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Startup Launch: Understand What to Build

Startup founder trying to understand what to build

In the dynamic realm of startups, the Lean Startup methodology has revolutionized the approach to building products. At its core, this method is about managing risk, learning quickly from the market, and iterating. A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) isn’t just about rapid development; it’s about crafting the right product that resonates with users' needs and expectations. This approach emphasizes the importance of understanding what to build as a pivotal first step, ensuring that each iteration brings you closer to a product that truly meets market demands.

Understanding Your Market and Audience

The initial stage of any MVP development should be rooted in thorough market research. This involves diving deep into the market to understand the competitive landscape, existing solutions, and, critically, your target audience. What problems are they facing? What solutions are they currently using, and what are their limitations? Engaging with potential customers through surveys, interviews, and user testing is crucial. This direct feedback loop is a fundamental aspect of the Lean Startup approach, ensuring your MVP is built on real user insights and needs.

Defining Your MVP's Purpose and Scope

Central to the Lean Startup methodology is building an MVP that is both focused and purposeful. This means clearly defining what problem your product solves and how it improves the lives of your users. Your MVP should encompass only the most essential features that address these core user needs. This prioritization is not just about resource efficiency; it’s about setting up a product that can be tested, reviewed, and iterated upon. Every feature and design choice should be made with the goal of learning and refining in mind, creating as many feedback loops as possible.

Lean Startup: Managing Risk and Iterating

Focusing on Risk Management

The Lean Startup approach is fundamentally about managing risk through continuous iteration. It’s a cycle of building, measuring, and learning. The MVP is your starting point, a version of your product that’s good enough to start this cycle. Once launched, it’s about gathering data, learning from user interactions, and making informed changes. This iterative process is designed to refine your product continually, ensuring each version is more aligned with user needs and market demand. The key is to set up your startup in a way that these iterations can happen rapidly and effectively, allowing for constant evolution and adaptation.


Embracing the Lean Startup methodology in understanding what to build for your MVP is about more than just minimizing costs or speeding up development. It’s a strategic approach to product development that prioritizes learning, adaptation, and risk management. By focusing on what the market truly needs and setting up a feedback loop for constant improvement, you lay the groundwork for a product that is not only viable but also capable of evolving with your users' needs. Watch our YouTube Video on Building MVPs to get details on each step of the MVP development journey.

Next, we'll explore how to decide who will build this vision into reality in our following blog post, "Startup Launch: Plan the Build".

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