Most startups fail within the first year. Although the absence of money and the inability to execute the idea are often mentioned as reasons for failure, the root cause is a lack of proper market research. What makes studying the potential of new ideas complicated is that it can sometimes be almost impossible to tell the difference between a good and a bad idea. Validation is a continuous process for improving your idea and doesn’t stop with the first assumption. Even if you had a real problem and a validated solution for it, other aspects might need to be validated as you develop your idea:
Here’s how to get started with the idea validation process:
Just like any idea management-related activity, validation starts with defining your goals. In this stage, you’ll decide what you want to learn and what aspects to validate. It can be an assumption that is most likely to happen, but you can also start by believing it has the most significant downside or the worst expected value. Map out all your assumptions regarding your idea and prioritise the one that’s the most critical for your vision to succeed.
After you’ve defined your goal for idea validation, developing a hypothesis based on that goal is time. A valid hypothesis is a testable statement, which often includes a prediction. The key is to start from the most critical assumption. That’s the one that’s the most likely to fail and would have dire consequences. What’s more important is to define minimum success criteria for the test, which isn’t always easy.
Once you have developed a hypothesis, you can start validating that assumption by running experiments. The point of experimentation is to find the fastest and cheapest way to test your assumption in practice. An investigation is a test or a set of tests that measure the effects of a hypothesis and reveal whether or not you should proceed with your idea. If you want to validate a problem, conducting interviews and surveys is often enough. However, when validating a price, you might want to create a landing page and conduct A/B tests.
In this stage, you should confirm your assumption as either valid or invalid. If your idea has potential and the most critical assumption is correct, you can start refining your concept. Although validation isn’t always a guarantee of success, as it’s the execution that matters, having validated the most critical assumptions and using the data you’ve gathered in the validation process will help when you start developing and implementing your idea.
Idea validation minimises the risk of implementing ideas no one wants or isn’t willing to pay for. The purpose of idea validation is to ensure your product or business idea has potential and that the most critical assumptions regarding your idea are valid. The point is to find the fastest and cheapest way to test your hypothesis to decide whether you will proceed with the concept or pivot.
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