Heya! John from SEED here.
This post is literally a practical, step-by-step guide to getting your startup idea live over a weekend. That’s it. No b.s.
For people who have never built out an MVP before, it’s really difficult to know where to start.
One person will tell you to create a full-blown business plan. Another will tell you to hire a cheap developer from India to do the work. Oh, and we can’t forget that one friend who will immeiately tell you it’s a bad idea :-)
So instead of listening to people who have no idea what they’re talking about, follow this guide. You’ll be well on your way to getting your idea live, and cracking a celebratory beer Sunday eveneing.
In this guide, the product we’re going to be launching is an online store that sells womens dresses. You can swap out this product with your own, and use this guide as a framework.
Keep in mind, we’re going from idea to launch in a weekend. Only the mimimum amount of steps will be included, hence the name Minimum Viable Product.
View it live here → http://dress-store.webflow.io
Planning is super important. You need to understand what you’re building, who you’re building it for, and why the people you’re building it for will give enough of a shit to buy it.
The purpose of a SWOT analysis is to rapidly identify the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of your idea. This information will become useful when it comes to pitching your product.
Create one for free here: http://xtensio.com/swot-analysis/
Understanding your user, that is, who‘s buying your product is essential. This helps you map out exactly who that person is, and what their traits are. This allows you to build your product around their needs and motivations.
Create one for free here: http://xtensio.com/user-persona/
Coming up a catchy name that people find cool is definitely a good aim to have. Remember, people forget names easily. Remember? Snapchat, Facebook, Netflix, Instagram and Google are all great examples of memorable names.
Shopify has a free tool that lets you type in certain words and phrases, and generates business names based on the info you entered.
Shopify name tool: https://www.shopify.com.au/tools/business-name-generator
Once you have a killer name for your startup, it’s time to register it as a domain (yes, it’s absolutely assumed you know what that is). You can buy on for $5 bucks on GoDaddy.
GoDaddy domains: https://godaddy.com/domains/domain-name-search.aspx
This is usually the point most people freak out about. If you’ve never touched a line of code — hell — if you don’t even know what Sketch is, then fear not. There’s an easy way to get a nice looking page up, for free, with little tech or design experience.
Webflow is a great drag-and-drop website builder that you can pick up in an hour or two. No coding. Mobile-friendly sites. Templates. Oh, and your first site is completely free :-)
Signup to Webflow: https://webflow.com
Free official Webflow video-training: http://tutorials.webflow.com
Free (and paid) Webflow templates: https://webflow.com/templates
Hosting a Website used to be an absolute pain. But, thankfully your good friends at Webflow have built-in hosting. Just add your domain, change a setting or two, and your site will literally be on the internet in no time.
Creating a preview / demo of your product is a great way to entice people, as it lets them really quickly see what it’s all about. This can be a simple static image, a video, or something cool like a looped-animation.
You can quickly creates some graphics, or touch up some product images with Vectr. It’s a free and simple app that doesn’t take more than 5 minutes to pick up.
Vectr graphics / image editor (free): https://vectr.com
Everybody loves cool animations these days. Luckily, you can put a pretty nice animated product demo together in very little time. Principle is an easy drag-and-drop tool you can use.
Principle animation: http://principleformac.com
In most cases, you’re going to be taking payments. Payments have for a very long time required a developer to do the integration. But, it’s now easier than ever to connect a checkout system to your website in minutes!
Celery is a super-simple payment platform that you can add to your site in minutes. No coding, minimal setup effort, and it looks really nice as well!
Signup to Celery here: https://trycelery.com
Celery quick-start guide: http://goo.gl/eT2Y41
Add Celery to your site: http://goo.gl/PXQICZ
Configure Celery with PayPal: http://goo.gl/exYeYA
You’ll need a Stripe account in order to accept payments through Celery. Stripe essentially bridges Celery (where people buy), and you bank account (where the money goes). 10 min setup, tops!
Signup to Stripe here: https://stripe.com
Configure Stripe with Celery: http://goo.gl/4Hk03v
Mailing lists let you collect the email addresses of your customers, and send them stuff. Whether it be thank-you for purchasing messages, personal messages, coupons or promotions, it’s a great way to get retruning customers.
You can add all of your buyers to a mailing list, which lets you keep them up to date, and offer new things to them. This is easy to setup with Celery + Zapier.
MailChimp website: http://mailchimp.com
Configure MailChimp with Celery (via Zapier): http://goo.gl/Krsw3C
Zapier integration: https://goo.gl/H4hHrh
It’s really important to know how people are using your website. It helps you gather very specific information, and take action on improving how your site works, as well as tweaking your ads to get more specific audiences to land on your page.
Google analytics lets you track basic stats on your site. From page views, demographic and device information, to where your traffic is coming from. It’s useful for getting an overall picture.
Google Analytics website: http://www.google.com.au/analytics/
Add to your Webflow site here (replace “yoursite” with your sites name): https://webflow.com/dashboard/sites/yoursite/analytics
Hotjar allows you to get really specific user behaviour data from your site. It allows you to literally watch sessions of people who visit your site, so that you can see how they use it, and make things better.
Hotjar website: https://www.hotjar.com
Hotjar tutorial: http://docs.hotjar.com/docs/hotjar-tracking-code
Add to your Webflow site here (replace “yoursite” with your sites name): https://webflow.com/dashboard/sites/yoursite/code
Now that your site is up, it’s time to get people onto it. Not just any people, but specific people who would be likely to buy your product. Remember those user-personas you created earlier? Use that info for your ads. Below are two simple methods for acquiring new customers.
Setting up a Facebook ad is really straightforward. You can use a nice, appealing image from the demo you created earlier. Set your audience, add a budget, and drive sales to your new page.
Facebook for Business: https://www.facebook.com/business
Schedule posts: https://buffer.com
Anatomy of a perfect Facebook post: https://goo.gl/X7JCtg
Social media marketing checklist: https://blog.bufferapp.com/?p=13373
2015 Facebook Ads mini-course: https://www.udemy.com/advanced-facebook-advertising-get-likes/
Communities are really great places to share your product. They’re free, and you can leverage massively from them, due to the amount of traffic and actives users there are.
Shopify Grow & Sell: https://www.facebook.com/groups/498010683681188/
Giving your customers a heart-warming, genuine and memorable experience is absolutely key these days. People have very high expectations, and won’t come back if you send them the standard “thanks for giving me your money” email. So, why not make it more personalised?
A great way to give your customers a the warm-and-fuzzy feeling, is to send them handwritten cards, addressed from you to them, after they’ve made an order :-)
Now that you’ve launched your startup in a weekend, and you’re on your way to making your first sale (maybe you already have!), it’s time to sit back and celebrate. Because, you’re part of the 0.1% of people who actually launches their product, not just talks about it.
P.s. if you want to chat startups, hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org