Validation: Because Even Innovators Need a Reality Check
When "Eureka!" meets "Show me the proof!"
In the fast-paced world of entrepreneurship, coming up with a brilliant idea for a much-needed software product is incredibly exciting.
The urge to immediately start developing your innovative solution is almost irresistible, especially when you believe you're on the cusp of something revolutionary. After all, time is of the essence, and being the first to bring your product to the market could be the key to success.
But before you rush into building a minimum viable product (MVP), we suggest you take a moment to harness the power of validation.
In this article, we look at why validation is one of the best tools in your development arsenal, helping you manage risk and finetine your solution.
From idea to action
Once you've identified a pain point and devised a software product to address it, your next step is to validate your ideas.
Developers do this before they start building a product to make sure they don't waste precious time and resources building a flawed solution.
Taking the time to properly validate means saving time (and headaches) later. Plus, slowing down at this stage can actually accelerate your progress in the long run.
What do we mean by validation?
Validation involves testing your assumptions. It helps you decide on key issues such as:
- whether customers want to use your product
- whether it's viable for your business
- whether it is feasible to build.
The validation process can also help you answer some important questions, such as:
- Is the pain point you’ve identified real?
- Is the pain point widespread enough to represent a viable market opportunity?
- Does your product idea address the pain point effectively?
- Will people want to buy and use your product?
In essence, validation is examining your idea from every angle.
Data vs. emotions
If you've come this far and still want to build an MVP, you're likely invested in your proposed solution.
You may be tempted to skip the validation process and rely on casual conversations with friends and family as sufficient validation.
Remember that there are plenty of problems and potential solutions, and that validation can help you find your niche and deliver a solution that works — both for customers and your business.
Even if your original idea turns out to be the right one, validation remains essential as it offers the evidence you need to confidently invest in the idea or secure external funding.
Temptations and truths: Why skipping validation is a risky move
What can happen if you don’t validate your ideas? There are a few possible outcomes:
- The product you've developed may be valuable to some customers, but the cost of maintaining it may outweigh its value.
- In the time it takes you to enter the market, a competitor may emerge with a superior solution, requiring significant investment to catch up.
- Reallocating resources that might otherwise go towards selling and supporting your existing offering could negatively impact its profitability.
These risks threaten continued growth and pose a threat to both your product and business.
Skipping validation is somewhat like sailing blindfolded in a storm. You might think you're steering the ship, but in reality, no one is at the helm. You could end up navigating way off the path, on the rocks financially, or struggling to weather even the tiniest storms.
Discovering new horizons
If your first idea doesn’t get a standing ovation, don’t worry. The world is constantly evolving, and we haven't yet created products that address every human pain point or need.
During the validation process, you're likely to uncover a multitude of additional pain points that your customers experience. These are like a treasure map that can lead you to a truly valuable and viable idea.
Validation helps you decide which opportunities to pursue now and which can wait. It also helps you decide how much to invest in the most promising opportunity, minimising risk exposure.
Our litmus test of ideas
An effective validation method we use is to create a landing page containing a value proposition. Doing this makes it quick and easy to gauge how attractive an idea is to audiences.
On the page, we detail the product's functionality and offer early access. Before launching, we integrate analytics to track the number of visitors and how many express interest. As an added bonus, this resource becomes a great platform for a marketing campaign.
The data we gain helps to answer some important questions:
1. Do our target audience really need this product?
2. Is the acquisition cost viable for the product or not?
Lighting the way
Validation isn't just a buzzword, it's your secret weapon — a way of peering into the future before diving headfirst into an expensive build.
The race to market your product before others do is tempting, but a well-executed strategy leads to a better product overall.