What to discover? Think about this 6 components when building a zero-to-one product
This post is for you who want to do a product discovery but are unsure what to discover in the first place.
What should I validate?
You know that there are a lot of startups fail, and you understand that you need to do a product discovery to reduce the risk. But, what exactly should you discover?
If doing product discovery is like discovering a forest, the question is, which forest to discover?
As a product practitioner, you can end up doing rapid experimentation but has no direction at all—try to avoid this unstructured iteration. For me, I find that these six components are helpful to be more systematic when building any MVP or 0-1 work.
Product/Market Fit Hypothesis
I’m inspired by Sachin Rekhi’s approach on building the Product/Market Fit hypothesis. The idea is, there are 6 components that would be critical to validate and sharpen:
1 - Target audience. What persona, segment, or customer type that you want to serve? It’s essential to define the specific target audience in your MVP stage, because targetting too many segments could lead to discover different set of user needs. This situation can lead to you building a mediocre product. Read more.
2 - Problem to solve. What acute problem or unmet need do they have? If the users don’t have any sufficient workaround to their problem, that might be an important opportunity to tap in. Read more.
3 - Value proposition. If you offer a service or a product, how will this benefit the target audience who has the problem? It has to a painkiller, not a vitamin.
4 - Differentiation. How would your product 10x better than the alternative? While thinking about value proposition, think about the other competitors. If what you offer is no different than the existing solution in the market, people will not switch to your product. We saw Google Allo launched and discontinued it after 4 months on the market—because there’s no clear differentiation from WhatsApp or other messaging apps.
5 - Growth. What’s your main channel to acquire users and grow? Do you have any channel to acquire new users? Would you lean on word-of-mouth to get new users? In my experience, this part usually comes a bit later as you work on your MVP.
6 - Monetization. Will people pay and buy your product? Test your business model. Maybe it’s a freemium? Or maybe a subscription-based? Or maybe it’s like Facebook who generated money from ads?
By always paying attention to this 6 components, I can identify which part I’m still lacking on and put enough effort validating there. For example, in my team, we didn’t fully understand what severe problem our target audience had, so we invested some research there.
Paid subscribers can access the template here.