I share starting ideas approval

MVP thinking

When you've got to the point where your new startup idea is keeping you up at night, looking for external validations is probably a good next step. That said, you should consider (and thereby reduce) the risk of jumping your head forward as you turn your idea into a business. Because startups are a risky business.

In this article-Part two in the "Launch a Startup" series-My goal is to help you determine the inherent viability of your idea as a potential high growth company. We'll examine the process of market analysis to determine how much (if any) of your time to spend pursuing an inevitable climb. See this as the due care that you take with your idea before you decide to quit your job and devote yourself entirely to your profession.

In order to create the stage, it is helpful to consider the context of the start ideas qualification. First, the only person you Really At this point you have to convince yourself. Not everyone will see your idea or vision for what it is or could become. And not every idea can be viewed in a black and white, right or wrong light. With that in mind, it's also helpful to see that the execution trumps the idea itself. This means you can "qualify" an idea, but in the early days of your startup, you still face enormous execution risk. After all, there are innumerable methods for qualifying or validating ideas. Only a few of them are highlighted in this article. It's best to stay open and force yourself to think outside the box too.

MVP thinking

Most valuable player? Sure - you have to be at this point. Nobody will stand up for your idea like you. And no one will do it justice like you. So consider yourself the "most valuable player" of your idea - and don't forget it.

If you've been involved in the development of a new product in the past half a year or so, you are likely familiar with the other MVP. That is the minimum strategy for a viable product. We will explore this concept in more detail in later articles, but in short, the minimum viable product (MVP) theory dictates it You shouldn't work more than the minimum required to open the feedback channel from customers (or prospects).

In order to achieve what I call MVP thinking, I find it more sensible to view the MVP not as a product, but as a test. In qualifying your idea, you run a series of tests or iterations that will help you determine its final feasibility. In this regard, the MVP continues to evolve as you bring your idea closer to the concept of product market (without necessarily having built the product yet).

Keep in mind that MVP thinking will help you qualify (or disqualify) your ideas with some Efficiency will help you get the most out of some or all of the tools discussed in the next section.

Qualification tools

As already mentioned, there are a variety of tools or methods that can support you on your way to the subjective point of idea qualification. I'm going to share here some of the tools that are available to you for little or no money. You need to invest some time and think about it, of course. Your time availability often depends on which tools you use and on your overall strategy.

It is also worth noting that all of these tools are used together and / or are interchangeable. In other words, you might want to take a 'all of the above'Approach once you become familiar with the process. Without further ado, let's explore.

Validation board

A few years ago, Lean Startup Machine launched the Validation Board, which is essentially a visual representation of iterative, focused startup ideas. The validation board forces you to consider the basic assumptions of your idea and prioritize or change their validation based on an analysis that starts with the riskiest assumption. As long as you can accept the methodological nature of the method, the Validation Board can help you focus your thinking so that you will save time and money in the future (Check out the case studies on the website).

Perhaps the greatest benefit of the approach offered by the Validate Board is that it helps you support you develop Turn your idea into one that you will confidently pursue. Instead of a single yes-or-no result, you need to tailor your idea to your test results. The result is a well-thought-out, well-researched idea that brings real market weight and upside potential. Perseverance is the main trait you need to get there.

If there is any risk in using the Validation Board, the chances are that you are reading too much (or too little) into the results of your tests. I advocate doing several tests before changing any core of your idea-and protect yourself against the risk of simply running an unproductive test.

LaunchRock

LaunchRock can mainly be used as an advertising medium for startups in the pre-launch phase and is also well suited as an idea validation tool.

With a domain available, LaunchRock can do the basics of setting up an email capture landing page with ease. The value of an email capture landing page as a validation tool is pretty simple:

  • Providing an email address in return (updates, invitations, messages, content, etc.) is itself a transaction and not far from a monetary deal. So, the extent to which you can do thisEmail Transactions'May indicate the relative difficulty you face in reaching and growing your original customer / user base.
  • Represent your idea as accurately as possible in your landing page copy (pitch). While vagueness is often a good strategy to use from a purely marketing perspective. However, focusing precisely on the problem you are solving will allow you to test your idea and subsequent changes to your idea more closely.
  • Drive traffic to your email capture landing page and measure conversion results. LaunchRock lets you manage the simple analytics you need to consider when assessing the health of your pitch.

When using LaunchRock, you also collect valuable email addresses of people interested in your new product. As long as you can resist the temptation to get too much spam with these emails, they should come in handy when looking for beta testers and early adopters.

Unbounce

Taking the email capture landing page one step further, you can roll out Unbounce. Unbounce is a landing page engine and A / B testing platform that lets you get more creative than you can with tools like LaunchRock.

In the very early stages of idea qualification, A / B testing is likely to be of less value than the ability to quickly deliver well-designed landing pages. In a sense, you just search for it establish Interest, not necessarily in optimize it. However, A / B testing could complement an iterative testing approach (e.g. with the Validation Board) quite well. It all depends on the skill / validation level you are looking for.

To get the most out of your landing page target qualification strategy, do the following:

  1. Instead of describing your product that doesn't already exist, speak to the potential consumer about the problem you are solving for them.
  2. Use a precise value proposition in your playing field.
  3. Gather only the information you need-and no more. Excessive shapes reduce the volume of conversion.
  4. Consider adding a marketing offer to your landing page that aims to alleviate some of the pain surrounding the problem that your idea will ultimately solve.

The Unbounce site has a number of sample landing pages to help you come up with a plan on how to most effectively qualify your idea using this approach.

Pay Per Click Ads (PPC)

To effectively test a landing page or its underlying assumptions, you need to get some traffic to your page (s). One of the fastest ways is to start a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign.

Depending on your budget and target market, you can use one or more of the three major ad platforms: Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, and Bing Ads (formerly Microsoft AdCenter).

The qualification of your idea depends heavily on the keywords that you select as the target group. So take some time to review your keyword strategy. In addition to measuring the conversion on your landing pages, you should also view the click-through rate (CTR) of your ads. In general, a high CTR and low landing page conversion indicate a poorly constructed landing page. Conversely, a low CTR and a high conversion rate would indicate potential for improvement with regard to the ad copy.

For more information on conversion best practices, check out our Landing Page Optimization Guide.

Social media

Another effective way to drive traffic to your test pages is to use the social web. Where is your target market in the universe of social media? What are the best ways to connect with users on these platforms? These answers will help you to use the social media platform to validate your startup idea. Obviously, if you prefer stealth mode, social media is not the best choice for you.

Aside from generating traffic, social media can be a great way to test the waters and get quick feedback on the problem you're trying to solve. Sharing content related to the problem you are solving and tracking approvals, etc., is a great way to understand (1) who is feeling or related to this pain, and (2) how many people feel this pain. In and of itself, this is a great way to set some level of basic quality finding.

If the use of social media in the context of validation of ideas poses a threat, there is some randomness in the results - and therefore expectations need to be tempered. For example, it's a lot easier for someone to click a like button than it is to fill out a landing page conversion form. So I would caution against putting too much emphasis on high-level feedback on social media (positive or negative).

The hustle and bustle

A tool that we all have access to-and that as a founding founder of your business, you undoubtedly need to embrace- is'the hustle and bustle'.

Not sure where to start in terms of idea qualification? Literally get out of your home / office / routine and talk to people. Have conversations. Sell ​​your product as if it was built and ready to ship.

Find the people on your network who you think understand the problem you are solving and take them out for a coffee. Go to the companies that might one day buy your product and introduce yourself to the decision makers. Pitch your idea at a local startup event. Chat with strangers on the street. Wear a sandwich board and measure honks per 100 cars. You get the point.

The online marketing equivalent of boot-on-the-ground hustle is perhaps the relatively new concept of growth hacking. In a sense, all of the tools described in this article are based on the idea of ​​growth hacking-that is, using inexpensive, creative methods to achieve a desired result (this is just about qualifying your startup idea).

And while we're dealing with the hustle and bustle issue, it's also worth noting that in the land of the startup we often get carried away with scalability. Conversations are still a business, and so is startup ideas qualification.

Embrace the hustle and bustle.

An ongoing process

At this point, you are armed with the resources to qualify your startup idea and to determine if it is worth taking action and starting a business.

The idea qualification is a relatively uncertain and ongoing process. Until you reached real Product market fit (one or two years later, with a bit of luck), you will be constantly reviewing your idea, business or direction based on the feedback you collect. That is, effectively qualifying your idea-and some of the underlying assumptions-will help you eliminate some of the avoidable risks before diving into these shark infested launch waters. Proceed from here with caution.

In the next article I will give you tips on how to recruit a team of founders and attract talent for your idea.

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Graphics credit: Eraser, designed by factor [e] design initiative from the Noun Project.