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What strategy to use when building an MVP

Today I’m going to answer a question from Maxime, the founder of a green tech startup. His question is…

What strategy should I use to start building an MVP?

MVP stands for minimum viable product.

Before answering this question, let’s add a bit of context.

Maxime is at the idea stage. He has extensive experience as a manager and is deeply interested in nature, more specifically the benefits of being in touch with nature, that’s why he’s undertaking a project to bring more plants into people’s lives.

While he is testing his hypothesis and interviewing future customers, he is wondering how to get started with his product without having to invest in personalized development.

Once your business idea is defined enough, it’s time to prepare and build something. And despite what you might think, it does not start with development.

How to define an MVP

  • The essential functionalities
  • The app's appearance
  • How data will be structured

The first thing to do is to define in order: what essential functionalities we want to provide our customers, what the application or website screens will look like and how data will be structured.

Since the first two points are pretty straightforward, I’d like to dive deeper into the last one: how data will be structured.

You might be thinking, “Well, I’m not an engineer. I’m not going to design database or anything like that!”

Well, let me tell you that structuring your application data has nothing to do with technical skills, but rather business and creative skills.

We all know that data is king.

We live in this amazing time because we now know how to handle and valuate data like never before.

So let me show you how serial entrepreneurs do this, I've witnessed them all using the same technique.

Tools to use

Experienced entrepreneurs prototype and specify their project with Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets.

These tools help demonstrate their ideas and above all, structure how the project’s data will take shape altogether.

And those most gifted with formulas are even able to emulate the functionalities their real application is supposed to provide.

So it doesn’t matter if you are building a mobile application or a complex website.

If you want to save up on provider’s time and therefore reduce your development costs, the best way to get started from my point of view is to set up the beginning of your application on Excel, Google Sheets or any other similar tool.

Today, I’d actually like to push this concept further to help Maxime imagine his first MVP as well as create a functional tool.

So here’s the good news! Even if you don’t have a big development budget for your MVP, you can still create a real application out of a Google Sheet, for example. I’ll get into more detail on how to achieve that in some of the following videos.

Until then, you know what to do next to start specifying and prototyping your great idea.


So in conclusion, and to answer Maxime’s question, if you have a great business idea and need to build an MVP, start by structuring the sample data in a spreadsheet and try to write a few formulas to simulate your application’s behavior.

Now if like Maxime, you have a specific question for your project, just go ahead and ask on

I will do my best to answer your question by video or redirect you to any existing content that will answer it.

I publish a new video every week, so subscribe now and learn how to be better at tech management and build your startup successfully.

Also be sure to go through our other content here at to learn more from real startup growth experiences.

I’ll be waiting for your questions, and I look forward to seeing you in other videos. Cheers.