how to validate your idea before BUILDING an mvp
You have an idea for the next great start-up (!). Now you have to iron-out out 3 things to see if your idea is viable -- or has potential for product market fit:
Who your customers are -- be as specific as possible here.
Note: If you’re developing a 2-sided marketplace, you have two sets of customers: buyers and sellers.
Iron-out what pain point(s) you’re solving for them; there are over 30 to choose from.
How your business will make money.
Before you spend any money on developing a solution, talk to your prospective customers to really understand their needs -- and see if they’d be willing to pay for a solution to their problems. Sometimes it feels like a catch-22, you need customers to find more customers. How do you get started and find your first one?
Can you bring value to the prospects during the interview?
e.g. Are there publicly available (or paid) resources you can leverage to provide insight(s) they didn't have?
e.g. If you're considering developing a 2-sided marketplace, what will you offer the supply side to convince them to join before the demand is there?
Industry and vertical conferences (free or $$$)
Meetup groups by vertical, expertise and/or industry (free)
Offer (paid) studies on social media ($$$), especially if cold emails and follow-ups are getting no response
Join start-up communities, such as 805 start-ups to meet other founders (free)
If developing SaaS, consider offering consulting services to prospective customers, to help you prove out and fine-tune the idea
measure/identify themes that come up; and
learn if there are themes that come up again and again -- and any words/phrases your customers are using to describe their pain-points.
By using their words to describe your idea, you'll be able to resonate with future customers.
If you found promising themes around your customer pain-points, consider developing your product as interactive wireframes, for the next stage of idea validation -- to help you see if people would be willing to pay for an MVP/service.
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