I have an idea that I believe will benefit two target markets (don't we all). I have tried reaching out to one of the markets (food truck owners) online (email & Facebook): 4 in total so far. None of them responded. Is it because there's something wrong with my message to them? How do you get to the right people to validate your ideas? Do you try all sorts of methods before you finally give up? Is the lack of replies an indication that my idea won't work, am I executing my outreach the wrong way or do I just need to try to reach more people?

The first thing I would tell you is do not always be inclined too much towards people for your idea validation, because people will answer you according to their ego states. There are three ego states of Child, Parent and Adult. The Child Ego state is one where people are full of joy and hope which is pure and good. The child state can be bad in cases where one is immature. The parent ego state is “do as I do” state where the person copies exactly what the parental figure does or says. While the Adult Ego state is, while an adult is a mature state of neither child nor of a parent. Two friends talking about going to get dinner at the new restaurant near the office is an example of Adult to Adult interaction. You will never get 100% accurate answer.
Step by step process to validate your idea:
1. Define your goal: Just like any idea management-related activity, validation starts with defining your goals. In this stage, you will decide what you want to learn and what aspects to validate.
You goal can be one of the following, for example:
1. Problem – Is your problem true/worth solving?
2. Solution – Is your product/offer going to solve the problem?
3. Features – How do the core features of your product work?
4. Business model – Is your business model viable and scalable?
5. Price – Is there enough demand to make your business model work with the price you’ve set? How does your pricing model work in practice?
Although these themes are common and important, they are just examples. The purpose of your goal is to identify the most critical assumption related to your specific idea, so make sure you start with the most significant one.
For you it can be an assumption that is most likely to happen, but you can also start with an assumption that has the biggest downside or the worst expected value. Map out all your assumptions regarding your idea and prioritize the one that is the most critical for your idea to succeed. Let us say your idea is to sell contact lenses online with a monthly subscription. You know that the market is growing and will be $9,2 billion in 2023, so there is no need to do separate market validation. In this case, your most critical assumption is most likely related to the price and your goal is to learn what is the right price point for your monthly contact lens plan.
2. Develop a hypothesis: After you have defined your goal for idea validation, it’s time to develop a hypothesis based on that goal. A useful hypothesis is a testable statement, which often includes a prediction. The key here is to start from the most critical assumption. That is the one that is the most likely to fail and would also have the direst consequences. What would have to be true for the idea to be feasible? In Airbnb’s case, for example, its main critical assumption was that people are willing to stay at a stranger’s house and that homeowners are willing to rent out their homes for strangers. For Airbnb, this was their most critical assumption because the entire idea depends on other people willing to share their homes. Although house-swapping was already a pre-validated concept and an efficient way to travel with little money, Airbnb’s concept was different. Airbnb’s idea was validated before they even had one. They were looking for ways to pay their rent when they realized that a huge conference was coming to town and all the hotels were booked up. The founders bought three airbeds to the apartment, offered their guests a bed-and-breakfast service and showed their guests around the city, which allowed them to pay their rent and validate their business idea at the same time.

Usually coming up with the hypothesis is not difficult. What is more important is to define the minimum success criteria for the test, which is not always easy. For example, if 8 people out of 10 would say they would rather sleep in a hotel than on someone's couch, does that mean Airbnb’s idea is invalid? What comes to your contact lens business, your most critical assumption is whether people are willing to make a purchase online as well as the price they are willing to pay for it.
3. Experiment and revise: Once you have developed a hypothesis, you can actually start validating that assumption by running experiments.
The point of experimentation is to find the fastest and cheapest way to test your assumption in practice. An experiment is a test or a set of tests that measure the effects of a hypothesis and reveal whether you should proceed with your idea.
In other words, an experiment is conducted to learn if your assumption is or isn’t true. Often, the initial idea is just a starting point for a better and more refined idea because you almost always need to improve it.
When you are going through the validation process, you have a chance to learn how to make your idea or product even better.
There are tons of different ways to conduct an experiment:
1) Build an MVP (Minimum Viable Product)
a) Landing page
b) Email
c) Physical prototype
2) Fake it 'til you make it/ Wizard of Oz
3) Interview/survey
4) Crowdfunding platform (such as Kickstarter)
5) A/B test (make different versions of your advertising campaigns to see which one performs better)
If you want to validate a problem, conducting interviews and surveys are often enough. If, however, you are looking to validate a product or a service, you might want to use Wizard of Oz prototyping or similar.
When validating a price, you might want to create a landing page and conduct A/B tests. You might also want to try selling a fictitious product and use accepted offers as a measure.
When you are doing research, ask for feedback; ideas, responses, comments and look for common answers to the following themes:
1. People who say they will buy your product = Target market
2. What people are actually paying for it = Price?
3. People who will buy/keep buying it = Demand
4. Validate and develop: In this stage, you should confirm your assumption to be either valid or invalid. If your idea has potential, and the most critical assumption is correct, you can start refining your idea. Although validation isn’t always a guarantee of success, as it’s the execution that matters, having validated the most critical assumptions and using the data you’ve gathered in the validation process will definitely help when you start developing and implementing your idea.
Idea Validation Success Factors:
1. Be ruthlessly critical: People who build businesses are almost always optimists, and while you definitely need a certain amount of optimism, having too much of it won’t get you very far. There are far more bad ideas than there are good ones and even for the good ideas, there are far more bad solutions than there are good ones. The only way to get past this issue and to make better decisions is to be extremely critical of your own work.
2. Keep the validation process simple: Keeping the process simple and effective is the key to fast learning. Often your assumptions are different from your actual challenges. So, instead of listing every single assumption and spending tons of time making sense of them, treat your process as a simple, general framework. Pay attention to picking the right selection criteria and metrics and focus on the most essential aspects of your business first. You have plenty of time to focus refining the details once you know your business idea is solid and the big picture works. The point of validation is not to come up with a perfect solution but to make sure your idea has potential.
3. Involve the right target audience: When validating a new idea and gathering feedback, involving the right audience is the key. Although your nearest and dearest are the first ones to support your idea, friends and family are not usually the most reliable source of feedback. Your idea validation process depends on the ability to gather accurate information regarding your idea. Therefore, finding the right people who know enough about the business or the topic of your idea is necessary. For example, if your offering is a B2B product for the Fortune 500, you probably want to reach out to them.
4. Be systematic: Idea validation should be done in a systematic manner to keep track of the assumptions you have regarding your idea, as well as the measurable results you’ve received from testing it. One way to increase your systematism is to use a dedicated innovation management software for gathering, developing, evaluating, and validating new ideas. Viima, for example is a cool tool that helps manage ideas throughout the entire validation process. You can gather all validation data in one place, including feedback, validation boards, evaluation criteria, etc.
5. Look around and learn from others’ mistakes: It is very unlikely you’re the first and only one coming up with a new idea and there’s a chance that there are several people who have had the exact same idea before you. Being aware of what happened to already existing ideas is smart as it can help avoid some of the critical mistakes already made. In most cases, having no competition isn’t a sign of originality and innovativeness. Often, either the timing or execution of the previous ideas were poor, or the ideas were bad to begin with. It does not matter how well your product is executed if no one finds it useful. So, look at the players in the market and how they do things. Is there something you can learn from previous mistakes or your current competition to avoid making the same mistakes people have made before you?
Besides if you do have any questions give me a call:

Answered 2 years ago

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