Learning from Y Combinator, the First Steps towards Launching Your Product
Writed by Moncef in 12/09/2023.
Hello, I'm Moncef and I work in the field of SaaS project development. Recently, I developed Rawdati platform, aiming to help nursery managers efficiently run their institutions. To enhance my knowledge and skills in product launches, I decided to gain more insights through watching educational videos provided by Y Combinator on YouTube. These videos offer valuable information for newcomers in the field to help them successfully launch their products. Today, I'm excited to share a summary of several Y Combinator videos that discuss how to start launching your product in the market. I hope you find it informative and enjoyable.
What is MVP (Minimum Viable Product)
MVP stands for "Minimum Viable Product," a simple version of your product that allows you to learn from users and quickly improve the product based on that feedback.
The goal is to get your product into the hands of customers as quickly as possible, gather impressions, and improve the product based on those impressions. Therefore, it should be built with the fewest possible features to solve a specific problem for customers.
Why Do I Need to Build an MVP?
- Helps you avoid wasting time and effort building features no one wants.
- Facilitates learning from your users and rapidly improving your product.
- Aids in validating your project idea and identifying potential issues early on.
How to Build an MVP
- Set a Time Frame: Giving yourself a specific deadline for completing your MVP will help you avoid getting lost in perfectionist details.
- Create a Feature List: List all the features you think you need, then remove more features without compromising most of the value. Only build the essential features to solve your customers' problems.
- Don't Fall in Love with Your MVP: Remember that your MVP is just a starting point; it will change and evolve over time as you learn from your users.
- Focus on Your Customers: Don't get emotionally attached to your product. Instead, focus on building something your customers will love.
After building your MVP, you'll need to put the product into the hands of your users to learn from them and improve your product. This stage is called the launch, and during this phase, you'll:
- Don't Wait for the Perfect Moment: Try to get your product into the hands of your users as quickly as possible and start collecting feedback.
- Use a Short Impactful Sentence to Describe Your Product: This will help convey the idea of what your product does to users and investors.
- Launch Multiple Times: There are several ways to launch your product; try more than one method to find the optimal way for your product.
- Build a Supportive Community for Your Product: Early on, this helps spread the word about your product, see potential customer feedback, and learn from it.
Finding Your First Customer
- Do Unscalable Things: Perform actions that are not scalable in the long term but are highly effective in promoting your product.
- Learn How to Do Sales: Founders should learn how to do sales themselves instead of delegating, as it helps them understand their customers and how to sell their product.
- Charge for Your Product: Start charging from the beginning, even if it's a small amount. It helps ensure the value of your product and determines how much your customers are willing to pay.
Common Mistakes for Founders
First-time founders often make mistakes that can be avoided with the right advice. Here are some common mistakes and how to avoid them:
- Choosing a Problem You Don't Care About: Make sure you're passionate about the problem you're trying to solve so you don't run out of fuel halfway.
- Neglecting Early Users: Founders should care about their initial users to build a product they love.
- Choosing the Wrong Partners: Choose partners you know well to avoid being separated during tough times.
- Lack of Transparent Communication: Clear communication with partners helps avoid frustration and conflicts in the long run.
- Delaying Product Launch: Launch your product as soon as possible to discover what your customers want as quickly as possible.
- Ignoring Analytics: Use analytics to measure user behavior and understand what works and what doesn't.
- Neglecting Marketing Strategy: Know the area where your early users will come from and focus your marketing efforts there.
- Focusing on Hype Over Value: Founders should build a great product instead of chasing press and attention.
Random Thoughts on Pricing
- Don't overthink pricing; start with simple pricing.
- Increase prices until you reach a point where customers object, then choose the ideal price based on that objection.
- Pricing is not a fixed value; you can always change the price based on the value of your product.