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Idea to MVP

Idea to MVP

Simple steps to get an idea off the ground and start building momentum.

Matthew Busel
February 24, 2022

Create accountability

Create a landing page

Add value in targeted communities

Interview 20 targeted potential users

Find a partner

Build an MVP

Generate traction

Last week, an impressive friend of mine came to me with an idea. He had an ambitious vision for the future but was struggling with what to do next. Anyone remotely interested in entrepreneurship has been there. You have this idea you can’t stop thinking about, but you’re unsure how to make it a reality.

At Whalesync, we certainly haven’t figured everything out, but we do know how to turn an idea into a product with real customers. Getting something off the ground can be confusing. Here are the steps I shared with my friend to convert his idea to an MVP and start building momentum.

1. Create accountability

  • Join a community that holds you accountable to make progress on the idea.
  • Ensure the idea doesn’t die slowly from neglect.
  • Pioneer worked for me. YC Startup School worked for my co-founder Curtis.

2. Create a landing page

  • Throw up a landing page with a sign-up form, so you have a page you can share with others.
  • Start collecting emails of people who are interested.
  • I like Webflow, but Typedream or Carrd are other simpler options.

3. Add value in targeted communities

  • Hopefully, you’re already a member of communities you’re interested in - if not join them (Discord, Slack, Facebook, Reddit, etc.)
  • Give to the community by authentically posting, sharing, commenting, etc.
  • Share what you’re working on and see if others are excited about it as well

4. Interview 20 targeted potential users

  • Identify a very specific group you want to build for (eg. health tech fanatics, enterprise sales leaders, etc.)
  • Find these people in your network or the targeted communities and ask if they have a few minutes for a quick interview
  • Use principles from The Mom Test to ensure interview results are valid
  • Record the interviews (Grain, Dovetail, for review afterward
  • After ~5 interviews, start looking for patterns or interesting tidbits

5. Find a partner

6. Build an MVP

  • Use the  learnings from your user interviews to create a scrappy MVP
  • The goal of the MVP is to advance your learnings, not to produce a perfect experience
  • This could be as simple as a form with some manual work on the other end - do things that don’t scale
  • The second iteration may be a no-code app, but first optimize for speed + learning

7. Generate traction

  • Improve the MVP by repeating steps 2-6
  • Update the landing page, share your learnings in communities, interview more targeted people, and improve the MVP
  • Best traction = getting paid users
  • Other traction options → get into an accelerator, get an established advisor, etc.
Matthew Busel

Matthew is the co-founder of Whalesync and author of the book Game Changer.

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