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Start With Idea Validation And Create Products That People Love
Business

Start With Idea Validation And Create Products That People Love

Posted on 19/02/2019
5 min read

Coming up with a bright product idea is a dream of many entrepreneurs. Sadly, our experiences show that only a handful of them focus on idea validation. In the result, their products vanish from the market not only because the idea was bad from the start but because it was not taken seriously. Idea validation is the first step to create a serious product you’ve been dreaming of for so long.

What you’ll learn about idea validation in this article:

  • Four questions you need to answer to make sure your idea makes sense.
  • What are personas and why it makes sense to build them?
  • How to easily check on your competition?
  • What are the pros and cons of idea validation?

Four questions to start with

Crossing the start line is the most difficult step in the journey. Without a clear idea of what you’re looking for, you can easily get distracted and lose time and money in the result. We start all project conversations by asking four simple questions that may not have easy answers.

idea validation by briisk

Why are you doing this?

Why is the most powerful question in the world. The one you need to start with. When you validate your product idea, the question why helps you identify:

  • the problem you’re trying to solve,
  • the value of your product or idea,
  • your personal motivation.

Asking yourself why may seem trivial but it is the foundation of your product. It determines its purpose, leads to the value your idea creates and also shows the first stamps of your culture which often becomes product identity.

Who will buy from you?

That’s the question that keeps many entrepreneurs awake at night. Even if you have the brightest idea your startup cannot be successful without paying users. These are the ones that really suffer because the problem you’re solving is on the top of their list.

How to find them? Build buyer personas and connect with them online and offline.

Build a buyer persona

Buyer personas are the representation of your ideal customer segments. They have names, age, gender, hobbies, lifestyle and problems. They hold certain positions in their companies and sometimes even work in a given industry.

Benefits of writing buyer personas down

  • Buyer personas help you visualise the customers,
  • Buyer personas put the customers in real life situations in which they buy your products,
  • Buyer personas will help you generate leads for online campaigns and research.

Marketing personas can be very intimidating to build as they contain a lot of details.  You don’t need such a complex persona to validate your idea. You need someone to connect with.

buyer personas by briisk

Connect with your buyer personas

When you know who you’re looking for, it’s good to get in touch with them. There are plenty of opportunities out there. It’s as simple as writing a short message such as:

Hi {name},

I’m hoping to spend 15 minutes on the phone with Project Managers who are experiencing {problem}. It’s just research, I don’t have anything to sell. Would you be available for a quick chat tomorrow at 11am?

Thanks,

Joanna

  1. Identify your buyer personas on LinkedIn and ask for a 15-minute call about the problem you’re trying to solve. Remember to target 3-4 times more than you need. Some might not respond, some might not be interested. But that’s ok.
  2. Interview your buyer personas If you target a group of certain interest, e.g. runners, project managers, designers, vegans, etc, find the places where they are and interact with them. Showing your genuine interest in their problems and interacting with them will not only make you a recognisable person in the room but also can help you validate whether the problem you came up with was really number one. Or maybe, these communities have more burning issues you could solve for them?

When you meet your ideal customer or have a chance to talk to them on the phone, make sure you ask the questions that help you validate.

  • Do they experience the problem you’re researching?
  • How relevant is the problem (no.1 or rather far away in line?)
  • What do they do to solve the problem now?
  • Would they pay for a solution to the problem?

What is already on the market?

Most of us would like our ideas to be unique and impossible to copy. But that’s not the way it is. Even visionaries such as Steve Jobs used already existing ideas and brought them to new levels. Before that happens to your idea, take a look at your competition.

Identify your competition

  • Products that solve the same problems
  • Products that address the same urgencies (scroll the resource down to video)
  • Products dedicated to the same industry you’re targeting

Find your competition

  • Try to search them using Google, but don’t type the name of the product you already know. Try to search for it as your user would do instead. Google uses natural language processing nowadays which makes it easy to find answers not to keywords but to questions.
  • Use Product Hunt and similar sites. They aggregate the information about recently launched applications, collect users comments and even allow to ask and answer questions.
  • Quora is a question and answer site for any curious soul out there. Looking for competition here will give you a clear idea of how they talk about themselves, what problems they solve and which group they’re ideal for.

Even if your first research would show there are other products like yours on the market, don’t panic. Analyse them and learn what works in those solutions. Then it will be time to make your product different.

How to show your brand is different?

Your research will show what’s the number one priority for your customers, what they’re willing to pay for and what they’re not getting from the solutions they’re using now. This information is a great chance to think about your brand identity:

  • Is it rather human or tech?
  • Rather conservative or innovative?
  • Rather feminine or masculine?

The questions above will eventually help you discover the language your customers speak, the ways to connect with them and the hero your brand is.

I know it may seem a bit of abstract at the moment. Still, it’s good to give it a thought before preparing for the next step – the product discovery.

What’s difficult in idea validation

Learning about your customers, talking to them and discovering their biggest pains are important but stressful moments. What if no one replies or if your idea is not exciting enough for your buyer personas? Don’t worry. Many ideas go through pivot moments early on.

The common obstacles you can find on the way:

  • To stay motivated while collecting customer feedback
  • To be bold when talking to strangers about your idea, especially when they’re experts
  • To be honest when answering questions even if it means the answer is far from what you’ve expected
  • To keep the ego on a leash because you’re there to listen, not to sell or show off.

The bright side of product idea validation

The amount of work right after your idea is born can be overwhelming. If this is your first product it can feel even scary.

You may use a handful of free online tools that can help you validate on your own.

You may want to talk to a team that built many applications and answered those questions with their clients not once or twice.

Whichever way you choose, you can be sure that interacting with your target group can bring you benefits such as:

  • Understanding your target audience
  • Addressing their no.1 pain
  • Finding your way to stand out among competition
  • Saving budget on creating a product no one would use or pay for.

Key takeaways

Idea validation is all about asking yourself the right questions:

  • Why are you doing this?
  • Who will be your paying customer?
  • What solutions are already out there?
  • How will you differentiate yourself on the market?
  • Buyer personas represent your target customers. You will design your product and prepare brand communication with them in mind. The key is to listen to them and help them solve their challenges.
  • Your competition solves the same problems but doesn’t have to have the same product. Use Google, Product Hunt or Quora to find who you are competing with.
  • Validating your idea may not require money but a lot of focus and time. You need to be bold, open and humble on the way.
  • The good news is that you don’t have to do everything alone. Talk to a team that built several products for your niche or industry. They will help you go through the whole product design process, not only through the validation.


About the author

Avatar
Joanna Chmiel
Head of Business Development

Works with Briisk clients long before they become ones. She listens carefully, proposes solutions and eases the project kickoff. While the project is ongoing, she monitors client satisfaction and helps to remove any blockers that get in the way. Madly in love with French toasts, red wine and pole dancing (but not all at the same time).

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