Advice for Digital Startups: Idea To SAAS MVP

Practical startup advice shared by Tom Hunt ( Just do it!

Idea To SAAS MVP & Revenue In 3 Weeks (Whilst Spending $0)

My business partner and I were brainstorming ideas for our next online business on a dark Tuesday evening in an East London pub at the start of January.He was drinking, I wasn’t… and I wanted to go home.

Fortunately I did not and he did had that final pint… and we decided to start build a brand new SAAS product the very next day.

Fast forward 3 weeks and we have an MVP live with a group of Beta testers and our first paying subscriber.

Here are the top 6 lessons we learnt during the process that we feel could be applied to other early stage tech businesses.

1. Start .  Just start.

Yes, you can write down your little ideas in a notebook, run them past your best friends and maybe start something one day.

Or you could just take your best bet, start building and finding customers TODAY.

Please don’t be that wantrepreneur that comments on other business ideas with bullshit opinions and never actually does anything.

2. Have An Initial Vision

Yes you need to talk to customers, but you also need to start building something. Your product person/outsourced dev team need to start building something from day 1.

The day after the pub, my business partner started coding what we thought would be a solid product that people would pay for (based on the fact there were competitors in the niche) and I went out to find early testers/customers.

The product roadmap was then informed by my learnings.

3. Find Communities & Add Value

Facebook and Reddit bring people together that have common interests. Find those that are relevant to your product and jump in to add value, share content and start to become a recognised face.

And when you get the chance, make an offer for free advice of some sort (helps if you have an expertise in your niche) and post a call scheduling link.

4. Get People On Calls

You need to learn about the people that are going to give you money.

If you don’t, you will end up building something that they won’t’ give you money for.

Those learnings are far richer on a Skype video call or in person, it will take you a very long time to make those learnings through email.

5. Don’t Waste Time On Bullshit Tasks

Naming a project, pet or child significantly reduces the likelihood that you will be able to kill it.

The amount of early stage companies I see with NO product market fit that engage with branding agencies, build their website, design a logo, give their company a name, buy stickers, design business plans, develop elaborate marketing strategies is hilarious.

Until you have a group of people paying and referring others to you, don’t waste your time on that bullshit, it will kill your company.

6. Learn How To Give Feedback To Each Other

After 20 consultation calls/product demo’s we had 0 paying customers.

I was being a pussy and not asking for ca$h.

Then somehow my business partner was able to communicate this to me without hurting my ego, leading me to start pitching each person we managed to get onto a call.

The next day, we closed our first paying subscriber.

And there we have it… from a third pint idea to MVP and revenue in a grand total of 3 weeks.