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How to validate your startup value proposition without building

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The first thing you should understand is – if this problem exists for people. Validating the problem is often called customer discovery. Product validation is an essential first step for building any new product or business. It shows if the market really needs your product. Are there potential customers who are ready to pay for it? Going through the product validation process makes sure that you won’t waste time and resources building something that no one needs or wants. Good questions to answer are financials, market size, and growth. Is anybody willing to pay for the first MVP? If not then there is no customer. Sometimes the product team wants to give away the first product for free, which defeats the point of validation. In this blog post, we are discussing crucial points to validate your product without building and spending anything. 

The first priority is learning

Learning the market about the top-of-the-line products in the market category and how will yours be 10x better. The first essential activities before building are talking to the customers and learning their pain points to form a strong problem-solution fit. 

Often inexperienced founders have strong convictions without any proof and they might forget that their ideas are hypotheses until it is proven accurate. The focus, in the beginning, should be on learning. Do things that don’t scale: you’re not optimizing for millions of customers, but a handful of customers. If you go through the operations manually, it helps to learn the wants and needs of the customers – concierge MVP

Market before building anything

In order to understand the traction of your solution or value proposition, you can market a product that you don’t really have. For example using paid ads, landing pages, measuring conversion goals of email subscriptions or inquiries. How do you know if you should proceed with your idea? How do we measure success? Some metrics that demonstrate interest are email signups, letters of intent, pre-orders. It’s especially good to get money just based on the value proposition beforehand as Kickstarter campaigns do. 

Solution validation

An easy way to move forward with solution validation is to prototype before building and then have user tests with real customers. A typical iteration consists of a prototype version that is being user-tested with 4-5 users. After those tests, we would summarize the learnings, implement the changes in the prototype and schedule the next user testing. It may take hundreds of interviews to get confidence in the proposed solution.

“Coding is the most expensive way to learn. Code the thing that you have validated.” 

Build the first MVP without writing any code

Build the first MVP without writing any code. Use out-of-the-box tooling like Google Sheets, Squarespace, Airtable, Google Forms, or Typeform, etc. For example, Wise’s first working MVP was a Skype chat.

Your idea can be unique and great, however, you should always remember that it’s a hypothesis until it is proven. And you can validate it through the ways that we’ve pointed out above. We tried to share our thoughts to help you save your resources and energy before thinking to build any product.