How to achieve market validation as a startup
May 24, 2018
May 24, 2018
There is a long process to getting a new product ready for launch and the very first step once you have an idea, is to validate the idea is valuable and you have an understanding of the problem your solution is solving. The process of getting market validation for your idea or product should be done very iteratively to confirm each step along the way you have made the right choices for the solution. The goal of this approach is understanding that it will be easier, cheaper and lose less hours to make course corrections often than a huge pivot at the end.
When working on a new idea for a startup here are a few steps that you should ensure you have market validation before continuing to the next step.
- Market Validation For Your Concept – If you have an idea for a solution to a problem, before you spend any time on it or money, simply talk to people in the industry and space and validate your solution solves a problem. You do not have to guess, you just need to be willing to reach out to your potential customer base and do some interviews on what the issue is that you are trying to solve, how do they solve it today and if a solution like yours would help them. During this time as you interview your target customer segment, build relationships with the people you speak with. They can help you along the way to continue to validate your idea, they can advise you and make introductions to other potential users in their circle and ideally would make great early adopters when you are ready.
- Market Validation For Your Prototypes – Every startup founder should know that the worst thing they can do is wait until everything is perfect before they launch. Nothing will ever be perfect but you need to identify the critical path to launching your product and as soon as you are there, get it in front of users quickly to validate you nailed the solution. Once you have something to look at, you may find that while you had nailed the requirements of the features, your user experience is terrible and will not save them time after all. As soon as you have screens to look at, let people see them. As soon as you have features to show off, let people see them. These sessions should be closed door private demos that you lead and get feedback from users directly on the features and usability. Build a list of their issues and work on getting those resolved before moving forward.
- Market Validation During Beta Testing – Once you have led a walk through of your product with a number of potential customers and resolved their feedback it is time to open up the product for open beta which allows anyone to gain access and try out the product. During beta testing, you need to make it very easy to have users get you feedback about their experience so you can learn from them as you will not be able to hear or see their reaction you need to have tools to capture their challenges in order to really confirm your solution. During this stage is when the rubber really hits the road and you will see if customers are able to get themselves setup or if they struggle without you leading them. Do they come back after their first experience or did they not find enough value to return. Which features were used and were not used? When someone registers for a beta and uses the system, be sure to try and call and get a hold of them to learn as much as you can.
With each step in the start up process you have an opportunity to bring in users to see what you are doing and have them validate your solutions and ideas or give you new ideas to solve the same solutions. The biggest challenge a startup founder has is being willing to leave their ego on the side and actually listen to this feedback since this is coming directly from their target audience. Feedback is only useful if you listen so be sure to go through the various stages of market validation as you work on your new idea but even more importantly, be sure you execute upon the feedback to build a better product and have a more successful launch.