Starting a business can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it can also be challenging. That’s why it’s important to validate your startup idea before you invest time and money into it. Validation can help you determine whether or not there is a gap in the market for your product or service and if there is enough demand for it.
It is important to remember that not all startups are successful. According to Forbes, 90% of startups fail within the first five years of operation. Additionally, Bloomberg reported that only 11% of startups reach the $1 million mark in annual revenue. These statistics demonstrate the importance of validating a startup idea before investing time and money into it. Doing the necessary research and testing can help ensure that your startup is successful and sustainable.
You don't need a solution
There is a common pattern that most of us are guilty of creating a product that is designed to solve a problem that does not exist.
One simple trick to increase the success rate of your startup is by starting with the problem in mind and building up the solution.
There was a problem with public transport, so Uber identified that problem and came up with a solution.
There was a problem with empty apartments and there were high prices of hotels, so Airbnb saw this gap and create the business model we are all familiar with.
Whenever you wanted to order food, there were some restaurants that cannot deliver because they did not have cars. Bolt food identified this problem and came up with a solution.
We first need to identify real problems, and only then come up with a practical solution.
Don't try it cause it's cool
Most of my early career startup ideas were around my curiosity about trying new programming languages and paradigms. That was a complete mistake. I tried to create a “solution” but the main reason was just for me to play around with the technologies.
The same thing goes with ChatGPT: If you don’t have a real problem, and you just want to play around with this new trend, then don’t expect to have real results.
Find the right audience
Another common mistake is to rely on the opinion of your friends and family. Of course, they are gonna support you and your idea. But this approach will cause lots of wasted hours and money.
Instead, you would need a pragmatic approach.
- Find your target audience: image who is having the problem that you might solve with your solution. Create a narrow target audience
- Survey: create a survey where you would ask them specific questions about your idea and your solution.
- Interview: make calls with the target audience and find out how to improve your product.
- Collect: you need all the information to be in one place. Analyze it carefully and see if your idea is worth continuing.
Test your idea
Give them something
Create an empty website where you will place only the information about your solution. Remember, at this phase, you don’t implement anything.
You might as well create a form where people would enroll for emails, or create a group where people would talk about your solutions.
At this point, after you validate the interest in your solution, you can get a step further.
Implement the solution with minimal effort. Create an interface where people could interact with your solution, but make manual changes from your side.
This phase is an additional layer of validation. You don’t want to hire a team of developers and markers if the target audience doesn’t engage with your solution.
Make it as simple as possible, do the manual job and manual solution. This phase can be easily reiterated until you found the perfect fit for the problem.
And there you have it. If every step is validated by your target audience, you are now in the acceleration phase. Press hard that pedal and give your best.
Only now do you start getting funding, hiring developers, hiring sales people, and start scaling the solution.