-fit (AKA when people love your product and/or want to pay you for it) Wikipedia some great info on when you’ve achieved product market fit.

It’s something you can change quickly.

According to Steve Blank “An MVP allows you to gain maximum amount of learning in the shortest amount of time”.

It’s a tool that helps you discover your early adopters, get early revenue, and gather data on the viability of your business. Whether you’re building a business to business application or a consumer facing app, an MVP is a critical tool for helping ensure you nail your startup’s business model before you invest in scaling.

Here are important aspects for discovering and building a useful Minimum Viable Product.

The prototyping team.

If you’re in a startup, chances are you’re burning through cash and that you need to move quickly from idea to revenue. Perhaps the most important aspect of any startup is it’s team. In the earliest stages, this team should consist of three types of people, the hacker, hustler, and designer. I won’t go too deep into each of these roles but it’s important to note that skills in sales and rapid prototyping are key to being able to move quickly and iterate on the design of your product during MVP development.

Build things that don’t scale.

Paul Graham, founder of Y Combinator, wrote an excellent article about the idea of building things that don’t scale. A common mistake entrepreneurs make is writing code too early and trying to build out a fully functional product. Depending on the market you’re attacking, you may be able to build a high-fidelity MVP that is really just a bunch of interconnected and clickable mockups. This could be enough of you to pre-sell early adopters without actually writing a single line of code.

Another option is to leverage existing services like WordPress and Google forms and create a version of your service that looks automated on the front end while in reality, you’re behind the curtain manually making the service run. The point here is to try and test whether someone will pay you to actually execute your value proposition.

Know what you’re measuring.

When I’m testing a B2B Saas business, I often use a version of the High-fidelity MVP to try and get early adopters to either sign a letter of intent or pre pay me to build the service. In this case, I’m measuring the number of customers I talk to who are actually willing to pay. However, when building say the next Twitter, you might be testing ways to drive traffic to a landing page where you’re asking people to give you their e-mail to get on a waiting list. In this case you’re measuring conversion rates and you have a pass/fail metric that will help you determine whether the MVP is a success or not.

If you aren’t measuring and capturing data with you’re MVP, you’re going to have a tough time demonstrating the evidence for why your business will be viable.

Iterate

It’s important to remember that the MVP is not a final version of your product. Whether your MVP is actual code or clickable mockups, you’re not intending to keep any of the work you’re doing. You need to have mentality that the MVP is just a prototype that can be changed at anytime. This is why the prototyping team is so important at the earliest stages. You need people who move quickly and don’t get stuck in building something that’s perfect but rather something that gets you maximum learning in the shortest amount of time. When the evidence dictates you need to pivot, they’ll be ready to pull an all nighter and pump out the updated version.

But wait, How do I even decide where to start? and Can I start now with just a one person team?

In my work with startups, schools, and corporations, these are a questions I get all the time.

Start by talking to customers. If you’ve got an idea for a specific market, reach out to target users and ask them to tell you about the challenges they face. Try and focus on their pain points and then sketch out your first MVP on the back of a napkin. Then get feedback from the user. Repeat this ten times until you have a good understanding of the pain you’re trying to solve. This will help you have a much better understanding of what MVP you should try to build first.

A huge part of being an entrepreneur is being able to recruit talented people to join you. You’re constantly selling your vision and mission to potential partners and employees and asking them to give up cash and opportunity to follow you into your startup. That said, it is possible to start building your startup with just a one man team. In our One Month MVP course, I’ll dive deep into the steps you need to take to help sell, design, and build your first MVP without writing a single line of code. If you’re working alone or with the ideal prototyping team you’ll be able to use the evidence you gathered and the prototypes you build to help sell your vision to investors, partners, and you’re first customers.