Becoming a Founder 101: The First Steps to Building an MVP

Building an MVP can often be a challenge for startups. However, if you pay attention to the smaller details of your product, you will have a much easier time working on an MVP.

A lot of startups in the early phases of startup development often focus on product design and user experience first. This is a grave mistake that can create many problems for your startup as it grows.

As much as these things are important, you also need to pay attention to something else: building an MVP. While working on building an MVP, you need to keep in mind a few key things that could make your life much easier.

And if done correctly, it can help you build an MVP much faster than expected.

Here’s how to design and create a perfect MVP from the very beginning:

What is an MVP?

Before we move forward, let’s discuss what exactly an MVP is. 

In short, it’s something that works and helps your startup grow by getting customers and revenues. In a more technical term, you can describe an MVP as the simplest version of your product or service that people are willing to use. It makes sure that all the core functionalities are working properly to make sure that there aren’t any bugs in the system that can hinder your product from getting to its next level.

More on this later!

Think about it as a picture, while designing an MVP you first need to draw the blank canvas and sketch all the images inside it. Once you have done that, you add color to make it more appealing for people who will be looking at the final product.

To make it work, you need to have a proper application architecture and backend that will enable users on your site to enjoy all the features of your MVP.

Building an MVP doesn’t necessarily mean cutting out some features or products from your app/website. Instead, you can choose to create a simplified version of the product that will work perfectly for you. In short, it’s something that defines your core user base so that you can get an idea of how they use your app or website and make necessary changes.

It’s always a good practice to start building an MVP even in the early stages of startup development. Make sure to include them in all stages of your product development. 

When you are ready to make a move towards the bigger picture, then you can simply add more features and functionalities that will get you closer to your final goal. We can always call this process scaling up!

#1 Set a Proper Goal for Yourself

What motivates your startup? Is it getting featured on the top tech blogs? Is it getting acquired by a big company? Or is it starting your own successful startup that will bring you fame and fortune?

For us at Vermillion Sky, the goal that we push on our startup founders is to create something useful for people who have money. We know that a lot of startups have different goals, and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, if you are looking to grow your business and build the right foundation for it; then you need to have a proper vision.

When we start new projects with our startup founders, we make sure that they first set up their goal in the front so that they can avoid any struggles that might come their way. There are a lot of different methods you can use to set up your goal, but here’s what we suggest:

Basically, these goals should serve as a guideline for you during your entire startup journey. If nothing else, it will keep you on the track and motivate you to reach higher.

#1.1 Set a Realistic Goal

When I say realistic, I mean setting up a goal that you can actually achieve. For example, let’s use the goal of your startup making 1 million dollars in revenues and profits within a year. Of course, this is achievable if you have some extra time to make it happen! But what if you don’t have enough money, time, and resources?

You will definitely struggle to reach that goal in the fixed time frame. So what exactly do you do if you want to make a profit out of your startup? Make sure to set up a realistic goal that helps you achieve higher each day!

Maybe your website has 1000 visitors per day and makes around $50 in profits. You are taking baby steps, but it’s a start! If you can double the number by adding more features; then why not do that?

Even if your startup is making less than $50 per day, you shouldn’t feel discouraged and give up on your dream. The goal of your startup should always align with your resources and capabilities, that way you can be sure to reach it with hardly any effort.

#1.2 Set an Achievable Goal

If you set up a goal that is almost impossible to achieve in the fixed time-frame, chances are you will get frustrated and give up on your project altogether. It’s not like your goal has to be a walk in the park for you. But it should give you something to strive towards on your journey.

The only way you will be able to set up that goal is by analyzing all of your resources and capabilities first. Then, think about how much time and effort are required from you and what benefits or outcomes you can expect to get out of your efforts.

It all comes down to the way you set up your goal in the first place. If it’s too much, then you will end up being discouraged and stressed out. Just remember that setting an achievable goal is a part of proper planning as well! So make sure to plan ahead before you start anything.

#2 Know Why You Are Starting on This Journey

Now that your goal and vision are set, you need to decide why exactly are you putting all of this hard work in the first place. 

Are you trying to make some extra money out of something? 

Maybe you want to see how far can people go with your idea without you interfering with it. 

Or perhaps you want to have your own startup empire that makes lots of money? 

Well, whatever the reasons are; make sure you know what drives you towards this goal. Because if you don’t then you will be seeking motivation and support from other places and people instead of yourself!

What happens when we don’t have strong enough motivation? We get easily distracted by external factors and lose our focus. And try as we might, we can’t seem to get things done!

It’s funny how many people don’t know why are they doing something in the first place. They just assume it’s because of their passion and drive that drives them towards their goal. 

But that’s rarely the case! If this is you, then ask yourself why do you want to achieve it? What are your intentions behind it? And what’s in for you once you reach it?

Once you answer these questions and start believing in your own answers -that’s when things get really exciting- because now you have something to drive you towards your goals!

#3 Believe That You Can Achieve It

If it’s a goal that means something to you, then there is no reason why you can’t achieve it. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Everyone has the potential to do anything as long as they put their mind to it!

If this is your first time starting a startup, then you might be having doubts about yourself. Don’t let those thoughts get into your head and ruin the fun! This is an exciting journey that has its own challenges and obstacles. And if you keep thinking negatively about yourself then you are just setting yourself up for failure.

Don’t worry; if this is your first time, then you should be excited and looking forward to it! Because this is just the beginning of your journey.

Don’t forget that a lot of successful and motivated people were once in your place. They had their own doubts and thought negatively about themselves as well. But they didn’t let those limiting thoughts get into their head; they kept moving forward and stepping towards their goals.

And now you can be one of them! All it takes is to believe in yourself and not give up when things get hard. Because if you do, then you are setting yourself up for failure before even starting on your startup journey.

Keep these thoughts in your head whenever you feel like giving up or being afraid of something. Believe that you can do it and go for it!

#4 Keep Your Vision in Mind

One of the best things you can do when setting up a goal for your startup is to keep your vision in mind. This’ll be a great reminder and motivation that you will have whenever you feel discouraged or doubtful about your future. 

Have a picture of it close by or write down an idea of what you want to achieve and hang it somewhere you can see it daily. This’ll be great for your motivation levels!

But make sure that the vision is achievable. Don’t have a goal to sell 1,000 units of your product in just one month if you haven’t sold any until now. It’s better to aim low sometimes because that only gives you more room to grow and make your startup even better.

You might be thinking that achieving a goal is hard. But having an idea of where you want to go and what you want to achieve, it makes the whole experience fun! Not something that feels like a chore or obligation!

#5 Set Up a Timeline

When you have your vision in mind and know what it is that you want to achieve; the next step is to set up a timeline. A realistic timeline of how long it’ll take you to reach your destination.

Doesn’t matter if this is one month or three months, just make sure that it’s a time frame that you can stick with. This way, you’ll be able to keep track of your progress and see how far have you progressed in achieving your dream.

What’s great about setting up a timeline is that it gives you something to work towards every single day when it comes to working on your product, business, or startup. It’s a great motivation tool that’ll make you keep going even when things are hard and you feel like giving up.

#6 Make Sure You Have All Your Tools Ready

Now that you have your vision set, time frame ready to go, it’s now the best time to make sure you have all your tools associated with starting your startup. Some common tools that you’ll need are a laptop or computer, a marketing plan, and money.

Turns out, all these things will cost you money. And if you don’t have any particularly saved up; then it’s best to start looking for some ways to raise the cash!

The best thing to do is to look around your house for anything valuable that you can sell. You might be surprised by how much money you can make from selling your old gadgets and stuff!

You also want to start looking for ways to market your startup through online ads or some other form of marketing. Because if no one knows about what it is that you’re offering, then how are they going to buy it?

You could also look for some investors to back your product. Just remember, that’ll be hard! And if you don’t have a minimum viable product ready or the skills to persuade someone into investing in you; then it’s best not to try it.

If you want to know more about raising money on your idea and how much it’ll cost you; then there’s a great article on Startups.co. It’ll teach you everything that you need to know about starting a startup and the costs associated with it!

#7 Create Your Minimum Viable Product

Last, but certainly not least is creating your minimum viable product. That’ll be the cornerstone of your startup. The thing that will make people see that you’re capable of delivering what it is that they are looking for. And if done correctly; then you’ll have an edge over all the other startups out there!

The minimum viable product is where all the money and time come together to create something useful for people to use. Before you start working on your minimum viable product, it’s best to have a prototype ready. By doing this; you’ll be able to look over some of the basic flaws and issues that might occur during usage by actual people.

Now if creating a minimum viable product is new to you; then there’s plenty of information on the internet! Start with Wikipedia and get an understanding of how minimum viable products work and their basic idea.  It’s also a great way to learn the jargon and what it is that you’ll be dealing with when developing your minimum viable product!

#8 Start Marketing Your Minimum Viable Product

You’ve finally built something that people can use! But it’s not enough just to have something for people to use. If you want your minimum viable product to be successful; then it’s best to start marketing it!

This means figuring out what is the best way to market your product! Do some research and see which methods work and which don’t. That’ll help you save money in the long run by not doing things that will just waste your time and effort!

The best way to find out what works and what doesn’t is by testing. So create some minimum viable products (MVPs) with different marketing techniques and start trying them. You’ll figure out which ones work and which don’t, depending on your budget, product, and goals; you can then start developing minimum viable products that are targeted to the customers who will buy them.

When it comes to minimum viable products and marketing, there’s no real technique or method for success. Just a lot of trial and error until you find what works best for you!

Whether you’re selling a digital product online or you run a brick-and-mortar business, these principles will work for you. The minimum viable product is the crux of building any startup; it’s what differentiates between an idea with the potential to be successful and one that flops before even getting off the ground! If all this sounds intimidating, but still something that might interest you, we’re here to offer our expertise in helping create minimum viable products (MVPs) while also considering how your customers think so that they’ll buy them without fail. Reach out today if this article has piqued your interest or you’re ready to get your minimum viable product going.

We’d love to help!

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Vermillion Sky is an award-winning mobile and web development company that can help you build your next project. Our team of experts will work with you to create a custom experience that fits your needs, budget, and timeline. Whether it’s building an app from scratch or improving on one we already have, our goal is to make sure every client has the best possible experience when working with us.

Author avatar
Ken Vermeille
https://vermillionsky.flywheelsites.com
The founder and CEO of Vermillion Sky. Ken Vermeille has 15 years of experience in product design and development. Creating his first website at 12 years old, he continues to build his talents by leveraging his ability to learn and implement any technology. In the past he's worked on mobile and web apps, video games, augmented reality, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, business model generation, and anything to keep Vermillion Sky at the cutting edge of product design and development.

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