Validation Versus Procrastination

So you think you have an idea worth pursuing? Well do you REALLY have the resources, know-how, and the adequate homework completed in order to justify pursuing it? Or will you find out 6 months, 1 year down the road that you should have done more homework?

Here is a five-step approach to help you figure out the potential before you are too far into your venture.

Investigation

The first and most important step is investigating your idea or concept. Analyzing similar companies and solutions. Take a look at websites such as Crunchbase, Google searches, and other mediums to help you determine the viability and comparable solutions out in the market.

Needless to say, you will never be able to fully determine ALL potential solutions or competitors but must have an adequate understanding of potential competitors, especially in your location. 

Validation

Once you have determine if your specific solution is not widely available or if you can improve on a current standard the next step is validating it with a group of potential customers. Speak to your end-users and truly understand their pain points, willingness to use and pay for your solution, and any recommendations they have to your suggested solution. One last check is to determine the scalability of your idea; can it be grown into a business that will be used by enough users or will they pay enough to help support the company?

Surveying and taking the time to speak to your end-users can heavily help the direction and execution of your solution.

Customer Attraction and Retention

The next step is understanding how you will attract your customers and keeping them. Will you need to create a marketing plan? Or do you already have a small number of initial customers that can get you going?

Develop a method for finding your customers, illustrating your value proposition, and completing a sale whether it is cold calling or through your website. Customers need to understand the value of anything before they buy it, make sure that can easily and effectively be conveyed.

Product Placement and Distribution

Last but not least, understand how your solution is placed within the eco-system that you are entering and distributed to your end-users. Take the time to look at how comparable competitors place themselves and determine if you can replicate or improve on that process. Make sure to provide yourself with a few alternatives just in case one is not successful.

Direction

This is the stop that you bring everything together based on your research and investigation. You or your team can now determine your next steps by creating a roadmap that highlights each milestone to help your long-term goal.

Take the time to create a 6 month and 1 year plan to help determine what resources are needed and when.

Note: your plan will most likely change but your goals should remain rigid.

If you have any other recommendations to help Entrepreneurs determine if they should pursue a venture, please share below.

 

Ashkan

Any comments or questions, please contact me:

Ashkan [at] GreenhornConnect [dot] com

 

photocredit: http://secondtouchdynamics.com/Pics/Validation%20Studies%20Page%20Pic.JPG

Discussion

REIT

 

 

Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic.

REIT

 

Have a plan

Great advice Ashkan,

In the excitement of starting a new venture or realizing that you have a "big idea," the methodology of actually proving that idea out sometimes gets overlooked. Your 5 step plan is a pretty straightforward one and makes sense to me.

Readers may also want to learn more about the "Customer Development" methodology that further elaborates on your ideas. It's all about finding your future customers -  before you invest lots of time and money in building stuff.

Here's a great primer article on Customer Development on Cindy Alvarez's blog.