Ideas are nothing if they just sit in your head or in your idea journal. They worth as much as the used paper they’re on. Unless you get someone you don’t know to touch it and feel it and respond, it’ll never be worth anything and you’ll never know anything.
When building your MVP, focus wins.
Minimum viable products ( in this case web apps) save you time building a useless product in the dark, money blown on something nobody wants, and the precious momentum you need to launch. It takes a special use case for this not to be true. That’s why this article focuses on 3 things:
- Know It: Make sure you know exactly what you want your app to do, ins and outs and everything.
- Don’t Build Everything: Search for existing products that can supplement your app (either for now or forever)
- Keep It Small: Building features means at least 3x more work.
Know Your Own Thing
Ideas are kind of like the ocean tides. They are always evolving or growing or diminishing. When you pick your idea, then you have to work it like a ball of dough. You have to do some research to find out what’s out there already and if there’s really a need for what you want to do.
Let’s say you have some interest from people you’ve talked to and it looks like there’s nothing out there that is exactly what you want to do. (Side note — it’s okay if there is something out there that’s exactly the same. You just have to decide what you’re going to do better. Customer service? User experience? Cheaper? More expensive? Your idea doesn’t have to be unique, but it’s got to be better enough for someone to pay you and not them).
The more you know, the faster you can go and the more money you’ll save.
The clearer your vision is of how your app is going to work, the easier it will be to make some good progress fast. Find a friend that could just listen and ask questions to help you flesh out your idea. Write an article of what you think your app would be like and try to get people to read it. In my experience, people are too busy to steal your idea that doesn’t have any results.
The last bit I’ll say about this section is that you should also make a road map of features you think you want to build and where you want your app to go. There’s a good chance you’ll be wrong so don’t spend too much time thinking about this, probably one brain-storming session would be fine. But it’s good to have a general direction of where you think your app’s journey will go.
Don’t Build Everything
Developers try to build everything their MVP is going to need. That turns into a nightmare. There are already free ways to put a form on your site and collect information. There are already several free chat options to choose from. There are already free (or almost free) ways to be notified by text when someone does something. There’s already a ton of solutions out there that you don’t need to rebuild, and build it worse than they did.
Your job is to build the unique or better thing you have your sights set on.
With API’s you can link together pretty much everything you need and still be able to only focus on the part you’re going to focus on.
It’s going to take some discipline, especially if you can code, but make sure to now lose focus of what is going to make people think, “Oh ya, [your app] is so much better!”
Keep It Simple
When people haven’t thought about whatever idea you have for as long as you have, it takes them a minute to get it. I’ve seen this time and time again where the homepage “couldn’t be simpler” and visitors get stuck and leave because they don’t know what to do.
“My app is intuitive” is probably false. It needs to be so simple, a 7-year-old could figure it out. Because people are busy and the last thing they want to do is think when they get to your site or app. When using your app, people don’t want to search around for how to update their email preferences. Get a FAQ page up quick.
So this is kind of a tricky balance — keep it simple and make it intuitive. It requires you to know exactly what you’re going to offer right out of the gate and makes you stick to it. If a visitor to your website sees one benefit, then goes to your app and they can do a few things to help them realize that benefit, they will love your app.
So don’t go too fast. Don’t skip the step(s) of planning and sketching and reorganizing. Make sure your idea is clear and someone can understand what you have to offer, why they should use it, how they can sign up, and what to do to start using it. If you nail those, you’ll be golden.