By Will LittleJuly 9, 2015

How to Build and Launch a Web Product

Dear aspiring entrepreneur, While you *really* don’t know what you are getting yourself into (no one ever does), your crazy ambition is what we love about you.

Yes, we live in the world of Lean where you can sometimes iterate a poorly built product all the way to Product-Market Fit, but, after building tons of web products over the past 10+ years and watching countless other entrepreneurs optimize their game, I can confidently say that the process is always an inefficient mess.

While of course you should avoid analysis paralysis, if you race forward haphazardly, you will build something more minimum than viable.

So, let’s chat.

It’s important to note that the order that I list below matters. I’ve learned the hard way, multiple (multiple) times, how doing things significantly out of the order below leads to miscommunication and unnecessary chaos. That being said, many steps can be worked on in parallel—just don’t get too far ahead and leave other team members behind.

My plan is to roll these steps out as articles, as I have time, to flush out the topics in more depth.

Here’s the basic outline :

  1. The Idea
  • Problem to solve
  • Value & growth hypotheses
  1. The Team
  • Who is doing what, exactly
  1. The Market
  • Competition
  • Why now?
  • Addressable market
  1. Customer Segments & Profiles

  2. Surveys

  3. Interviews

  4. Overview Statement

  • Boiling down mission & vision
  1. User Stories

  2. Advisors

  3. The Roadmap

  • Timeline of sprints & milestones
  1. Funnel Stages & KPIs

  2. UI Spec

  3. Tech Stack Decisions

  4. Database Architecture

  5. UX Flow Chart

  6. Moodboard

  7. Name

  8. Logo

  9. Financial stuff

  • Business model
  • Forecast
  • Where the initial funds are coming from
  1. Legal stuff
  • Corporate structure
  • Team compensation agreements
  • Terms & conditions
  • Trade names
  1. StyleTiles

  2. Wireframes

  3. Mockups

  • As few as possible
  1. Cutups

  2. Hookups

  • i.e. make it a functioning product
  1. Staging

  2. Coming Soon Page

  • Email queue
  1. Closed Beta

  2. Open Beta

Foundational mistakes will affect your ability to raise money

Mistakes and bad habits formed during the foundation-setting process are costly. For example, most savvy investors (even in your pre-seed rounds) will take a careful look at not only your team, product, and market, but also at often-overlooked things like your customer segments and funnel metrics. Unless you have a validated hypothesis of who your customers are, and can explain in detail how you will continue to acquire them successfully, good luck getting funded.

I’m writing up these steps because I’m meeting a growing number of entrepreneurs who are repeating similar mistakes, running into the same brick walls, and are having trouble getting into accelerators or finding success with angel investors and/or venture funds.

While there is no lack of content out there for all these steps above, I have yet to find a concise resource that ties them all together (if you know of any, let me know).


Questions? Comments? I’d appreciate your thoughts. Head over to a syndication of this post on Medium.com and let’s discuss. (I’m a fan of their commenting system.) Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter so you can stay up to date on new articles. Thanks!


This post originally appeared on Will’s personal site and is reposted with permission.