How to validate a business idea?
Young woman and man discussing about business strategy in office

How to validate a business idea?

So, you came up with that grand product or service that is going to make you successful and will pay for the life you want!

Is that you?
Being a Business Coach and involved in many student organisations throughout Europe, I am confronted with this situation a lot and somehow I am a bit fed-up with having to crush your dreams all the time.

[bctt tweet=”The problem is to have solutions before validating the problem!” username=”entr_academy”]
A solution (idea) is intimately connected to the problem. At the beginning of a business the only thing you and your potential customers might have in common is the problem, not the solution.
So the only thing we can actually talk about is the problem. If you start talking about the solution (probably one of many possible) your customer is missing part of the story and can’t connect to it.

If you start your conversation with the idea you limit yourself to your own thoughts and your customer is actually not involved.
If you turn it around and talk about the problem while involving your customer in the possible solution, everything changes.

Like with everything, it is often much more difficult if you already have a product or service idea to start a business, because whatever you do, you will always be biased towards your idea.

Lets take an example:

Lets say your idea is to develop an office chair that allows the user to exercise while working. In your head you see all the advantages and you have a pretty good idea how the chair will look like and work. If you now go out to speak to potential customers in order to validate your idea, you are actually not really interested in their problems, but only if they would like your idea (the chair). Can you see the problem here? As more detailed and clear you are about your product idea as less likely you will be listening to the real problems of your potential customers.
You’ve already fallen in love with your idea and you assume that the problem the chair is actually solving is a problem the potential customer would spend money on.

Lets take another example:

Lets say your dream is to find a way to help the poor office workers to stay fit while working and to avoid the bad side effects of little movement and bad posture. This does not define a clear product, but talks about a possible problem. What questions would you ask potential customers (office workers) to find out if your business idea will work?
The first thing you would do is talk about the problem you’ve identified. If that problem is confirmed, it would allow the potential customer to become part of the possible solution to the problem. Making it his own. You see the difference?

Most of us are not Apple or Microsoft with lots of money for market research and enough backing in case it goes wrong. For most of us getting it wrong is disastrous.
[bctt tweet=”A Business Idea is the result of your products and services” username=”entr_academy”]

For me a business idea is never a product or service. A business idea is the result of your products or services. It is the problem they solve not the solution itself.
When talking about a business idea, think about the expected result, the problem it solves. There might be many possible products or services that solve the same problem. Why do you want to fix yourself to one solution only and what makes you think that your solutions is a good one?

Making a customer part of the solution makes him a happy and a solid customer who will always recommend his OWN solution to anyone who wants to listen. That is a solid base for any business.
[bctt tweet=”Making a customer part of the solution makes him a happy and a solid customer!” username=”entr_academy”]

If you have a product or service already in mind, think first about the problem it solves and validate that problem, before you do anything else. It might be that you discover that your solution is actually not really a solution or that the problem it solves is not really a problem people would spent money on solving.

I know it is not easy to think like that. If you anywhere like me, with hundreds of possible solutions in your head for any possible problem you see, not talking about the solutions is difficult. But keeping an open mind is vital and by distancing yourself from the solution and focusing on the problem, removes all the pressure when starting a business.

If you want to know more how to do this, contact me, ask your questions and I promise I will take the time to answer.

Do you want to know my business idea?

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