First of all, when we start building from scratch, we use an MVP (Minimum Viable Product). An MVP is a product with the highest return of investment versus risk. Not to be mistaken with a mockup or a prototype, the MVP is a functional product that, even if it has fewer features, those features are well built and fully functional. As a one-size-fits-all MVP does not exist, it should be adapted to the industry you are in, the problem you are trying to solve and the competition that you have. With that being said, when deciding on the features that your Version 1 should have, we must go through the following process:
- We separate the must have features from the nice to have features. Fewer features mean that you can launch and market the product faster, validate your idea and get feedback from your customers on what you should improve or add to your product. It’s always important to take into consideration your customers’ opinions as what you might think is a core feature might not be as important for your clients and vice-versa, and this has a direct impact on the future versions of your product.
- We choose just one market segment to start. This market segment will represent your early adopters, and you should focus on solving their problems from the first day you launch your MVP. This will help you get the right product fit. After that, you can scale up.
- You should adapt your business strategy according to your audience. There are two scenarios: you are either entering an untapped market or a (well) served one. If you are dealing with an untapped audience (quite rare nowadays, when technology is evolving so fast), you are fortunate as there is no competition, you have the freedom to experiment, and your audience is a lot more forgiving. Unfortunately, no competition also means that you can’t learn from what others are doing and you have to rely on your judgement of what is best. Also, you should prepare for a lot of copycats. On the other hand, if you are dealing with a served market, you have to be better than your competitors. This means that when you are building your MVP, even if you are choosing just the core features for your product, you may end up with a not very short list, compared with the untapped market scenario where you might only need to do one thing right.