Came up with a great Business Idea? What Next?

6 steps to validate your business idea

March 4th, 2017   |    By: Neeraj Joshi    |    Tags: Ideas, Validation, Product, Minimum Viable Product (MVP), Advisors, Mentorship & Coaching

Do you have a million-dollar business idea in your mind and don’t know HOW to proceed? Whether it is worth, investing time, money and effort?

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This is the question that haunts many entrepreneurs and stops them from working on their business idea. The reason behind this is lack of insightful data available online to guide one through the steps. That’s where my motivation comes from when writing this article.

Hopefully, by the end, you’ll understand WHAT to do, HOW to do, WHEN to do and WHY to do things if you have a great new business idea.

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Stop being a wantrepreneur. Think of a new business idea, do a set of exercises or validations before taking a decision on whether to move forward with the business idea or not and make a business out of it. Here are 6 early steps you can take if you have a great business idea in mind:

1. Explore the WHY and Define the WHO:

The first step is to think about the reason behind the business idea. Why did the business idea pop up into your head? What is the problem it is trying to solve? Deep dive into finding the actual problem and stating it.

Does the problem exist for everyone—Or, is it just you? Define the market segment for which it exists. Those people are your target customers. Validate the existence of the problem by talking with them. Whether they have experienced it or not? If yes HOW often? If you can’t clearly think of the problem it tries to solve, or your target customers don’t consider it as a real problem, either change your target customers or Think of a new problem to solve.

For example: I am writing this blog to solve the problems faced by entrepreneurs (WHO) in validating their business ideas (WHY). I asked my buddies, whether they have faced this problem or not? Is it actually a problem? (problem validation)

2. Search for Existing Solutions:

Search for existing solutions. Search the internet, discuss with friends, colleagues etc. Check how effectively the solutions have been implemented, whether they solve the problem or not, if yes then how efficiently? If you can’t find any implemented solutions, explore the WHY behind it. Don’t proceed to the next step until you have discovered the WHY.

For example: I searched for solutions online, but couldn’t find any of the available solutions solving the problem effectively. I went through many blogs, articles, websites but each one of them lacked the very basic thing i.e. structured, user-friendly and comprehensive framework (ineffective implementation).

3. Define the WHAT:

This is the step in which you come up with a solution. Framing your solution depends on the result of the above step. Think about what form your solution will take, Will it be a product? Service? What will be the key features of the product? At this stage just think of features necessary to solve the problem at hand. Note down the features with the WHY defined for each one of them. Create a basic layout of HOW your product will look, with key features embedded. Be ready for changes, as the next step involves going out and exploring the market.

For example: I figured out that I will write a blog for a start. I have defined my product here. With time, as I get more and more feedback, I will shape the journey of my product.

4. Do Market Research:

After you have the WHAT figured out, get out of your comfort zone, go out and explore the market out there. This is the most important step in the whole process as it defines the practicality of your product’s success.

Talk with your potential customers, pitch them your business idea, show them the wireframes, ask how much they would pay for it? Whether they would recommend it to their friends/relatives or not?

Check out your competitors, their market share, market hold, products and compare it with yours. Talk with start-up founders, investors, take their advice and feedback.

Also analyze the present and future trends of technology, government rules and regulations, investments and other limitations in your play-field.

After this step, you will have a clearer idea about WHAT your product should be. Incorporate all the feedbacks captured in this step to shape the WHAT.

5. Figure out the HOW:

After passing through all the above phases, you have pretty much everything figured out. One thing that remains is figuring out the HOW.

You have the requirements from above phases, state them all down in this step. Figure out the HOW much and HOW of the initial funds, HOW and WHO of building product, HOW of making money, WHAT of product timeline. (Basically figuring out the ability and time required)

6. Build and Test:

We haven’t built anything until now. This is the step where we start to build the product. We build the MVP here. Build, test it on real customers, derive learnings and iterate. There are many ways in which you can build and test an MVP. You can find many articles online on it, choose the technique that best suits your case. This step marks the end of validation phases, of the business idea—But, remember:

“Build in Phases, Release early, Learn early”.

Worth a read:

  1. Master class: Idea validation by Steve Blank
  2. Chapter #1: First step to validate your business Idea
  3. Build And Validate An MVP With This Toolkit
  4. Getting Your Idea Going: How to Validate a Business Idea the Right Way
  5. Validate your startup idea before building anything

Also shared on Hacker Noon.

About the Author

Neeraj Joshi

Hi, my name is Neeraj Joshi, Heading Product at Spinny, the largest dedicated portal for pre-owned cars in India. I am a serial entrepreneur and likes to share my learnings on Products and Startups. You can always find me on LinkedIn.

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