Entrepreneurs often find it challenging to validate their business ideas and figure out the best way to present their idea for validation. I'll try to help you navigate through the process of finding the right validation methods and getting your idea validated.
Introduction to the validation process
Validating your business idea is the first and most important step in starting a business. This process will either validate or invalidate your business idea and will determine if it is worth pursuing. Validation is a process that provides you with the information you need to know whether your business idea has the potential to be successful. The validation process typically follows these five steps;
- Identify your target market
- Validate your idea
- Create a prototype
- Test your prototype with potential customers
- Refine and repeat until you have validated your product or service
1. Identify your target market
The first step in validating your business idea is to identify your target market. You must answer the question, "Who needs what I want to sell?" If you are marketing a book, for example, your target audience might be avid readers. The best way to figure out who your target market is to do a little research. Don't assume you know who they are or what they need because chances are you don't know as much about them as you think. For instance, take a look at your friends and family and identify which ones would be most likely to buy a product from you. That's your target market. Once you've identified your target market, you need to gather demographic data on the people who make up that group.
2. Validate your idea
Start by brainstorming on what your idea is. Get feedback on your idea by pitching it to friends, family, or advisors. Make a list of all the risks and challenges you foresee with your idea. Find out if the product already exists on the market. Think about how much time and money would be required to develop the idea.
Asking yourself a few questions like these is also useful;
- What problem or challenge are you solving?
- How does your product or service solve that problem or challenge?
- Who is your target market?
- Where can you find feedback from potential customers?
- What is the financial opportunity for the company and its employees, if any?
- What is the financial opportunity for third parties, if any?
And then find out if customers are willing to pay for it. You can do this by setting up a landing page where you offer the product or service that you're considering, and then measure how many people sign up. You can use Fastlaunch.io to set up multiple landing pages in different languages with ease. You can also use social media by making it clear what you're offering and asking followers whether they want to buy it.
3. Create a prototype
After you have validated your idea, it's time to start building a prototype. A prototype can be anything from a rough sketch of how your app will look on a phone to a rough drawing of your logo.
It is critical to validate the assumptions made during the first step, so you need to focus on creating high-fidelity prototypes with rich content. The first prototype should be about two screens long. Your users will have to work through different scenarios using the interface you designed for them, and they'll help you identify how well your interface works in practice. You can test the different components that are in your product and see what works best.
You can use a design tool, such as Sketch or any equivalent tool, to generate an interactive prototype. This will give you a good idea of how your product will work and how it looks without writing a single line of code. You can also use an inexpensive prototyping tool such as InVision, Mockplus, Moqups.
If you're not a developer, you can build your prototype with no-code tools. There are plenty of solutions that provide the same features without requiring any programming skills such as Bubble.io, Retool, or Wavemaker.
4. Test your prototype with potential customers
It's always a good idea to test your prototype with potential customers. Not only does this give you valuable feedback on what they think of your product, but it also gives you a chance to see how they'll actually use it. Some people may have the same problems you did when you were designing it and some might find solutions that would never have occurred to you. Getting their feedback means that you'll be able to make changes based on what they like and don't like about the design. This is not only helpful for improving your product but also for making it more enjoyable and user-friendly.
5. Refine and repeat until you have validated your product or service
Once you've ensured that you've gotten the most critical feedback possible, it's time to refine your prototype with that user feedback. This is where the rubber meets the road. You'll be able to see what features are really valuable, and which ones need more work. Ask yourself these questions:
- Does it work?
- Is it satisfying?
- Does it look good?
- How can I make it more accessible?
- And the most important question. Is it solving your customer's problem in an efficient way?
Where to go for feedback
The best place to go for feedback if you don't have a lot of friends or family to give it to you is a business incubator. They offer mentors, networking opportunities, and office space for new businesses. The mentors can help answer questions about your ideas and provide you with feedback on how to grow your idea into a successful company.
How to deal with negative feedback 😳 after the validation process
When you're looking for validation, it's always best to get as much feedback as possible. However, if someone is really negative and they tell you that you idea sucks and you should give up on it because it's never going to work, don't listen and don't loose your faith. Don't let negative people or encounters get in the way of your ultimate success and keep trying! You'll make it work in some way or another 💪
Once you have a solid business idea, it's time to start validating. Think of validation as an experiment where you make small changes and measure the corresponding effects on your metrics. With validation, you can get a better understanding of what needs to change in order for your business idea to be successful.
Validate your ideas before you develop! Marketing is the first thing you should do, not the last!