Entrepreneurs and early-stage startups frequently contact us to help them turn their ideas into reality. Our most important purpose is to reduce their risk of failure as much as possible. Therefore, we need to understand how thoroughly they have researched the problem, the market, the user, and the best moment to launch an MVP (the first version of their product).
At that moment, these are some questions we ask ourselves and to entrepreneurs:
1. What is the nature of the problem/opportunity?
It’s time for the problem to become objective. This means that it will have to be understood beyond one's own experiences.
We have to consider, among the main characteristics of the problem:
- Popularity: how many people suffer this pain?
- Growth: is the problem getting bigger over time?
- Urgency: must the problem be solved now?
- Frequency: how repetitive is the problem in people's lives?
- Expensiveness: what is the economic impact of this problem?
2. Are there competitors, complementary products, and/or indirect competitors?
Understanding how the problem is solved today is essential because it is key to building outstanding value. It also gives us a hint on how deep the entrepreneur understands the situation. Has the entrepreneur tested these other solutions? Has the entrepreneur talked to other solutions’ users?
3. Who are the potential consumers?
It’s important to talk to at least 20 potential customers. This will help us generate:
- Testimonials indicating what users need and what they are looking for.
- New perspectives, which we may have never evaluated before.
- Relevant data for potential partners or investors.
- Hierarchical order to know what is a priority and what is secondary.
Many entrepreneurs face the fear of telling the world about their idea because they feel someone will get there before them. We know that feeling is totally natural, but we suggest sharing the idea with the correct people. If you are an entrepreneur with a product idea, talking to family and friends is a good way to at least know if you are being understood. Then, once you feel confident your communication is clear, you could reach a wider circle of people in the nitch you are going for. That will not guarantee success, but it will give you a sense of what this nitch expects.
4. Do we have a team?
It’s not easy to implement a business idea. Few are the cases where solo founders reach full potential and success. In most cases, success comes together with a great team of founders with complementary skills that can take care of all (or many) of the business areas.
If your team doesn't have the tech skills, you will need a professional team to solve your software needs.
5. How are we going to generate revenue?
Many times we listen to wonderful ideas. However, have you thought about how many people would be willing to pay for them? One of the biggest challenges is to monetize ideas.
6. What is the product potential?
The first question entrepreneurs should ask themselves is: is it worth the effort? Where can we get to with this product in 2 years? How about 5 years from now?
Maybe the founders are not aspiring to be the next Airbnb, but for sure, it's necessary to understand what they're aiming for to settle expectations.
7. How complex is the solution?
It is always important to know beforehand the technical complexity of what we're trying to build. We recommend that an MVP should be developed in no more than 2 - 3 months. Otherwise, it kind of loses its purpose of reducing risks.
But when it comes to launching a product, the technical efforts are not the only efforts.
What about sales, marketing, and operations? We must consider this before advancing with development, and we should add it to our roadmap.
It’s necessary to answer all these questions before the development of the MVP. This will help reduce the risk of failure, understand efforts, and align expectations.
From eagerworks, we will share all our learnings and know-how from more than 45 projects to complement your initial research. Thus, we will help you make the wisest decisions to launch the first version of your product. And this includes, if necessary, even recommending going after an MVP that does not necessarily require software development.
If you wish to share your idea with us, we are eager to listen carefully.