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So you've got an MVP and you now want to acquire users. What's your next step?

Raffy Banks • March 28, 2024

Oops! You’ve made a mistake.

This is not the order of things.

What you should have done is create a reliable stream of users and then built an MVP.

That’s okay. All is not lost. You at least have something to show.

So now you can start thinking about who your customer is and start figuring out what it is they need.

Don’t let yourself be led by your MVP. Ignore it, in fact.

Pretend that it doesn’t exist. Otherwise, it will warp your understanding of the market and your customers.

Now is the time to be interacting with people and trying to truly see their annoyances from their point of view.

Things you want to understand are:

  • What’s the annoyance?
  • What’s the context of the annoyance?
  • What are they trying to accomplish?
  • What’s the cost of the annoyance?
  • Is it a minor annoyance, and they’re just venting their frustration?
  • Or is it a critical pain that if they don’t solve, they’re SOL?

Don’t propose solutions. At least not at first. Propose outcomes and see how they react and sense how they feel.

For example, say a customer says they hate all the paperwork they have to do when selling their home. Be curious. Ask questions that help get at the specifics.

  • What paperwork specifically?
  • How much time does it take?
  • Did anyone help you? What did they help with?

Then when you have an understanding, propose the outcome:

So, basically, if I’m hearing you, if you didn’t have to deal with all the paperwork, printing stuff out, getting notarized, mailing it to lawyers, et al, then you’d feel a lot better. Once you have confirmation, I’ve found that you leave things at that. You let what you’ve learned settle in your mind.

You then move on and talk to a few more people, running through the same exercise. And then again and again.

Not until you have a map of and an overlap of what your accessible market is telling you do you start to think about the solution.

It’s fine to have a solution before all of this. What you don’t want is an MVP. What you’ll learn from people - the people who you’re able to attract - will greatly alter what you need to build.

I’ve found that this is then the time to go back and chat again with the people you initially spoke with. Now is the time to present a solution.

This can be with mockups or a little prototype or even just a conversation.

The goal with these conversations is to:

  • Share what you learned speaking with others who are like them.
  • Confirm the pain.
  • Confirm the degree of the pain.
  • Confirm the value of having the pain resolved.
  • Confirm the outcome they desire.
  • Present a potential solution.

The result you’re looking for are any details that would help shape the solution.

The proposed solution does not have to be 100% accurate. It just needs to match what they want in terms of an outcome.

Have these second clarity call conversations across the people who you spoke with and even others you identify would be a good fit.

When you start to present a solution that is in line with their needs, they will start almost demanding you help them. Not always, but I’ve found that at this point they’re likely feeling a bit invested.

Your job is to almost annoyingly feel like you’re being forced into creating a solution. You want to feel like you don’t have a choice. That if you don’t do it, no one will.

Reaching this state gives me confidence that I can move on and start building something. But you can even go further. You can start getting letters of intent and even start giving people the option of a discount if they sign up now or even just take a small deposit that’s fully refundable.

We took a half upfront deposit from our first few clients when we hit specific deadlines.

This is all negotiable with the clients.

Don’t be afraid to get creative. It feels messy in some regard but it’s way better than randomly building something and seeing it become just another failed project.