As an entrepreneur, do you feel certain that your product or service is the best one to solve a problem or issue?
Have you actually tested it with real people to see how they react?
Most of the times we have an idea, we tend to think that it is the best one out there. It is not until we show it to other people that we begin to realize that it is far from being ready.
In fact, none of the most successful entrepreneurships were born in the same way as we see them today. They started being a rough approximation of what people really needed. It was only after after many experiments, tests, and validation stages that they became the products they are today. For a popular example, just check the story about YouTube’s original idea of being a video version of an online dating service.
"Fail Early to Succeed Sooner"… we prefer "Test Early to Succeed Sooner Better".
Here is the workflow we use to perform a series of tests/experiments/learning experiences in order to progressively reduce risk and uncertainties:
Our workflow is heavily inspired in Lean concepts and its learn-build-measure cycle, and based on it, we can offer you two possible paths:
The first one is for those entrepreneurs that need to define their customer in descriptive terms and write down the problem to be solved before starting with the validation stage. We can help you with both. Also, having a list of assumptions could lead to the success or failure of the entrepreneurship.
The second path is ideal for those that have an “intuitive solution” when they first come to us and want to start the validation stage from there.
In both cases, we take the riskiest elements (assumptions/risks) or the initial idea and start the Explore-Build-Measure cycle. You can start anywhere and you can get out the cycle whenever you think that the idea/risky element is validated. But if it is not validated, you need to start a new pivot and maybe change the customer definition or make slight changes to the problem definition/initial idea.
If learning is the essential unit of progress for start-ups, any effort that is not absolutely necessary for learning what customers want should be eliminated. So how do we do that?
Prototype/wire-frame definitions: we can also do a wire-frame specification of your solution or build a functional prototype to collect feedback on basic functionality.
Landing pages: it is an easy and inexpensive way to test interest in a product or service. It is a decent-looking page with a clear call to action. It can be an email input box, a form, or a shopping cart. Whatever you think can simulate how a user will act when the real application is launched. If a lot of people get interested, it’s a great sign that you’re on the right track!
Minimum Viable Product: it's that product which has just the essential features (and no more) that allows you to ship a product that resonates with early adopters - some of whom will pay you money or give you feedback.
Hollow (concierge) MVP: it looks and feels like a full product on the surface but it’s being faked on the back end. This approach is great for a non-technical founder looking for a robust proof of concept. It's called concierge because it could be done delivering your product through a physical service, hand-holding the customer. This method has also been referred to as Wizard of Oz, i.e. faking the product with as little technology as possible.
Working MVP: it is a real implementation of the final product, working right as the user expect. However, the smart approach here is to choose the right features (that’s why it’s so important to have the prioritized list of functionalities) to add value without too much cost.
Mobile MVP: it is a working software developed in a technology that lets you run the same developed app in any device (Iphone, Android, tablets, and a really long etcetera).
Adwords, Facebook, Linkedin campaigns: Target publicity campaigns to those visitors that belong to potential client groups using the most suitable of these services.
Google Analytics: useful to analyze your results and to understand what your actual conversion rate is.
Survey/interview design, execution and analysis: we use borrowed tools from sociology to build the most accurate and well-designed questionnaires; later we put all the power of computer data analysis to get the information needed to satisfy your initial goals.
Literature reviews: we also have the tools to perform an analysis of the related literature to find out more information about the chosen risky element.
Tool/StageExploreBuildMeasurePrototype/wire-frame definitions XLanding pages XMinimum Viable ProductXXXAd-words, Facebook, Linkedin campaignsX Google Analytics XSurvey/interview design, execution and analysisX Literature reviewsX
Minimum Viable Product
Ad-words, Facebook, Linkedin campaigns
Survey/interview design, execution and analysis
After running your tests and looking at all your data, you will have INFINITELY more perspective on if you want to move forward with your business idea - and if so, on which direction to take it as well.