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MVP Guide – TURNING ASSUMPTIONS INTO FACTS.

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MVP ( Minimum Viable Product )

The purpose of this e-book is to level up your startup game right from the beginning. It’s not just about developing an MVP, rather, it’s about creating your MVP in the most optimized way possible with a goal of TURNING ASSUMPTIONS INTO FACTS.

MVP ( Minimum Viable Product )

INTRODUCTION

  1. Failure rate and reason around product dev why startups fail
  2. Overscaling technology and no MVP strategy
  3. Showing how to properly scale with Buffer
  4. Proper MVP strategy – goal of turning assumptions into facts
  5. Steps to reach an MVP and beyond

http://arkenea.com/blog/outsourced-product-development/

http://fourhourworkweek.com/2011/09/24/how-to-create-a-million-dollar-business-this-weekend-examples-appsumo-mint-chihuahuas/

The process of launching a startup is not as glamorous as the media and outsiders make it out to be. This Huffington Post study shows that 95% of startups fail within the few years of operation with many failure trends pointing towards product development strategy and execution. Startup founders are often so consumed with their idea and long term vision that they simply don’t bother to turn their “assumptions into facts”, which leads to failure or major setbacks. A common way of validating what you are doing is by launching an MVP product as quickly as possible and gathering real data and feedback,

In order to get something to market, one needs a plan of action. When it comes to launching a startup, a founder for the most part is thinking about creating a unique product that hasn’t gone to market yet. This approach often leads to the startup founder over-scaling the product and adding features that might not be necessarily out the gate. If a founding team’s MVP strategy is not on point, founders might find themselves developing unnecessary features while wasting valuable time and money. Build something small that will give you insight into where you should go next; collect the clues that will lead you on the path to your ultimate goal … PRODUCT MARKET FIT

Buffer MVP

For instance, when Buffer, a content management / distribution platform for social media channels, was launched in 2010, the company did not cover all the social media platforms that it does today. When they launched the product, Buffer could only share content to Twitter. As the user base scaled and they collected more and more data validating their model, they added Facebook and LinkedIn. They then added Pinterest. A few months back, Buffer rolled out their latest update and added Instagram sharing to their feature arsenal. If you’re looking to see what is meant by a content management system, find out here.

As a non-technical founder crafting the vision for your product, more often than not, your MVP strategy is over-scaled. This means that your MVP is not truly an MVP (remember MVP means the most minimal viable product that will allow you to gather enough data to make an educated decision on your next move). No matter what it is that you are building, there should always be some sort of MVP strategy and long-term vision.

At such an early stage, your long term strategy will most likely change, but with a well-positioned MVP, you will at least be in a position to change and pivot strategically. The development of an MVP product takes foresight and agile decision making, thus allowing you to make changes on the fly while getting your product to market as quickly as possible. Remember, athletes must adjust!

Athletes Adjust

The basic idea of MVP development is understanding truly what your initial product entails, how and who you are going to develop the product with and lastly what data you will be collecting to validate your assumptions. This e-book focuses on the most effective steps to take with product development.

Optimal Process of MVP dev

  1. Concept / Ideation – Responsibility of Founder
    1. Identifying a need
    2. Crafting a vision to address the need
  2. Design / Prototype Ready – Used to bring on board a technical advisor and dev team (the project is becoming more real)
    1. This time is used to take your robust concept and hone in on the MVP under the directions of an advisor or Technical team
  3. MVP Development – With Technical Advisors or MVP specialized Outsourced Team
    1. Technical advisor helps hone in on the MVP strategy
    2. If no technical advisor, find a company that specializes in MVP product development
      1. e. Building Blocks
    3. Work with this team throughout the MVP launch
  4. MVP Ready –
    1. Post beta launch, used to inspire a technical co-founder to come on board / raise pre-seed money … outsourced team is under the direction of the newly instated CTO / Technical co-founder
    2. This is the time to back your assumptions with data under the direction of a CTO…also used to make early product iterations
    3. Used to raise funding

Four execution strategies that can lead you to your desired MVP product:

Minimum Viable Product Strategy

  • Concept and ideation

    1. Startup is a very early stage and for the most part should work with a freelancer to develop some sort of design prototype
    2. Goal with this is to get feedback on the concept using a functional design prototype…once you have a significant level of validation and possible funding interest, shop around with development agencies
    3. If this prototype product development period provided you with enough leverage (received an LOI or funding commits, etc.) to inspire a CTO to join for equity, then negotiate a good equity compensation plan and allow him / her to lead product…
      • Most technical co-founders being brought on board will ask for a equity / cash incentives…if you have no leverage, you can give up to much, too early…
    4. Even if a technical co-founder has been brought on, run a cost-benefit-time analysis of your CTO coding everything or your CTO working in more of an advisory capacity with an outsourced team on the MVP build out

Also Read: How to Sketch – 15 Tips For Better Sketches That Come to Life

  • Design/ Prototype Ready

    1. You Know what you want to build
    2. Have received feedback from people in the industry that this is an idea worth pursuing
    3. This time is used to take your robust concept and hone in on the MVP under the directions of an advisor or Technical team
    4. Initial investment to build an MVP with an outsourced agency is the answer…
  • MVP Development – With Technical Advisors or MVP specialized Outsourced Team

    1. Here a technical advisor helps hone in on the MVP strategy
    2. If no technical advisor, find a company that specializes in MVP product development.
      • Building Blocks is a great example for a company that specializes in developing and finding opportunities for their clients to help increase efficiency and revenue.
    3. Working with this team throughout the MVP launch
  • MVP ready

    1. Raise funds to create the MVP with the aid of an an outsourced agency
    2. At this point, it is worth finding a technical co-founder and allowing him to provide directions on future product strategy
      • Your outsourced team has now worked on the initial product and knows it well being that they built the initial MVP
      • Keeping them on board as long as you can will maintain your competitive edge, so long as they work cohesively with your CTO and communication is on point.

When a founder pairs a technical advisor with a competent outsourced team, the company receives the following benefits:

The question then becomes, how do you get the ideas in your head across to an industry veteran? The bigger question is then how do you inspire this industry veteran to give you his time and attention. Our goal is to help you get to the point where you can confidently approach an industry expert and bring him/her on board as a strategic resource. The process outlined below will also allow you communicate your vision and mission to whatever team you eventually bring on board to build your product.

How to turn your thoughts into a presentable prototype –

presentable prototype

  1. The Ideation Phase

It’s the beginning stage where the concept of the startup shapes up. It’s the actual stepping stone to creating the MVP where the idea is discussed, analyzed, and finalized. In the given situation where an outsourcing team is being hired to work on the MVP, the role of a technical advisor may not be necessary. However, a little tuning up the overall product development strategy without bringing a drastic change in the ideation could be possible.

Let’s break down the ideation phase:

  • Identifying a Need

The ideation phase of a startup begins with a thorough needs identification analysis. This phase is when you seek to understand the pain points that are felt by your prospective market. Check out this article by Tim Ferriss on taking an idea from concept to product in just a few days.

  • Creating a Solution

This is the phase when an entrepreneur seeks to find a solution to a specific need that is not being provided currently or a need that has not been addressed as effectively as it could. When it comes to honing in on a product or solution that addresses the need you have identified, one must think in terms of an MVP (Minimum Viable Product). What is the most basic product I can create to address the most fundamental needs that this market has?

  • Shaping a company

After the successful need identification and creating a solution, the entrepreneur decides to finally go one step forward to start the company. The entrepreneur begins to dive deeper into the value that he/she will be creating and seeks to find out if someone will pay for such value and if so, how much? Here, the MVP helps you move forward, as technically, it is the final product in its most minimal form. You can clearly judge within the short time after its release if it will turn out to be profitable or not. This helps in saving valuable time and deciding whether it is justified to invest further time and resources into this product or to start working on the next one to build.

source

In this hypothetical startup life-stage, we can see that the journey of a startup begins at the ideation stage.

The ideation phase is pretty much the founder’s domain to work on. You can’t hire someone to create the idea for you. There is no point of working on someone else’s idea. This is the part where the founder ponders to finally give the idea a go.

  1. Design Prototypes

At this point, the idea is in your head and you are looking to get it out. Take out a piece of paper and try to draw out your idea. For example, if the idea is for a new mobile app concept, print out the following template and draw out your idea no matter how messy it might be. Take notes in the margins and think of the various ways a user might interact and use the app … simply get your ideas onto this piece of paper. The goal is to articulate what was in your head onto a piece of paper through pencilled images and descriptions. Let’s break down.

This is the stage where the product goes from an ideation state to a more tangible product. In this phase, a working product is non-existent, rather, this is where you can create design mockups through software or starting as simply as on the back of a napkin in pen. The goal is lay out how the software or product will function if a user were to operate it. A founder can do this or hire someone for really cheap who can put together wireframe mockups. This is not to be mistaken with an MVP. This Fast Company article by Michael Grothaus on developing prototypes can help you go from idea to tangible concept in less than 24 hours. Usually, prototype designing starts with wireframing:

  • Wireframing the concept

The goal of a wireframing phase is to outline and identify the core functionality needed for an MVP product. The wireframing process refers to the creation of a user flow (in this case, a mobile application user flow) to explain how someone will click through an application. Wireframing is essentially creating the backbone of an application with little or no regard for high fidelity design.

A few tools one can use are the following when :

https://balsamiq.com/

https://www.axure.com/

https://www.justinmind.com/

https://www.sketchapp.com/ (can be used in high fidelity or wireframing)

  • Sufficiency Analysis

MVP Long Term Minimum Viable Product

It’s a study that elaborates how effective the product could be. It analyzes the application capability. It contributes to finding the areas where the app lacks and help us understand that how a finished product could be made better.

  • Creating the Prototype

Once the barebone wireframes have been put together, it’s now time to create a more functional prototype. We recommend hiring a freelance designer to take your wireframes and create actual screens. A great way to get your design vision across to this designer is to put together a list of comparable designs (logos, apps, websites, buttons, looks, feels, etc.). In this day and age, nothing is truly original, so find a bunch of stuff that you like and have your designer go to town with his / her creativity!

At this stage during the prototype development phase, the prototype does get developed in order to get the procedure going.

When the screens are completed, make sure that your designer has created a functional prototype. This means using the design assets / screens that have been put together to create a clickable mockup. This can be done using InVision software (https://www.invisionapp.com/).

  • Evaluation and testing

One the prototype is built, here comes the evaluation process which is used to test the functionalities and features. This stage provides a thorough analysis of the product.

One your functional prototype is complete, it’s now time to get feedback. Although the product is not coded or actually built, you can still use your functional prototype to get feedback. If you have done everything right, your critic should be able to understand what the practical application is and the value they can get out of one day using your product.

  • Making adjustments

The prototype development phase ends at the stage where the adjustments are made to fine-tune the prototype for moving forward to the MVP phase.

Within software like InVision (https://www.invisionapp.com/), critics or those you have viewing your prototype, can make comments on specific screens. Use this “user feedback” to make adjustments to your prototype and fine-tune everything as you begin leading up to developing your product MVP.

To ensure that your product strategy is on point and you are not overscaling, use your functional prototype to approach an industry expert. Finding and bringing on board a technical advisor or mentor to provide insight is extremely valuable. Another direction is to seek an outsourced technical partner / firm that specializes in MVP product development. Firm’s of this nature as well as technical advisors can review your prototype, understand what it is you are looking to do, and help with product strategy. By getting yourself to this point, you have given yourself some leverage when speaking to either of these parties.

  1. Startup is a very early stage and for the most part should work with a freelancer to develop some sort of design prototype
  2. Goal with this is to get feedback on the concept using a functional design prototype…once you have a significant level of validation and possible funding interest, shop around with development agencies
  3. If this prototype design testing period provided you with enough leverage (received an LOI or funding commits, etc.) to inspire a CTO to join for equity, then negotiate a good equity compensation plan and allow him / her to lead product…
    • Most technical co-founders being brought on board will ask for a equity / cash incentives…if you have no leverage, you can give up to much, too early…
  4. Even if a technical co-founder has been brought on, run a cost-benefit-time analysis of your CTO coding everything or your CTO working in more of an advisory capacity with an outsourced team on the MVP build out

When seeking out third party product development firms, consider the following factors when deciding between onshore vs. offshore development companies:

  1. Budget
    • Fixed budgets vs. Hourly rates
    • Possibility of equity swap for development discount
  2. Communication / Collaboration
    • Ask about their processes of communication – how the teams communicate with clients and what tools they use to do so
  3. Portfolio
  4. Technical capabilities / expertise
  5. Testimonials
    • Make sure to ask for testimonials / references from clients in your timezone

As a startup, for the most part the most important factor for you is budget and the timeline to get you to market with your MVP product. Take into account all the factors above and shop around to see what company is the right fit for you. If you do end up working with an offshore partner, make sure that the company has an onshore presence – meaning that project management and / or product architecture is being done onshore. This is a hybrid model that allows you to reap the benefits of onshore communication and offshore competitive costing.

  • Design/ Prototype Ready
  1. You Know what you want to build
  2. Have received feedback from people in the industry that this is an idea worth pursuing
  3. This time is used to take your robust concept and hone in on the MVP under the directions of an advisor or Technical team
  4. Initial investment to build an MVP with an outsourced agency is the answer… (refer to vetting section below for details on where to go from here)
  • MVP Development – With Technical Advisors or MVP specialized Outsourced Team
  1. Here a technical advisor helps hone in on the MVP strategy
  2. If no technical advisor, find a company that specializes in MVP product development.
  3. Building Blocks is a great example for a company that specializes in developing and finding opportunities for their clients to help increase efficiency and revenue.
  4. Working with this team throughout the MVP launch
  • MVP ready
  1. Raise funds to create the MVP with the aid of an an outsourced agency
  2. At this point, it is worth finding a technical co-founder and allowing him to provide directions on future product strategy
  3. Your outsourced team has now worked on the initial product and knows it well being that they built the initial MVP
  4. Keeping them on board as long as you can will maintain your competitive edge, so long as they work cohesively with your CTO and communication is on point.

In order to get something to market, one needs a plan of action. When it comes to launching a startup, a founder for the most part is thinking about creating a unique product that hasn’t gone to market yet. This approach often leads to the startup founder over-scaling the product and adding features that might not be necessary out the gate. If a founding team’s MVP strategy is not on point, founders might find themselves developing unnecessary features while wasting valuable time and money. Build something small that will give you insight into where you should go next … collect the clues that will lead on the path to your ultimate goal … PRODUCT MARKET FIT

More in depth on the three options of MVP Dev for Non-technical founders (whole focus should be on non-technical founders and how they can acquire leverage)

Outsourcing mvp

Option A – Outsourced team + Technical Advisor

Option B – CTO + Outsourced Team

  • Option A – Outsourced team + Technical Advisor

    1. Definition / role of both
    2. How do you inspire a technical advisor to give you time and energy and also convey your vision to an outsourced team
      1. Ideation, wireframing, prototyping
      2. Gives you leverage going to an industry veteran
    3. Hiring an outsourced technology team
      1. On-shore vs. Off-shore
    4. Why this option is the most effective for pre-product / pre-funded startups…pros of doing this (use the infographic)
      1. Cost-effective (pro), etc.
  • Option B – Technical Co-Founder (CTO) + Outsourced Team

    1. When to bring on a technical co-founder?
      1. Just as you need leverage to bring on an advisor, you will definitely need leverage to bring on someone full-time as a CTO
    2. What you should have to bring this person on?
      1. As a non-technical founder, you do not have a ton of leverage early on…to position yourself with leverage you should build an MVP
      2. With an MVP product (built by an outsourced team and possibly under the direction of an advisor), you will have more leverage
      3. Without such leverage, you will either be paying out a lot in cash, a lot in equity, or both…

#1

Outsourced team and Technical Advisor

outsourced team

To ensure that your product strategy is on point and you are not overscaling, having a technical advisor or mentors who can provide insight is very valuable. Another direction is to seek an outsourced technical partner that specializes in MVP product development. This is the cheapest and most cost-effective option if done right…

An outsourced technology partner, in the context we are discussing, is a team or company hired to create a product from scratch (usually in the form of an MVP) or alongside an already existing team (with an already existing product). A technical advisor is an experienced industry expert who may not be the founder of the company but is advising on various technical aspects of the process such as hiring technologists (i.e. CTO, outsourced technology team, etc.), providing strategic product direction and at times reviewing what is being built to ensure quality assurance. Your technical advisor is not the person coding, rather this is someone who gives you mentorship and advice when it comes to the technology component of your business.

Our goal is to help you get to the point where you can confidently approach and industry expert and bring him/her on board as a technical advisor.

Here are the different product development phases that tell us how a startup comes into existence and what we can do to help you out in the process of developing your next startup:

MVP Readiness and Initial Investment

Initial Investment

The MVP is a version of the product that is initially developed prior to the major developments to get the maximum validation by making the product available.

Normally the seed funding is a first investment round that any startup comes across but before even going through that procedure, an MVP has a chance to bring the family and friends in. The investment from family and friends does work out at the lowest price and the certain amount of stock is assigned for that.

The technical advisor who is there to guide you through the process can help you in writing the agreements, vetting the plans, predicting the challenges, and analyzing the market readiness.

This stage means that MVP is ready to get the friends and family investment to get the development going. It’s normally a small portion of the equity against a certain amount that is used in the product development.

3 Characteristics of this Stage:

1) – Initial Product Display: The product comes out in the minimal viable product form. At this point, the development team has something to showcase, whereas the founders have a product to put up on the table.

2) – Family and Friends Round

3)Readiness for the Final Product: After the MVP completion, the product development team looks ahead to final product development.

The Product-ready Stage:

Product Ready

This phase of the product development has got the product ready and raised the seed funding. The seed funding is the first type of investment that a startup raises in the preliminary investment stage to set the direction of the startup and help achieve the goals.

In this setup where you have an outsourcing company working on the product development and you’ve raised the seed funding.

What you need to look at:

  • Outsourced staff efficiency:

You need to have a complete overview of your outsourced staff that how much they are efficient and how well your startup and the product development company (outsourcing company) have developed the coherence in order to move further in the product development.

  • Operational management:

It’s also necessary to figure out that how effective your management is. If you have a technical co-founder at this stage, then what technical co-founder capabilities your startup may require.

  • Cost analysis:

The cost of hiring and working with the outsourcing company is an integral part of the plan. Make sure even before finalizing the deal with them, you’ve already decided the pricing model with them. Some startups work on an hourly basis while others choose to have a fixed cost of the product development. You could visit this webpage if you need some financial guidance and similar services to help with managing costs and the budget.

The Product Validation Stage

product validation

At this phase of product development, you’ve finally been able to create the better version of the product and you’ve some user traction as well. The next up is venture capital round that you’re eying at this stage . In the case, you have the following things in hand:

  • An outsourcing team: You’ve outsourced the product without hiring a full-time development team.
  • A better understanding: Due to going through a process of product development and coming back and forth the with beta version development, now you’ve developed an understanding with your outsourcing team.

The venture capital round could be series A, series B, and C. Once you get the first venture capital round, you could go for B and C if you need it or you want to expand the business. In fact, you could run out of funding and your company ends here or some big company could be interested in what you’ve made and it may acquire you

#2

Technical Co-founder + In-house Team

CTO with inhouse Team

In this case where you have a technical co-founder and in-house team to work with, the environment becomes different, so do the challenges. The goal is to develop an MVP without getting much deeper into the process and ultimately creating a scaled version of the product that’s easy to be thrown into the market.

Similarly, Dave Navegt, the co-founder of Hubstaff revealed that finding a co-founder is one of the most important decisions you’ll make.

In this section, we’ll go deeper into the in-house hiring and analyzing the technical co-founder who can help us shape the MVP in the limited resources, and more importantly, what he has got to offer to the company to get through the initial jump-start phase.

The Ideation Phase

In this scenario in which you preferred to have a technical co-founder along with in-house development team, the ideation phase could be prolonged for a while because the product idea you may float would be analyzed and discussed between you and other team members. The technical co-founder would have a strong say in the product ideation and because that’s the reason you brought him in into the inner circle in the first place.

The building of MVP goes to a whole new level when someone who is experienced in developing the startups, prototyping the products, and fund raising is sitting right next to you and help guiding you throughout. Dave Navegt talked about the traits such as the ability to complete the product, business-minded, and managerial experience to see in a technical co-founder in this article.

validation

The LaunchBit shared an interesting figure of a survey they did on the idea validation importance and it turned out that 80% of potential technical co-founders agreed that idea validation is of great importance.

The ideation phase does need an initial validation from the technical co-founder before going ahead for building the MVP. These are the key functionalities of the ideation phase in this case:

  • Mutual Understanding on the product concept

In order to reach the MVP, there are certain things you need to take care of in order to effectively create the prototype that has greater chances of validation. The mutual understanding between the two of you (you + technical co-founder) is crucial to the process. We can incorporate the Woz experiment here ensuring that the tech has a business play. In order to make this partnership work, the aspect of mutual understanding on the product concept is vital to the game. Always remember that you brought the technical co-founder because you believed that his abilities will help your startup go off the ground safe and sound . So you need him, therefore, you must respect the analysis given by the technical co-founder because if he isn’t authoritative in decision making, then what’s the point of hiring him.

  • Clarity between the co-founders

A good relationship between the co-founders would ultimately base the strong company. Try to minimize the doubts in the ideation phase to get the picture clear. The technical co-founder is supposed to help guide you through the different phases of the product development, so during the ideation phase, get to know the workflow of the product as well as the operational procedures.

  • Communication with the in-house team

Your in-house development team shouldn’t be left behind during the ideation phase. What you want is to maximize the efficiency of your functional prototype and yet you want to allocate the minimum resources to it in order to get the MVP ready as soon as possible. Make sure each and every aspect of the product translated well to them properly.

Designing the Prototype

At this stage, the teamwork does show some tangible results in terms of outcome. It’s extremely important to understand the circumstances. The focus, energy, and the passion to creating a life-changing product are heightened at this point but at the same time, this might be the time where your MVP is transforming from an idea to life. It may not be the perfect product to rely on but it would something that would boost up the team’s morale.

Design Process MVP

source

This image is taken from the presentation of Jeff Zabel who presented this at the Boulder Startup Week 2015. It does clarify the process of shifting the concept from ideation to prototype form, and later on, it would go into the testing phase.

The prototype build-up process requires certain approvals that attribute to the flawless product transition. Because the it would go through the testing phase once it gets into a shape.

lifecycle of mvp

source

This diagram explains the prototyping and testing phase. The purpose of emphasizing on the clarity of the idea is that ideation is no more being considered here, but rather the implementation is being done on the idea.

The prototype designing phase is a crucial to developing the MVP because MVP is something you’re eying while seeing the prototype being designed under the consultancy of your technical co-founder.

According to the Eric Ries:

“The minimum viable product is that product which has just those features (and no more) that allows you to ship a product that resonates with early adopters; some of whom will pay you money or give you feedback.”

The responsibility of the technical co-founder is collaborate with the in-house development team to keep translating the true essence of the idea in building the prototype for further creating the better MVP form of the product.

Here are some of the essential elements of this stage:

  • Testing and Refining

A prototype designing is a point where the functionalities of the product is being tested. It may not be the fully-functional product but could be close to the MVP. The prototype stage gives a chance to fix the small errors while testing things out.

  • Alternative Strategies

If the in-house team has used the specific type of coding for a certain function and while testing it out, they notice it could be done better in another way, then the alternative strategy is adopted to help perform the process smoothly.

  • Investor’s Eye

One of the perks of having a technical co-founder in the team is that you get the attention of the investors who already know someone you’re working with. It sort of helps in spreading the word which ultimately begins to give industry attention to the prototype.

  • Experts Feedback

The feedback is undoubtedly important in the building of a product. The prototype designing is a phase in which a product goes through testing and refining stage and it must receives the experts feedback which helps in pursuing the idea.

The MVP Readiness

MVP Product Prototype

The image displayed above this paragraph explains the minimum viable product. A donut which isn’t a finished-product yet is considered an MVP, whereas the other one with sprinkles and chocolate topping is displayed as a finished product. What separates a product with and without product market fit is how the sprinkles were placed onto the donut and whether or not data / customer feedback was used to do so.

This phase of MVP readiness and initial investment is the time where you have an MVP ready. Your in-house hired team worked with the collaboration of your technical co-founder in order to get the product off the ground.

The next part in this phase is a time where you need a pre-seed funding round from the family and friends. This is an initial funding stage which provides a product vote of confidence from the inner circle.

There are specific characteristics of this stage which you need to take care of:

  • The commitment of the technical co-founder

The commitment of every person on board is necessary in the process but the technical co-founder is someone you’ve trusted. You must ensure that the he is committed to the cause. If something is skeptical, you must talk this out before the startup gets some attention from the investors’ standpoint.

  • The collaboration with the in-house team

Every single person on the team should be giving best to the product. The MVP building stage is a big deal for any startup and if the team at office isn’t focused enough to get things right, then it requires your attention. You must closely analyze the operation along with the technical co-founder and continuously consult with him about the progress of the product.

  • The Family & Friends Relationship

When it comes to MVP readiness, the experts always suggest to go to the family & friends for the initial investment. In fact, they always consider this type of investment necessary because your product gets tested and gets a vote of confidence when you finally get a pre-seed investment from family & friends. However, the experts believe that you must clarify the risk involved in the investment, so that they know both the sides of the situation. Normally, they have a small share in the equity and this sort of investment is used to get the MVP build-up rolling and finally giving it a finishing touch.

  • The cost analysis

The MVP readiness stage does have a connection with the cost analysis. Once you build the prototype, it’s just like shaping the idea into a reality. When it reaches to the MVP stage, at this point, the cost must be analyzed and the technical co-founder must look into further cost that would be involved in making the finished product.

The Product-ready Stage

Product Ready

At this stage, the startups make a lot of decisions based on the circumstances. The MVP is shaping into a product that could serve better, engage the initial users, and able to build the customer based. It’s not the profitable stage for the startup but the product development is rapidly changing the shape of the product.

In order to articulate the situation of a startup at this point, here are some of the things we must know:

  • Seed Funding: The startup has eventually raised the first seed funding which is quite an achievement and it does a little more validation than the pre-seed funding validation from the friends & family.
  • Staffing and Management: It’s probably the best time to start analyzing the team scalability and effectiveness which includes the capacity of the team, year/monthly cost, and other budgeting. The reason is that brands do make decisions about their team-work, employees, and recruitment. Last year Buffer decided to close down their office and work remotely.
  • Cost Analysis: From prototype to building-up a whole MVP, there was a process involved, so does the cost. Once the operation goes further and the product enters into the production phase, the cost does change at some point. It’s likely to happen in every startup. It’s time to understand whether you should be paying off the employees hourly or monthly. It might not apply to every startup.
  • Quality Testing System: The applicable procedure should be applied to fix the bugs and errors in the product. This stage of the product must be a way better than the MVP. Here we’re talking about the product.
  • Team Coherence: It defines how gelled the team is for the cause. It automatically reflects into the management. From CRM to emailing , software engineering to communication, at every level of the startup, the team effort is what it makes a brand that is scalable.

The Product Validation Stage

At this stage, the venture capitalists are interested in your product and want to invest in it. The responsibility of decision making is at the highest point. In the case, where you have an in-house hired team and a technical co-founder is working with you in making your product off the ground, the decisions are crucial to make and some new questions are like to arise at this point.

When your MVP has been built and you’ve even got friends & family and seed funding rounds, your product and brand would be in a better shape thereafter, which is why the product validation stage comes which is all about the scalability of the brand. This stage is about venture capital which isn’t easy for any startup to make that far. Before going deeper into the product validation, there are certain things a startup must know:

  • Customers’ Management:
  • Staffing and Recruitment: You may want to hire new people and inject in the current team. The recruitment may be necessary when the operations go to the next level and the new technologies are required to be applied, so you would like to bring new technical professionals to your team. The process of taking care of the staff and making sure that everything around there goes well.
  • Project Management: At this level, the application of skills, knowledge, tools and techniques come in to aid in the five management processes of initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing.
  • Growth Analysis: The reporting is as important as any other management task. The technical co-founder must closely analyze the growth rate of the startup because what venture capitalists would see is growth rate and the value proposition of their investments.
  • Offshore Services Management: At this point, the venture capitalists would like to know about the offshore service management. If there is an offshore company involved in the startup, they might want to know that what kind of interest or contribution they have in the startup. In fact, the cost might be compared while working with offshore and on-shore.
  • Quality Control: Quality control is a process through which a startup must clarify the criteria and follow-up procedures on it.
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