Lightspeed: 4 tips to grow your startup FAST

MVP can now be realised sooner than ever

Early-stage startup owners, especially those from a non-technical background, are in a position of opportunity. Why? Because NoCode is extremely prevalent right now — and it’s only getting better. An MVP that might have taken considerable time and money to build can now be done single handily using a tool such as Bubble. As such, the definition of MVP has changed considerably. It’s now much easier to go from nothing to something, for comparatively little cost.

This is hugely powerful. NoCode tools have become more established, straightforward, and accessible for folks that don’t consider themselves technical — effectively opening up a part of the market normally out-of-bounds. Now I will say that NoCode isn’t going to change the engineering market overnight, with the demand for engineering folk plummeting all of a sudden — but in the context of putting together a prototype for you as an early-stage startup owner, NoCode is perhaps all you need.

Build a landing page. Consider your value prop. Share it.

The proliferation of NoCode also extends to simple website builders. For example, can host Notion pages, giving you a chance to polish your content, and promote your product offering. All from within Notion, if you’re comfortable with that platform. With plenty of slick, professional templates to choose from, getting started is a breeze. You may also want to consider Webflow, Tilda, and Squarespace. Not much of a copywriter, or have difficulty getting your ideas across in fewer words? Copywriting can make a serious impact.

Focus on polishing your copywriting to make your value proposition crystal clear. Read Copywriting Made Simple, by Tom Albrighton.Communicating your solutions in a concise manner is key. Early marketing can be very difficult, and one of your earliest challenges but remember it’s mainly personal/direct outreach. Having a website to share your value proposition is critical — this is an opportunity to get people hyped. With enough push, you might even have folks sign up, resulting in a nice email list based entirely on your product offering. Important: If someone takes the time to sign up for your mailing list, especially at an early stage, there’s a good chance they’re very interested in what you’re offering. Capitalize on that. Reach out to them, invite them to beta programs/research sessions and offer them free or discounted access. Their knowledge might be invaluable and could lead to your next breakthrough feature.

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Validate: Promote, Interview, and Sell, Sell, Sell

With your landing page/site up and running, it is time to focus on finding users and interviewing them. Maybe you haven’t gotten as far as an actual no-code prototype. That’s okay. Early users are normally the most enthusiastic, they’ll almost certainly be interested in (as well as potential investors) getting access to your Figma prototypes.This is an opportunity to drive your offering home, and gauge whether it solves their problems. Bonus points if they appear excited at this point. I can’t stress enough how important it is to get this bit right. The success (or failure) is dependent on receiving actionable feedback from potentially a handful of early users.

Source: Figma Read The Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick. Then read it again. "Entrepreneurs are universally busy, yet odds are high that you’re wasting huge amounts of time sitting in pointless meetings and building unnecessary features. Take two hours to read this book and you’ll see it repaid tenfold." - The Mom Test Start with the designs in Figma. As a designer, communicating ideas through visuals is my jam. Text and verbal conversations often lead to dumbfounded looks and misunderstandings. Unless your user research sessions are purely discovery based in nature, you won’t be able to talk to users about something that needs to be designed. Even, again, if you’re just displaying a visual design in Figma you’re effectively demonstrating the working product. The design process will also give you clarity as you’ll likely miss many details at this point.

MVP means MVP — you cannot do everything at once!

While we’re on the subject of features, you must decide on a single feature to focus on, then build it. Sounds simple, right? Unfortunately, it’s not. It’s extremely difficult to get rid of extra features, but it is not impossible. There are tried and true methods of prioritizing that exist from those that have come before you.One of my worst experiences as a designer is when founders have analysis paralysis. What should have taken weeks is now extending into months, and at worst, the indefinite suspension of moving forwards.

How do we prioritize features? How can we cut focus on just three features, never mind just one? Our competitors already have similar features up and running! Building something will always be better than standing frozen in the middle of the road, unable to look away from the headlights fast approaching.

Prioritization is possible, but you have to be ruthless. It will serve you well, in the long run, to separate your features in terms of value and effort to implement. Your goal is to figure out just one feature that is enough to build and show to early users and investors. MVP is MVP. Avoid features that aren’t core to your product, and focus on workflows that are critical to your success. “Build profitable startups the indie way”, Read Make by Pieter Levels. Getting rid of extra features is extremely difficult

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