Software DeliveryWhat can go wrong if you don't validate your product idea
Idea validation is a process by which the interest of the target audience in your product and the prospects for developing your business with this product are determined.
Validation involves directly checking the availability of demand for your product through interviews with people from your target audience. The most important thing is that the proof of the idea should happen even before you have invested significant time and money in your product and moved on to the active phase of development.
As practice shows, even completely inexperienced startups can release a product that the public immediately accepts with a bang.
And all of that happens mainly because this business decided to verify the idea before the product launch. It allows us to correct mistakes and understand what is necessary for the target audience.
I will give you some basic recommendations for validating a business idea to help determine whether your product meets the target audience's needs.
Simple communication with real people and the right questions will help you determine whether your product/service solves the problem, who your potential buyers are and whether they exist.
Validation is proof that your clients can use a product, equipment, or process for its intended purpose.
Ideally, validation niche experts should carry out the business idea. In large companies or production facilities, quality departments are engaged in this, and in medium and small ones — directors or heads of direction are.
For some companies, it may be unprofitable to conduct internal checks, so sometimes third-party companies are hired to perform validation and refuse it.
What is the difference between validation and verification?
Validation is often confused with verification, but these processes are different from each other.
Verification is a general verification of the technical requirements for the product. Even if the product has passed, it is not a fact that end customers will be able to use it successfully.
Validation helps to avoid financial failure: with its help, you can ensure that consumers can use the product.
Example of what can go wrong if you don't validate the product:
Juicer startup has developed a machine for filling packaged juices. It met the technical specifications laid down by the developers — it passed verification.
When the market offered clients something completely new - a car, it turned out inefficient. It was easier for users to manually squeeze out bags of fruits and vegetables than buy equipment for this for $ 400. That is, the product did not pass validation.
The startup failed to attract the audience it was counting on and lost money.
If the company has a limited budget, you can perform validation yourself — for example, distribute the product to friends and ask them to describe their impressions of use.
So now you understand why validating your product idea and how to do it right is essential so you save money and time.
How to validate a business idea
You can test the relevance of an idea in any way: from personal communication with potential clients to conducting a large-scale sociological study. But, under any circumstances, your actions must correspond to specific stages:
1. Define the concept of the future project
Before testing an idea, decide on the qualities of your future product, namely:
Highlight the problem.
List the pool of problems relevant to society that must be solved here and now.
Describe the portrait of a potential client. It's not worth trying to cover the entire market right away. Imagine who exactly is the ideal customer. Further, as the startup scales, you can reach a wider audience.
Form a list of hypotheses.
Any idea is a set of hypotheses, for example, "it is more convenient for taxi drivers to use a mobile application rather than a telephone service" or "students want to share their thoughts in a short format of 140 characters."
Develop a value proposition.
Regardless of whether you have competitors, focus on what qualities of the product will be appreciated by users. Write down a list of properties and benefits that will qualitatively distinguish the company from its analogs.
2. Set specific goals
The primary purpose of validation is to get proof that the market needs a particular product. Form a minimal list of clear and measurable goals that you would like to achieve before the end of the study, for example:
- positive feedback about the future project from 50+ potential customers;
- 5-10 successful meetings and presentations;
- 1-5 successful MVP product presales.
3. Do the research and get feedback
Create a web page for a future project with a form for collecting information about interested users, conduct a large-scale questionnaire mailing or create an MVP product.
As a result, it is necessary to collect feedback from potential consumers. These can be direct reviews or expectations from a future product.
After finishing work on the research, you need to make an important decision and decide whether it will be profitable to continue working on the startup. Sometimes, after validating an idea, the founders completely change the direction of their main idea and come to something fundamentally new. The only rule is to ensure that the product is needed and that consumers will be willing to pay for it.
How to conduct a demand study
It is worth investigating the buyer and the industry and checking the idea. There are several proven ways and approaches to validation:
Checking the relevance of the concept
To make sure there is a problem and test hypotheses, you can:
Conduct an online survey.
It's about collecting objective feedback and information about expectations from the product. The larger and more diverse the sample of respondents, the more reliable the result of testing the idea.
Use forms in Google Forms, SurveyMonkey, TypeForm, or your social media page.
Analyze the output in search engines for the target query.
Check out industry platforms and resources, relevant topics on forums, or questions on Reddit. So, you can find indirect evidence of a business problem and contacts of potential customers.
Create a landing page or blog.
Creating a website is a serious decision for the founders of a new project, but it is a reliable option for testing hypotheses and experiments. At the same time, it will already be possible to attract an audience (both organic and paid traffic) to the web page and analyze it.
To save money on developing a website from scratch, you can use site designers (for example, WIX, Weebly, or Tilda).
Create a presentation.
There is a "paper and pen" method (when you draw a future project on a sheet). Creating a comprehensive presentation and holding a pitch deck for a potential audience is more relevant nowadays. Alternatively, record a video presentation explaining in detail every detail and functionality of the future product.
Work out the "sketch."
Due to this, you visualize the user interface of the future site in the smallest detail. For digital prototyping, you can use the Balsamiq tool.
Develop an MVP.
We discuss a minimally viable product, including the minimum verified functions.
The better the manufacturer knows the product or process, the more straightforward the validation process can be. If the product is complex, human health depends on it. The validation process should be more rigorous and complex.
And as soon as you have received some good insights from your product validation – do not wait. Just start creating!