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How to validate your startup idea

Posted on 10/23/2022, 12:22:39 PM

You have an idea. That's amazing, but before building a startup, you should validate the idea to ensure that it's something people will buy. Market validation determines whether there is a market for your product or service. It's essential because most startups fail because they can't find enough people to buy. Validating your idea beforehand will help ensure you build something that will succeed.

The first step to validating your idea beforehand is knowing the problem you're trying to solve. Can you articulate the problem in one sentence? Not the solution. For example, the problem Canva, an app that allows people to create designs on the web easily, might be trying to solve is that "it's hard for customers to create a design without having to learn Photoshop." 

Please keep it simple.

Now that you have an idea of the problem that you're trying to solve, you want to validate whether it's a problem that your target audience has. Not only should it be a problem your target audience is currently having, but it should be one of the top 3 problems on their mind.

First, figure out who your target audience is. Come up with a profile for them. Some questions you may want to answer:

  1. How old are they?
  2. Where do they live?
  3. What do they do for a living? 
  4. Where do they spend their time?

Interview your target audience who are experiencing the problem. Reach out to at least 20 prospects on LinkedIn or other social media. Send a message to your target audience asking for a short interview. When you talk to them, you want to know the following:

  1. Do they experience the problem?
  2. How painful is the problem to them?
  3. How do they currently solve the problem?
  4. Would they pay to solve the problem?

Access your market size and share. Estimate the size and share of market that you're trying to capture. Determine where your product or service fits into the current market and how much of the market your business could own. Research sales data and market share of existing competitors.

Examine current solutions for the problem. You want to figure out how to develop a better solution that is less painful for the customer. You want to solve a problem where there are already competitors. You should do research on your competitors and determine the following:

  • Are they currently growing?
  • Are they hiring?
  • Are they raising money?

Having competitors is a good sign that there's a market for the problem that you're trying to solve.

Figure out what customers dislike about the current solutions. How can you make your solution better and easier for the customer? What is missing with the current solutions that you can improve on? 

Reach out to potential customers and ask them about pricing. Ask them how much they are willing to pay for the product. If they say they won't pay for the product or service, ask them why not. If you talk to 10 prospects, five or more should say yes to pricing. Even if customers are unwilling to pay for pricing, asking them why they aren't willing to pay might help refine your idea. 

Customers use search engines to solve problems that they are facing. Checking to see if people are searching to solve the problem is a great way to gauge interest. Research the monthly search volume of related terms to see how many people are searching about the problem you're trying to solve. 

What's great about reaching out to potential customers to validate your product is that you have prospects that you can reach out to talk about wireframes, features, and design. They can also become your first paying customers. It would help if you build a relationship with your current prospects so that they can help you further down the line. You'll need help at different stages of your startup. 

Now that you have validated your idea, it's time to test it with customers. An MVP is the minimum viable product that will allow you to validate and iterate on your idea. You can read our article about how to build an MVP to try your product. 

How to find a business mentor

If you need help validating your idea, feel free to book a call with one of our mentors at mentordial.com. You'll find great startup mentors who can give you the startup advice you need to launch your startup right away. 

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