Would you create a lemonade stand if you didn’t know people wanted lemonade? No? So why do entrepreneurs found startups without asking, “Do people really want or need what I’m selling?” After that “ah-ha moment”, we (yes me included) have a burning desire to make our perfect vision a reality. While the idea may have been immaculately conceived, most of us are hugely fallible. That is why startup validation is so important.
What is Startup Validation?
There are two types of validation: demand and feasibility. Demand: If you can prove that people want/need your particular vision of a better world, you’re half way there. Feasibility: A company is only viable if you can pull it off. Startup validation is the process by which an inspired idea transforms from a time and money-guzzling hobby to a viable company. Conversely, invalidation requires you to accept that staying the course only serves your passion and does not serve the needs of others.
Engage The Outside World:
While everyone disagrees on the best validation process, the experts all agree that you must engage the outside world. Wanting to see your Franken-baby animate before your eyes is NOT sufficient. Assembling your Franken-baby in isolation might lead to an amazing creation – but the odds are nearby villagers will grab their pitchforks. On the other hand, if you engage the villagers – and evaluate what they really want before assembling your Franken-baby, your creation might just have a chance of survival. But how do you find out what they like or don’t like?
Behavior not Words:
If you ask a friend, “Isn’t my Franken-baby lovely?” they may respond, “Oh, what a pretty baby.” But will they ask to hold your Franken-baby? Probably not – unless they love it. When engaging the world, the evaluation isn’t on what people say, but how they act.
The same thing is true of an app or gadget you’re working on. It’s only when someone asks to play with it, then asks again that you know you are onto something.
- PRODUCTS based on “ideas” rather than market demand fail nearly 100% of the time because there is no demand for the solution the idea provides.
- PIVOT and modify the product to meet the ACTUAL DEMAND that was found during the validation process.
- PEOPLE open doors – listen. Actively focus on listening to what people are saying when you conduct market research, this information will garner trust and respect, as well as, a genuine understanding for your customer.
Validation is an essential process to allow entrepreneurs to refine and evaluate their product and solution. Now that you know how to save time and money lets start creating your MVP. Tune back in for the next phase of building a successful startup.
Author: Jesse Lawrence
Founder and CEO of Boulder Bits. Sci-fi lover, game theory strategist, and idea generator.