5 Quick Questions to Help Validate Your Startup Idea Early On

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Validate your product in five simple steps, plus check out a free product validation webinar on Wednesday. By Kate Swanberg (Growth Marketing Specialist, Koombea)

The bar is high for launching a new product: Both expectations for users and partners. You used to be able to raise money for an idea or an idea of a product quite easily. Now it has changed quite drastically and takes real skin in the game to raise that kind of money you need to start building or launching.

Due to the power of crowdsourcing, most people already know what metrics are needed for products — even by the vertical itself. Validating your products early on can save not only time but also long-term costs of steering your company back on the right path. So, how can you avoid these long-term holdbacks?

Here are five ways to quickly validate your idea or product.

1. Can You Draw up a Contract for It?

No really, can you outline a table with features that your product will have and that your competitors won’t or might have? While this point is short, try and draw a mock contract up right now, perhaps just a few pages, and see what questions you don’t have the answers to. This absolutely helps you early on because many think they have everything figured out, drawing up a contract helps your confidence in knowing you do.

2. How do You Plan to Charge or Monetize?

Does it make sense to charge people for your product? Do you know how your pricing will work? This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to know the monthly value and the value from previous business model; you need a plan early in the game as to how to monetize. Monetizing and providing value require two completely different strategies.

Thinking of the monetization strategy first might change your original business model.

3. Can You Think of a Portfolio This Product Would Compliment?

Try to find a large company or corporation who might want to know what you are doing, find who some of their vendors are and see how your product is different or similar. Evaluating larger, more mature companies should give you some idea of how big you need to be and also give you a time-frame of how long it takes to get there.

Maybe you will see that other companies with a similar audience haven’t been doing well or look at trends in the space and you can do it better. Or perhaps the problem you are trying to solve isn’t even top of mind.

4. Can You Measure your Acquirer or Partner?

Can you measure where you need to get noticed?

Here’s what to do if you have nothing else other than the company’s website address. Let’s take www.walmart.com for example. Look up their Alexa score at www.alexa.com and see how the website ranks in terms of traffic. Then, search at your own website or a smaller website you know of. Compare the difference in these numbers. This will give you an idea of the ratio of potential or “runway of death” meaning a measurement of how painfully far (or close) you are to getting noticed. Often you can take 1/4 of the total journey (either in years companies have been established or in amount of users.)

5. Do You Have the Tools or Team to Get There?

By looking at the metrics, do you have what you need to get the downloads, the users, the traffic and user retention to fulfill your KPIs?

Make a list of the key performance indicators (KPIs) you should pay attention to. Solving this question is important to measure the success of product or app, understand if your strategy works, and where to rethink the concept where necessary.

Ask other entrepreneurs how they validated their product and how they measured success. Comparing metrics is crucial to understanding the validity of what you are trying to develop a product around. You can also ping most app and software developers for a few questions. Many companies email back at no cost.

Understanding how to be critical of your product from the earliest days can often make for a lean and usable product faster. Passion is good, but so is understanding your surroundings and where your product places amongst competitors.

How great is your product idea? Attend the Koombea webinar to find out.

If you’re looking for more information around product validation there are many free webinars and seminars online, including one this week with Koombea that is 100 percent free for entrepreneurs and founders. For more information, go here or sign up to attend the next free product validation webinar is on Wednesday, July 16TH at 2 p.m. EST.


About the guest blogger: Kate Swanberg is a Growth Marketing Specialist at Koombea, a global web and app development firm. Kate specializes in user acquisition and product placement for mobile. For more information follow Kate online at @Keswanberg or Linkedin.