Starting a Business – Product Validation

What is Product validation?

As I mentioned in my post about Lean Startup model for creating businesses, you should find the customers first, determine their problems, then offer the solutions to them.
And the question that I had is “What if I don’t have an audience or customers to talk to yet?”

 

Which is honestly where I’m at with a couple of my online business “ideas.”  You see I did things backwards too.  I only recently learned of this lean startup method, and I already have two online businesses suffering in the dark shadows of the internet.  Thespotlight of readers has not shone on  them.  I had the ideas. I built the products. But I didn’t have an audience or customers.  And as of right now I still don’t.

So what should I have done considering I don’t have an audience to poll or customers to survey?

 

 

This is why I have been researching product validation.  

 

Product validation is when you do the research or work to determine if people would buy your product BEFORE you spend the time and money in creating it.

 

Which makes total sense to me now, but honestly pisses me off that I never thought of it to begin with.  We fall in love with our “ideas” and we assume other people will too.  But thats not the case.  If your idea doesn’t solve a problem and provide value to someone then it will flounder and die.

 

If you already have an existing customer base or audience then you can simply ask them.  “What products would you like us to release next?”   Or, “what problems would you like us to tackle next to make your life easier, better, etc…?”

 

But all is not lost if you don’t have an audience (apparently…I still need to “validate” this validation myself but I’m going to try it out.)

To determine if there are paying customers out there you need to do some research.

 

A couple days ago I was listening to a podcast episode of “Screw the Nine to Five” about validation. It was episode #46.  It was about doing the research before building any products.

The 4 main tips they had were:

  1. Search Amazon’s Kindle Store to see if there are books in your niche that are bestsellers.  (To be honest I don’t fully understand everything they were saying about their criteria of what they were looking for, but I get the basics.)  Basically, competition is a good thing so if someone else is already making some sales off a book, then you can make some money off it too.
  2. Udemy.com This site is where people can pay to enrol in online courses. Once again, we’re looking for competition.  Check if courses already exist on your niche, and are they getting used/purchased.  You want that…are people willing to pay?
  3. Google Keyword Tools – I will talk about this further in a separate post, but basically are people searching for your niche or idea?
  4. Facebook groups  – Are there Facebook sites dedicated to the group, and do they have active participants?  If so, what do they talk about? What questions do they have?

 

There are other forms of product validation out there – including using advertisements to see if people click on your ad – and I’ll try to highlight more of these techniques in the near future.

 

Until then, maybe you have a validation technique that worked for you?  If its not too top secret perhaps you could share it with me.   (Thanks in advance 🙂

 

Tim

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