In the first part of this video series I talked about creating an idea for your startup. But, when you have an idea it’s only just the beginning. Your idea is just an idea within your own head. There is no guarantee this is a valid business. So, in this blog post I will talk about the next steps in order to start your own business based on this idea you have. Let’s go!
Ok, so let’s say you have an idea for your startup. Well, that’s great! But the first thing I would say is to acknowledge that this thing you have is just an idea. That’s it. Just an idea within your own head. What you need to do now is validating this idea. It basically means to research if there are more people on the same page with you.
In other words: is it just you who think it’s a great idea or do you have a real audience for it?
So, how do you validate your startup idea? Well, here’s how I do it!
1. Research on the idea
First, go on the internet and search for similar solutions. Did you find none? Well, this can be a good thing. It certainly means you are the first and only one. And maybe that’s for a reason, or, you’re really on to something.
And if you do find some alternatives, don’t freak out. There’s always a way to build something better, just see if you are able to build it.
2. Talk to potential customers
Whenever I have an idea, I always first talk to potential customers or people whose opinions I value. I will pitch the idea and see how they respond.
The important thing here: don’t talk to family or friends. They will either burn you to the ground because of jealousy or praise you because they love you. Either way: both ain’t going to help you. So please remember to talk to the right audience. It’s really important.
3. Build an MVP
An MVP is a minimal viable product of your idea. So basically a small prototype to show your idea in a more visual kind of way.
For example: for my latest startup Streaky, I’ve built a simple landing page with an explainer video and some sketches on it. Just to show people what this new app will look like and what it can do for them.
The key – however – is to add a subscription box to it so you can gain subscribers who are interested for your product. This is a good metric to see if there is a potential audience for it.
4. Build a prototype
Build a small version of the actual product and then… write and publish the shit out of your product. Go on social media and ask for feedback and give some of your potential users early access for free.
The thing is: you really, really need this kind of feedback or chances are you’re heading the wrong direction. It’s really crucial in this phase of building your startup.
Now that you have your prototype: BML on it.
Well, BML stands for: build, measure and learn. This method is great for optimizing your product the right way.
First you build your product, then you measure and learn from the outcome based on real user data, so you can optimize your product based on the feedback you were given.
This is a process you can iterate on until you have your final product out there.
6. Get paid users
Free users are great and, yes, they will give you the first valuable feedback. But the thing is, free users are not the kind of users you want to build your product for.
Free users are mostly users who want everything for nothing. It’s really crucial to find your first paid users and to listen to their feedback.
They are the ones who are actually paying for your product and thus will give you honest feedback you can use to grow your product.