Validation: the key to turning your creative ideas into successful products

We all have tons of great ideas.

But how do you know if an idea that can’t leave your head is worth further consideration? I think it’s a matter of your motivations and how interested others are in your solution.

Motivation is self-explanatory, but what about other people’s interests? Why does it even matter?

Nothing is more discouraging than spending time and energy developing a solution you believe people will love, only to discover at launch that there's no interest.

Most of the ideas come from our experiences, therefore we project them as our truth. Our truth doesn’t necessarily mean someone else’s. Usually, it’s just our perspective.

jami perspective validation

Having said that, how do you determine if your perspective represents someone else’s?

A proven and effective method for doing so is validation. In a nutshell, it’s a method for approving or disapproving assumptions about a given subject. Validation is a term often used in the business world. It represents the research and development process companies use to test product ideas before they’re released to the general public.

So… It’s the process of testing and validating ideas before launching a brand, tagline, product, service, or website.

From a lot of past experiences, I’ve summed up the three best ways to quickly and effectively validate ideas (find the fit). Here’s what I think:

1. Fake door testing

Side note: This type of validation costs some bucks. Startups usually use it.

Fake door testing is a technique used to evaluate market demand for a solution before investing in its development. It involves inviting potential customers to use your solution that is not created (but may be in development) to see how many of them will be interested.

One example of a fake door test is a landing page for your would-be business, which is ‘guided’ by a few Instagram or Facebook Ads.

By running a fake door test you can get validation on market segmentation (who would buy your solution), value proposition (how they found your answer), and the solution itself (what they would buy).

Running ads leading to the landing page can give you an indication that there is some interest from the specific audience with a specific value proposition. If not, then you know your advertised market/value proposition needs to change.

The most important thing about running a fake door test is that you need to focus on one metric during the test. Usually, it’s the call-to-action button click rate.

A cool addition to this is a “sign-up for updates” mailing-list form on your landing page. That way when you are ready to build the solution you have the email addresses of interested customers.

Learn more in detail about the fake door testing here.

2. Ask questions

One of the easiest and cheapest ways to validate ideas is by asking questions about them. We might as well call it an interview.

Choose up to 10 people who, in your opinion, classify as potential users of your solution and conduct a 5-10 minute long interview asking a bunch of questions about their own lives. The goal of these interviews is to validate your assumptions about them. All you want to do is ask questions and listen carefully to the answers.

Although asking questions about their life seems like a really easy task to do, it is crucially important to avoid spending time without getting to know the truth from potential customers. The biggest risk is to collect either false positives (what a great idea) or false negatives (this is never going to work).

Rob Fitzpatrick has written a great book on how to run interviews.

If you don’t have time to read 136 pages of information, check out this table of interview questions that will help you to avoid false positives or negatives.

3. Practical testing

Go out and do the thing. Once you feel ready, ask for money. If someone is ready to pay for it, boom, you have a fit for the solution.

This form of validation takes the greatest amount of resources, but you can work on your solution which is always great. This works best if you’re confident that there are people who would love your thing or you just don’t care because it’s something you enjoy doing even if no one else has shown interest yet.

My experience

To develop this idea about Jami, I used all three methods combined. Initially, I spoke with people and approved my hypothesis of existing problems. And with my skills, I could help them and earn money. So I continued the validation process and purchased a domain and built this page. From the start, this was just a landing page for me to sell my website development service. Since I started to see strong validation points (without spending a penny on ads) I’m continuing the validation process practically – I continue to build this website better and better and start to use marketing. I’ve already got some new clients in the pipeline.

So, I’m quite sure it’s worth building further 🙂

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