Validating an idea

Inspiration when thinking about a new startup idea is key to the creative process. Here are some methods that can help you generate ideas.

Let’s dive into the industry. Update your knowledge on the latest trends, market needs and consumer behaviour. Follow market leaders and emerging new players by reading professional blogs. Comprehensive knowledge can help you spot gaps or areas where new solutions are needed.

Our own experiences and everyday problems can inspire new ideas. Ask ourselves what difficulties we face every day and think about how we can find more effective solutions to them. Let’s not neglect networking either. Talk to others about your ideas, ask for their opinions and listen to other people’s stories and experiences. People have different angles and perspectives, and these can help to put things into perspective and to see opportunities.

Finding a business idea and bringing it to life is a similar process to finding a life partner. It takes a lot of trial and error to achieve ultimate success. At first, it’s just an idea, a germ of an idea, but working out the details, finding the “chemistry”, getting the team and family involved takes a lot of work. Finally, we can get to the “engagement”, the departure.

The logical first step in validating a business idea is to write it down and sleep on it. The next day we’ll see if it still looks viable. If yes, then it’s time for online research and market analysis. Make a spreadsheet, fill it with the results: what keywords are used, what competitors are there, how are they positioning themselves, who are their target groups, what is the media coverage, what is the search volume, what is the trend? This helps you to get in the mood and “feel” the market.

If the idea still seems viable, we can do a bigger study, even one that costs money. For B2C, i.e. retail products, landing page tests are useful, create a WordPress page with product description, prices and then generate traffic with Google and Facebook ads. Let’s see how many visitors convert, how many give their email address. We can contact them later, interview them, get to know their needs better.

For B2B, i.e. corporate products, try to interview the decision makers. Use LinkedIn or other databases to reach them (either by email or message), present the idea and listen to their opinions, either through a questionnaire or an interview. In exchange, we can offer you a gift voucher. The conversion rate is also measured here.

If the results so far suggest that the idea is viable, let’s build a prototype. Hopefully, we are already testing what we have created with the involvement of many people “acquired” from the previous steps. Show them the screen designs and the first prototype. We’re still solving your problem manually, but the demand for your product or service is building up. The key to every step of validation is to gather feedback. Even if they are negative, they help to correct mistakes and improve the product. Don’t stick rigidly to one idea, but be open to market reactions. This is the way to achieve product-market fit, i.e. a product that perfectly matches the needs of the market.

Validation is far from a perfect method. But it gives good guidance, and help reduce pitfalls. It is worth collecting information through as many channels as possible: online questionnaires, interviews, social media, search engine optimisation. Quantitative (quantifiable) and qualitative (qualitative) data are most useful together. Market research is a time-consuming process, but every step of the way brings us closer to our goal. And not only will it be easier to develop the product, but also to convince investors. Because we can show tangible results, tangible needs. And this is one of the biggest challenges for startups. We can succeed through persistent but patient work. You should never give up, but sometimes it’s worth looking at things from a different perspective. A good mentor or business adviser can be an invaluable help. They have been down a similar path and can offer advice to help you move forward.

So validation is a long process, but it is the foundation of any business. It is not just an idea, but helps you build a strategy that works. And thus a key to sustainable success.

The video on which this article is based can be found in the STRT Academy Knowledge Base: 100 days startup – Validating ideas

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