Business idea validation is simply confirming that an idea is viable outside your own mind and that other people experience the same problem as you do, and desire a solution. You will be surprised to find that sometimes, the ideas that look promising to us may actually be terrible in the eyes of the customer. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when validating your idea.
Can you build a prototype?
A prototype is a simple representation of an idea and is useful for putting complex designs in a form that people can see, touch and give feedback. Not all ideas can be prototyped though, products more so more than services. With the current advances in technology, you can use 3 D printing to create exact physical replicas of product ideas from computer designs. In Kenya Africa 3D does it and it will cost around Ksh.500 for every hour it takes to create your prototype. If you are pitching a product idea to investors never go into the room without a prototype, you stand a better chance when you can tell as well as show how your world-changing product works. Technology: Need To Create A Prototype For Your App? Try One Of These Sites
Is someone already doing it?
If someone is already implementing a version of your ideas and they have customers already, that is enough validation that your idea meets a need. The next step in your business idea validation process is to show how design, features, service etc. will be better than the existing ones. Some of the world’s most successful companies were not the first of their kind; Google came after Yahoo, improving how pages were ranked and how ads were displayed. Facebook replaced Myspace, Safaricom didn’t invent mobile money (Mpesa was launched in 2007, six years after Smart Money and three years after G Cash launched in the Philippines) but they brought it to a different audience. Just make sure that when remixing an existing idea, your focus is on solving a point of pain for customers and not on copying everything from another business.
Is it a problem you personally face?
A simple way to validate an idea is to solve a problem that directly affects you, in such a case, your in-depth understanding of the problem is a form of validation-you just have to find more people with the same problem. Phil Knight the founder of Nike Inc. had been a runner throughout his teenage and college life before starting Nike, his co-founder Bill Bowerman was his former coach at Oregon University, and had also coached the US Olympic Athletics team. The duo had the first-hand experience with the limitations of existing running shoes at the time and built a successful company to solve those problems. What problems are you currently facing? Are there others with the same experience? Would you be willing to pay someone to solve that problem for you? If the answer is yes then your idea is validated.
How strong is the search volume?
Technology can help you validate an idea, with 1.17 billion people using Google globally and the search engine is ranked among the ten most popular apps among Kenya’s 21 million smartphone users. The Google Keyword Tool – which shows you the volume of specific queries searched on Google can provide great insight into whether the problem your idea addresses is experienced by others. Additionally, an alternative free tool to use is the Google Trends which contains data that tracks the popularity of topics over time in different parts of the world. Type any query you have and you will get to see how popular it is and whether the trend in popularity is consistent or not.
If you have taken all the above measures and have established that there is interest in your idea, go a step further by complementing these findings with direct feedback from interviewing people. Carry your prototype a drawing of your idea, or a video explaining the concept etc. Prepare interview questions beforehand. The questions should be inspired by the findings of your earlier business idea validation work; if you are remixing an existing concept you could ask how the interviewee feels about present product’s features are they content or not? Ask questions that require descriptive answers, not yes or no type of questions-observe body language in addition to their answers. After your idea is fully validated you can go ahead and start work on product/service development.
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