The world of startups is highly competitive. Every day, we see new businesses coming up with excitingly new ideas for original products. In today’s ever-changing markets, to outperform their competitors and to outshine their products, young entrepreneurs are in a constant state of executing new marketing tactics. But sadly, most startup ideas tend to lose sight of the customers gradually, or let’s just say their product does not stay long in the market. Why is this so? This is mainly because of a lack of proper market validation.
What Exactly is Market Validation?
When you say or hear the terms ‘Market Validation’, what exactly do you mean by it? Let us put it this way.
Market validation is the process to decide whether or not your product or brand will fit well into and be interesting to the given target market. When you validate your business idea, it enables you to foresee whether the consumers will purchase your product or brand and whether your business will climb up the success ladder. Market validation usually focuses on time-effective interviews with target customers.
It is crucial to validate your idea before you invest significantly into your product/concept; this, in turn, helps you from wasting your time, energy, money, and resources. And through the process of market validation, you gain a deeper insight into how your brand does or does not meet the challenging issues of your buyers.
If you apply market validation, you can bring your extraordinary products to the market realm with excited buyers on the very first day.
Taking The “Lean” Way
Using Lean methodology while validating your product helps entrepreneurs learn and adapt to the tech-oriented markets. In Lean methodology, marketers don’t plan the whole marketing process at one go; it is, instead, planned and executed in stages.
Lean methodology focuses primarily on testing and learning more, iteration, continuous improvements, measurement, and it is always in the pursuit of perfection.
For young entrepreneurs with great ideas wanting to build a startup, this methodology is exciting and could be quite daunting as well. But, if you apply this process, it would help you minimize both time and cost, enhance the use of resources, and remove waste in every form. This method also focuses on boosting your company’s ability and helping your products forge lasting relationships with your customers at all times.
Lean Market Validation: 10 Ways to Rapidly Test Your Startup Idea
By applying lean market validation you can test whether your product idea is a viable one, whether it would work in the real world, or is apt for real users. When you merely start connecting with real people and ask them the right questions, you can predict who your potential customers are, whether your idea solves your customers’ pain points, and whether or not there is an ideal market for your product.
Here are some of the ways to rapidly test your startup idea before launching your product or investing in it.
Ready? Let’s get started!
1. Make A Note Of Your Product Concept
Writing is the very first step to think about the things you might have skipped earlier. But, this is NOT about writing a business plan. It is simply about writing down your product concept and asking a few vital questions. Once you are done taking these notes, you can test them in the real world. Make sure to do this as early as possible, so the risks upon launching your product are lessened.
Here are a few basic points to consider:
Target customers/users: Make sure you have targeted customers set in mind. If you take everyone as your targeted audience, you might end up performing one daunting task; make sure to be specific. Say, for instance, if your consumer is a business, ask yourself: What kind of businesses? What are the scales of these businesses? Is the typical business big or small? What is the job role of the buyer?
Problems: When building a startup, don’t waste time brooding over the features, launching the product, and losing sleep on wondering why it didn’t catch the attention of the buyers. This happens because you did not start with the problems first. Be particular with the problems your product will solve. Note them down and check whether your customers perceive them as issues as well. And these issues should be worth solving for your users.
Solution: When you are done noting down the issues, shift your focus to the product. From this stage onwards, you can connect your product directly to the pain points of the customers. How will the solution enhance their lives? Will it help them save money and time?
2. Be Decisive
Since time and resources are meager, lean market validation helps you to gather as much data and information as possible about a product that you come to a decision. Here, use the 80% rule — getting enough valid information and other data sources from customer interviews to make a decision.
3. Review Your Thoughts - Are They Facts or Presumptions
The thoughts you noted down, the debates and discussions you had with your team, are nothing but merely presumptions. Often many entrepreneurs consider these discussions as facts, but these are only assumptions, and how these can be tested, should be your objective.
So, instead of burning up all your energy and time agonizing over minor details, you must take your assumptions out into the real world and test whether it is the right idea. Only then will you know whether the time spent on debating and discussing turned out to be right or wrong.
4. Seek Truth To Your Assumptions
Now that you have made a list of your assumptions, you now need to test them and check if they work with potential consumers. So go out on the streets and try engaging with your customers to seek the truth to your assumptions.
One of the best ways is to interview customers with potential buyers of your product. Another way to check your presumptions is by interviewing experts, be it industry experts, company staff, consultants, etc. Other best ways are to test online concepts with landing pages and reasonable advertising.
5. Create Networks
You might be confused wondering how you would find and create networks (people) to converse with easily. It’s that simple! Start working with your network - your friends and family could be the first one to start with. You can then extend your network to your colleagues, advisers, investors, and others.
When interviewing them, make sure to embrace some biased answers from their end. But we say, it is better to get a little bias than not interviewing and getting a step closer to the truth.
6. Interview Your Consumers
The next step is to interview your potential consumers. Now when you interview them, start with a series of simple and yet the right questions. As you gather more and more information from the questions, be sure you diverge from those questions. Ask them about their needs and problems, and you are sure to get some invaluable insights.
7. Interrogate Your Customers - Start With “Why”
When you interview your customers, don’t just receive the response at face value. Because you are not done there. If you want your product to stay longer in the market and be loved by your customers, start interrogating them. Ask them why did they give that response, why did he/she say yes or no, why they love your product, etc.
8. Craft Your Value Proposition
Crafting your value proposition is a must when you validate a product. A value proposition is the expected benefits a customer will get when using your product. Value can be both quantitative and qualitative. Qualitative value can be time saved or extra earnings gained; while qualitative value can be the soothing effects from using your product.
These value propositions are easy to calculate and by keeping a record of this qualitative quality through customer interviews, your product can be set apart from the competition
9. Is Liking Your Idea Same As Purchasing Your Product
You need to keep in mind that when your prospective consumers like your product idea, they might not be interested in purchasing your product. You need to be alert regarding receiving their answers at face value as they don’t want to displease you.
So, whenever they say that they like your idea, you should first ask them why did they say so. You ought to know what they exactly feel because people liking your idea is not the same as buying your product. Make sure you terminate these false positives.
10. Start Experimenting In The Real World
It is recommended that you start experimenting with market validation in the real world; only then will you be able to know the worth of your product. Taking a little risk is better than sitting inside and keeping your ideas in your imaginary world.
And we assure you, when you step your feet outside, you are going to enjoy this experience
So, how have you been validating your market? Use the Lean Market Validation process wisely and make your product a reality.
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