Reflections on Startup Idea Validation – Future Startups

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You have a startup idea. you are excited You believe your idea will change the world. This is not an unusual notion when it comes to our thoughts. However, you haven’t created anything yet. You are wondering how to make a product. You are so excited that you can’t wait and get on with creating the product.

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You have the vision and you know in your heart that your product is going to kill it. You just need to build it and get it out there. As they say, if you build it they will come. You know that if you build it, customers will flock to your door. While these are all good things, the best thing you can do for your business is to take a more realistic approach to building your product.

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If you are serious about building a business and not wasting your time and money and effort on something that doesn’t result in any positive results, you better temper your enthusiasm a bit and Take a more practical approach to taking your idea to market. ,

Instead of going straight into building a product, I would suggest that you validate your idea. Validating your idea means trying to understand whether your hypothesis is correct when exposed to reality.

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Business takes place in reality, which is quite different from what seems exciting in your head. Validating an idea means testing your hypothesis by bringing it in contact with reality. This allows you to understand whether there is a real market for your product. It helps you refine your idea using feedback from the people who will eventually use your product. Validating will save you time, money and effort.

Now that you don’t have a product, how do you approach validating an idea? There are no hard and fast rules. But there are approaches that work better than others. The first step in validating your idea is to talk to people who will listen.

When it comes to startup ideas, there is a misconception that people are waiting to steal their idea. As soon as they share their idea, opportunists will steal it. This is a gross misunderstanding of how things work. Ideas are rarely stolen. Often two people may have the same views. Rarely are ideas original. If you are talking about an invention then it is a different matter. Otherwise, ideas have no value until you implement them.

There are many benefits of talking to people about your idea. You get free feedback which you can use to revise your idea. It helps in maturing your idea. Most importantly, you can gauge whether people are interested in your solution.

In addition to talking, people have developed several approaches to idea validation over the years, which you can use to validate your idea with some modification. While there are limitations to standard idea validation approaches such as surveys and research, the structure also has many ups and downs that we often prefer to ignore. Here are some approaches you can use to validate your idea.

Talking to potential customers, competitors and experts

Regardless of your approach, you need to talk to customers. Talking to customers is often the most useful technique for understanding whether there is a need for your product in the market. Similarly, speaking with existing players in the market and experts in the field may give you insight that you are missing. When you are talking to customers, experts and competitors, it is better to follow a structured approach so that you can keep the data and analyze it for future reference.

Survey

Although surveys have gotten a bad rap for not being such an effective mechanism for understanding the market, it is one of the relevant and widely used tools in idea validation. You prepare a series of questions and talk to your potential customers and stakeholders to understand whether there is a need for your product.

When taking surveys, you should be careful about common survey mistakes and try hard to reduce the authenticity of surveys. Before starting the survey, it is useful to work on selecting your target customers.

Some aspects you can include in your survey are: i) Relevance – Is your idea relevant to potential customers ii) Usability – Is your solution useful iii) Uniqueness – Is your solution unique enough to differentiate in the market iv) NPS – Will people be willing to share your solution v) Likelihood to buy – Will they be willing to pay for your solution.

real-time audience buildup

Social media and blogging have brought an unprecedented opportunity to share and collect feedback from users in real time. If you’re working on an idea, share your work and progress online with your network to get feedback in real-time, as well as build an audience to spark your idea.

prototype

Low-cost prototyping and then taking it to market to gather feedback is an excellent way to understand what the market needs. Many people find this to be a more effective way to test thought validation because it is more realistic.

Landing Page

Create a landing page and ask people to pre-sign up for updates. You can also ask for pre-orders. The answer to both will give you an understanding of the market situation. Landing pages are useful. In addition to asking for sign-ups and using this as a proxy for whether people are interested enough in your product, it also allows you to collect feedback.

MVP and Quick Response

The most useful way to understand whether there is a demand for your idea in the market is to develop an MVP and test it in the market. MVP, as the name suggests, is a minimum viable product that you can build with minimal cost and effort. If you’ve already done enough preliminary research, an MVP can also help you develop faster. The advantage of MVP as compared to other approaches is that MVP is more real and the feedback is not imaginary as you will be selling or showing the product to your customers.

Second.

Important Questions to Answer When Validating Your Idea

Understand the problem – Often we keep thinking of a solution whereas we first and foremost need to fully understand the problem. Work hard to understand your customers’ pain points during the verification process. Determine if this is a serious problem for your customers – We get excited when an idea comes to us, and it’s the best and most important idea in the world. However, the most important thing is to understand whether the problem you’re trying to solve is a serious enough problem for your customers. Tier 1 problems mean problems that are very important to customers. They are actively looking for solutions to these problems. Create, as they say, painkillers, not vitamins. Understand existing solutions and their limitations – List the best selling existing solutions to the problem you are trying to solve and understand the limitations of the products where you can improve.

Why you should care about idea validation: It will save you time, effort, and resources. Too often we assume that our idea has a ready market and it doesn’t require any real testing. And we go on to create a product that ultimately fails to gain enough traction. Whereas a simple practice of talking to customers, having a mindset of constant experimentation, getting feedback from customers, and then building back can save you a lot of hassle and resources and greatly improve your chances of success.

It is not necessary that you follow a hard and fast rule to validate your idea. At the heart of idea validation: You must spend time understanding that there is a need for your product in the market. The best way to understand this is to talk to your customers, as many of them as possible. Use a systematic process to collect and analyze authentic customer feedback using minimal resources and then establish a process to use customer feedback in developing your product. Always be open to ideas and willing to change your product whenever there is a valid market response to do so.

Originally published on 01 Nov 2020, this article has been updated on 23 Nov 2022.

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