Startup Idea Validation

The process of startup idea validation is whether your firm's idea and product are appealing to a certain target market is known as startup validation. Startup validation entails a series of consumer interviews with people in your target market, and it almost usually occurs before you invest much in your product or concept.

This article highlight multiple reasons why your startup needs validation, how to test and validate as well as the importance this process holds.

What Is Startup Idea Validation?

Unfortunately, many aspiring entrepreneurs rush into developing their Minimum Viable Product (MVP) based on their opinions and assumptions about their idea's merits before determining whether or not there is a real demand for their concept.

It's critical to test your ideas before attempting to develop anything. This is to avoid wasting time and resources developing a product or service for which there may be no market demand. According to CB Insights, 42% of startups fail because they don't see the need to validate before proceeding and end up creating a product/service that isn't required.

startup idea validation
Source: CB Insights

Validation is not to be confused with a lot of other measures. Everything in this list does not derive validation:

  • Email waitlist
  • "This sounds amazing" as a quote
  • Support from friends or family
  • The number of users on free trials
  • Number of "Beta" testers
  • Number of page visits
  • Number of Sign-ups

Why Validate?

There are two very important reasons why you should consider your startup and idea validation. These two principles should guide the validation process that you are about to carry out.

  • Is the product/service able to meet the needs and wants of the market? Any idea needs a practical purpose to exist – what problem will your product solve, and who will utilise it? It's critical that your product adds value to existing industry solutions or is a whole new way to solving challenges in that area. You must be certain that the problem you're trying to tackle is a genuine issue that requires a solution.
  • Is the startup idea technically feasible and financially viable? It might not be a good idea to create a product that currently exists and is effective at meeting the market's needs. Consider food delivery apps: it may be tough to generate enough demand and product distinction for a new app in an already crowded market.
  • Define an innovation. Do you solve the old problem in a new way? Or a new problem in the old way? Focus on the value you offer, but not the existing market players for now.

After you've established that the problem you're seeking to solve is real, you'll need to determine whether the market is large enough to sustain (or even expand) demand. Where will your users/customers come from, and will it be a financially viable option? Set validation goals. You need evidence that your idea is viable in the real world. Thus, set measurable and clear objectives:

  • approval of your idea from 10 potential customers
  • 5 successful pitches in the companies
  • 1 successful sale of a product concept and so on

Mailchimp is one of the most recognizable brands today. This company also began its journey with idea validation. Once being just a side-project, now Mailchimp has $600 million in revenue.

Its founders were building an e-meeting website, but this side-project failed. Yet, customers asked them to help with email marketing instead. That particular product idea didn’t find a proper market niche. Instead, it helped to validate the customers’ willingness to pay for another product. That is how idea validation works.

How to Test and Validate Your Startup Idea

It's not a good idea to test with just your friends and relatives. Positive feedback from friends and family is more likely, which isn't helpful. However, for entrepreneurs, this should be a simple task. How you'll obtain clients after the product is finished is probably one of the assumptions you've included into your company plan. You can start implementing that strategy right now to find those customers.

There are a few prerequisites you need to confirm before your startup validation. Investigate your customers' needs, wants, and willingness to pay for your product/service, and use this information to estimate market demand. When getting to know potential consumers, look for the following pieces of information:

  • What do customers care about and what do they not care about?
  • Would they be willing to put it to use?
  • What price are they prepared to pay?
  • What are the steps in their decision-making process?
  • What methods did they use to tackle the challenge, and did they succeed?

The goal is to develop the "minimum viable product." That's the tiniest, most basic version of your product that allows you to begin the learning process. What is meant by "minimum" is not just in terms of product characteristics, but also in terms of the number of individuals to whom it should be shown. Allowing people to pre-order a product before it is ready is the most prevalent method.

The goal is to develop the "minimum viable product." That's the tiniest, most basic version of your product that allows you to begin the learning process. What I mean by "minimum" is not just in terms of product characteristics, but also in terms of the number of individuals to whom it should be shown. Allowing people to pre-order a product before it is ready is the most prevalent method.

Post-Validation: Pivot and Feedback Loop

Check whether your hypotheses are proven once you've completed the processes to validate the problem and the market. If that's the case, you can start developing your first prototypes and testing the product's technical feasibility.

Don't become discouraged if your first hypotheses were found to be incorrect. It's possible that you haven't achieved product-market fit and that a shift in strategy is required. Use the input you get from validation to keep refining your idea and addressing any potential roadblocks before putting it into action.

Validation has a significant impact on many aspects of your final business model, allowing you to gain a better understanding of your target customers' needs and wants, extend your possible consumer base, and gain a better understanding of your competition. Finally, the process aids you in improving and eventually creating a product or solution that is useful, addresses a real problem, and is desired by the market.

An example would be that of Zappos. Thinking about how Zappos did their startup validation, you'd think that you need a good selection and customer service choice. You'd need to construct a large call centre, a large distribution centre, and so on. However, for them, the MVP was as follows: They went to a local shoe store, photographed each of their products, and uploaded them to the internet.

There was no large business behind it; just a website and the hope that they'd get so many orders that manually acquiring and shipping them would become inconvenient. It was all for the purpose of putting their great idea to the test.

Conclusion

The startup validation process should not be limited to the early stages of a company's development. There should be a feedback loop in place where you can iteratively enhance the product, test its market fit, learn from the input you receive, and continue the cycle.

Business owners enjoy making estimates, but estimates are rarely accurate, particularly in early-stage businesses. Rather than recruiting in anticipation of demand, hire in response to it. While you should continually be analysing new talent in order to build a pool of prospects, you should be cautious when confirming someone's appointment.

Founders of startups have to remain firmly planted on the ground and address grassroots issues within their business before reaching too high in regards to scaling. Take it from hands-on entrepreneurs who have seen the seeds of their efforts grow organically.

References

How To Test and Validate Your Idea

Testing Your Product the Lean Start-up Way

Sydney Startups

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Written by Meerat Qureshi

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