I just did this with a new system never having booted it. Power on while holding T key to get virgin mini in target mode. Connect mini by thunderbolt cable to 2nd mac where the unformatted SSD also is located in a SATA dock. Use SuperDuper to clone the mini’s factory image onto the SSD. Cleanly unmount/eject/disconnect everything. Install SSD using these instructions. First real boot of new mini runs initial setup from SSD just as if Apple had shipped it that way. All this worked for me on the first try. One could do this in reverse order - install SSD first then clone factory image back into the mini using target mode, but I thought it was safer to capture the image before taking anything apart.
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