A Startup’s Roadmap to Validation

Lesson 2: Validating Feedback and Taking Idea to Market

Now you’re really excited. You’ve finally managed to validate your idea in part 1 of the Startup’s Roadmap to Validation series and things look promising. You’ve got a small list of emails from people who’re almost just as excited as you are about the idea.

Ready to build your MVP?

Good. Now stop whatever you’re doing and take a step back. You’re not quite ready to build your MVP yet.

First, we’ve got to validate our validation.


Validating The Feedback

After talking with people in your target demographic, you’ve should have a rough idea of what to build and hopefully one or two insights unique to your niche.

The next step here is to find out if the feedback they’ve given you is actually worth anything. For all you know, they might be giving you feedback just for the sake of doing so, and not actually because you’re solving a problem they care about. This happens more often than you might think because people don’t like admitting they don’t know something.

Take a look at the feedback you’ve collected and identify patterns that exist. If the majority of realtors are complaining about following up after they schedule meetings, then maybe that’s what your MVP should focus on instead.

Your goal here is to solve your customer’s problems. It helps if it’s a problem you’ve personally experienced, but don’t draw too much from your own experience because you’ll always be biased to a certain extent. What sounds like the ‘core product’ might really just be features.

Validating The Core Product

Now that you’ve figured out a problem that people seem to have, test it by pitching more of the same target demographic. Assuming that it’s a common problem that exists in your target demographic, you should have no problem getting at least 100 signups on a waiting list.

The best way is just to cold pitch, but if you’d rather not, an adspend of $25/week targeting keywords related to your target demographic should be enough to drive initial traffic to your landing page.

Keep the landing page simple. Build call to action buttons on every section and track everything from clicks to scrolls. The more data you collect now, the more accurate your assumptions will be when determining people’s intent later on.


Just Ship The Damn Thing

One thing to keep in mind as you’re validating is that validation doesn’t guarantee success. Just because someone gives you their email doesn’t actually mean they’re going to use your product, much less pay for it.

The only reason you should validate is because it offers a slightly better chance than you would if you jumped in head-first without knowing anything at all. That saves time, but only up to a certain extent. If it takes you longer to validate than it takes you to build the MVP and reiterate, you’re probably doing something wrong.

The validation steps I’ve talked about should take at most a week; Ideally, it should be more like 2–3 days at which point you should already have a rough idea of whether or not your idea even has a chance at market.

Validate, but get to building quickly because the only way you‘ll ever really know whether or not your product is something people will use is just to actually test it in market.

So your next goal? Build as little as possible in the MVP without fleshing anything out.

Brilliant work by Jon Lee

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