Lets say I have an idea. Actually 3 different ideas I want to pursue. My next step is to get validation of that idea. The top 5 questions that I am looking to answer are (not necessarily in order):
1. Is this a real problem? (Pain point validation)
2. Is what I am trying to do solving the problem? (Product – market fit validation)
3. How much of a problem is this for the person who I am providing this solution for? (Customer validation)
4. Will people pay to have this problem solved? If so how much? (Pricing validation)
5. Is the problem big enough that I can make a large company out of solving this problem? (Market size validation)?
So the question is how much do you have to get validation for these questions until you decide to pursue it?
One approach is to actually develop, have customers pay and let the market validate your idea.Which is what was suggested by a user at HN.
The approach I am going to suggest is more measured and less expensive than actually developing the solution before you figure out if that’s the right idea for you to pursue. It involves talking to customers / prospects or even putting together a simple SEM campaign to test the idea out. I think many might say that’s not a new idea, but I dont see over 80% of startups doing this.
That’s way cheaper than time or resources to build your idea to a real product. At some time you have to build a real product and there no denying that.
First I would make a target list of 20 people – 10 who are potential customers who have the same title of the person you believe has the problem you are trying to validate. If you are a consumer startup, that might be the target audience of users who might want the product / service you are building. If you are an B2B company, look for the right title of buyer.
The list should include 5 potential industry experts, who might understand the nuts and bolts better and 5 “laymen”, or those that have not much of an idea about the intricacies.
Is the number 20 enough? Maybe, not, but its a start.
Then prepare a one paragraph elevator pitch explaining what the problem is, and how you are going to solve it. Email it to your list and track their feedback.
Then try and get prospect validation. This is because people who know you might either a) not want to discourage you, and so give invalid answers, or b) might not understand the solution well enough to provide valid feedback.
I would setup Google adwords campaign for the keywords you think people will most likely click on. If you buy a domain and hosting from Godaddy or some other providers you even get $100 adwords credit, so there’s no excuse.
Create 3 different pages with your multiple campaigns and call to actions, and have a signup sheet (this is your call to action) for each. Track and categorize results. In each of these pages, provide a screenshot of your product / service you are trying to develop.
Wait, you think, wont this give my idea away and attract more competition. Sure, I think it might, but more likely, there’s competition already and you are just not aware of it yet is my answer. Or if there’s no competition, is that not a signal anyway?