You may not have established your company. You may not have developed your product yet. But you have an idea. Moreover, you can visualize your project in works, you can imagine its results – that means that you have a vision that drives your ambitions. So what are the stages which lead to the creation of your product?
Stage 1 – The Idea
The mission of your new-born company defines the core of your business like nothing else. Consequently, the mission is defined by your startup idea, that beautiful thing that kicked off your journey into the world of entrepreneurship.
(picture source – https://www.askbypoll.com)
Since this journey has begun, it’s time to act without further ado. There’s positively no time to lose – quite often startups have to rapidly showcase how their idea is turning into something tangible. However, it’s fair to say that building an app or a website from scratch may turn into a challenging and time-consuming task. In order to avoid wasting any time, one should have a clear vision of how ideas are turning into products. So now you’ve got something to work on and you want it to be developed. What is the next step?
Stage 2 – Requirements analysis and UX\UI Design
Requirements analysis plays a vital role at this stage, especially, if you’re intending to find a technological partner for implementation. Provide any detailed information as you can. Both minor and major specs for your product must be enlisted:
- Briefly, describe the product/service concept.
- What are the main business goals the product/service should help to reach?
- What audience are you expecting (their income, gender, age)? How will they use your product/service? What actions will they take?
- What features should be used in your product/service (contact form, pictures, video, etc.)?
- Do you have wireframes/mockups?
- Do you have any creative/design specifications?
- Have you seen another product/service performing a similar function? If so please provide links and details.
- Are there any specific technical requirements?
- Do you have any additional security requirements? (e.g. encryption, data, caching, etc)
- What is your deadline for the project?
- Are there any budget limits?
These are the basic questions for your consideration. And the final recommendation: the more detailed information you provide, the better result your technology partner delivers.
Let’s move on to design now.
Design always plays an important role because it makes possible to visualize the image in your head. Plus, you can receive feedback on the idea – and these insights are crucial during the early life of your venture. For instance, startups like GitHub, Airbnb, and SquareFitbit have all put design at the core of their business, and this strategy is bringing awesome results now.
(picture source – https://startupsthisishowdesignworks.com/)
Finally, it is the first step for creating an interactive clickable prototype, which is the important factor for attracting investors. As they are the people who evaluate your idea, make sure they will like they’ll see.
Being in a startup phase, you have to be very careful in your spendings. Surely, this rule (“don’t burn your savings too fast”) applies for creating designs too. The majority of startup owners try to save money and prepare designs by their own means. And there’s nothing wrong here – it provides a clear picture of your product or service, and (sometimes) really saves time and money. “Why sometimes?” – you may ask yourself. Because it’s necessary to understand that sketches – even if you think they look good – are in most cases just self-made drafts, non-professional designs which won’t take you further from the initial phase. So before you move to the next step, try to find a professional designer who will help you to come up with a decent design.
As a matter of fact, professional designers take into account user experience, the latest trends in design, and they have the ability to make a high-quality prototype. These points count, so don’t think twice here.
Stage 3 – MVP Development
Is your product able to satisfy users’ expectations and meet your business needs? Hopefully, there is a way to get the answer without spending huge amounts of money and time resources. In order to avoid investing into the full-feature product, one should resort to business idea verification. And the best practice here is adapting the “Minimum Viable Product” approach”.
What is an MVP anyway?
Eric Ries, an American entrepreneur, blogger, and author has defined this approach in his book “The Lean Start-Up“: “The minimum viable product (further – MVP) is that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort“.
In other words, making an MVP is a good practice for startups because it provides you with some relevant feedback from both investors and the market. Let’s dissect the term:
M – (minimum) means affordable, so you won’t spends much.
V – (viable) stands for beneficial and functional. Your product has to be minimum yet viable.
P – (product) is simply your product. As now it is going to be introduced to the market, it must have worthy quality. Minor bugs are generally tolerated, but not critical issues.
The first step of an MVP creation is to determine some key features that set the value for the product. As already stated, development specifications have to be comprehensive and clear. These must-have functionalities for the MVP can be specified by:
- Target audience. The general public may dislike the product so the wrong feedback will ruin both your mood and impression. This way, the target group is that something to rely on. The audience of this group should have an equal necessity in the product and have a common problem to solve.
- The problem. Any product has to define the range of problems and it should be capable of solving it. When a problem is specified, it’s easier to discuss the set of the essential features which are going to be embedded in the initial product version.
The process of making a list of features for the MVP should be well-defined. Let’s pretend you want to create a booking application. What is the core function for this type of apps? It’s obvious: to provide booking. So this feature has to be implemented in the MVP. Some additional functions should be added later as there’s no need to highlight additional feature options during this stage.
Prioritization is the key here. Sometimes its principles are being neglected, and, consequently, it leads to a poorly-delivered MVP unable to do what it was planned for. It happens because companies concentrate on delivering as many features as possible forgetting about that all of them will be sooner or later morphed into a final product. Again, quite often, startuppers feel the need to find a partner to develop an MVP. The only rule is that your future software development partner has to be interested in your success. This interest means commitment and professionalism. Your future product’s success must be your mutual goal.
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