An App. Short for an Application. This phenomenon has changed the course of our lives immeasurably in the past decade.
No matter who you are, where you are, these apps have become an integral part of billions of people. From ordering food, shopping, finding your way home, or studying or working, apps have embedded themselves into every aspect of our lives.
It has given voices to billions of people previously unheard. It has given agency to the masses, brought people together, created a global village previously limited to rhetoric. Most of us who grew up in this century have dreamed about creating an app and starting our little revolution.
Well, what does it take to complete an app? How to bring an idea to life? What are the innumerable challenges and hurdles facing us? This blog will see how to validate an application concept, for it is essential for startups.
What is idea validation?
Idea validation is the process of testing ideas for their real-world feasibility. It helps prove the need for the product and the willingness of potential customers to pay for it. It involves anything from communicating with potential customers to taking surveys on the internet. This process helps you understand the market forces well and helps save you from wasting money.
Reasons of Idea Validation:
There are two primary reasons to validate your new product. First, no matter how good your theory is, it will be doomed to fail if there is no need or value in the market for it. Second, it's a very cost-effective method.
If customers are not interested in the product, you need to adjust your strategy. Here are a few questions you should ask them:
1. What needs to be changed?
2. Problems faced by the users
3. Does your product fulfills the needs of the users?
4. Can the users afford your products?
If people are interested in your software as a service (SaaS) product, the next step is to evaluate the cost to build it. If you plan on having too many features in the first version of your product, the cost will escalate. Take baby steps.
How to do Idea Validation?
First, to get a clear picture of the concept, you have to see it as a final product and what you want. You must define three ways:
- The issue: most startups face difficulties because their products aren't needed. Please avoid this. Identify the host of issues that you can solve efficiently.
- The client: identify your core client as you cannot cover the entire market initially. Identify the industry, the size of the company. Then scale accordingly.
- The solution: this is most important because this separates you from the rest. Are you finding a new solution to an old problem or an innovative method to do so? Focus on what you can offer.
You need evidence that your ideas will succeed in the real world; your business model depends on it. Get approval from potential clients, make the pitch for your products to different businesses, make a successful sale of your concept product.
Develop a value proposition by talking to customers and listening to them. Their needs can be different from what you expect. You can survey customers, create prototypes and build MVP. Process the feedback. It is imperative that validation you get customer feedback, which will help you make the necessary changes on time.
As founders, you must address customers' feedback. Startup entirely depends on it. The feedback will help you decide which way you want to pivot. Either go as planned or make the necessary changes that will bring real value to the startup. The idea of startups is to build a product people need and will pay for it. Through qualitative and quantitative validation tests, you want to answer these questions:
- What is the problem?
- What is the solution?
- Who needs the solution the most?
Proof of concept: A proof of concept is a demonstration to verify that certain concepts or theories have the potential for real-world application. In a nutshell, a POC represents the evidence demonstrating that a project or product is feasible and worthy enough to justify the expenses needed to develop and support it.
POC is a prototype that is designed to determine feasibility but does not represent deliverables. Investors require it, but your real goal should be to satisfy customer needs.
Project managers use POCs to identify gaps in processes that might prevent the product from achieving success.
Methods of Idea Validation?
- Many founders are quite convinced about the uniqueness of their ideas. It is in their interest to do proper internet research before jumping the gun.
- Check the industry forums, resources to find indirect proof of business problems and find a relevant solution. Check out Reddit, Medium, Quora, and other blogs.
- Collect objective feedback from customers, ask about the issues, the strong and the weak points, go to Quora, LinkedIn to get feedbacks
- Create blogs to validate new hypotheses repeatedly, such as on medium or blogger.
- Run ad campaigns on google ads, Facebook ads to reach the target audience. You can also customize demographics and locations and get a detailed review of the features.
- Prototyping is another essential method. There are three ways to do it:
- Draw the prototype on paper or on a whiteboard. Let your user try it out, and make changes as necessary.
- Wireframing is another method used to create a digital interface and is highly precise. This method prevents significant issues before development starts.
- Make a video in which you literally walk viewers through the product step by step.
Minimum Viable Product
A minimum viable product MVP is a product that allows a company to get feedback from early adopters and then continually improve the product.
Pursuing the correct MVP development may allow you to determine if users are interested in your product quickly, which can save you time and money. With an MVP, developers work on iterative versions of the product and respond to feedback, challenging and validating assumptions about the product's requirements.
MVP-focused development may also include market analysis. The MVP is analogous to applying the scientific method to validating a business hypothesis; prospective entrepreneurs can determine whether a given business idea would be viable and profitable by testing the assumptions behind the product or idea.
The concept can validate a market need for a new product and incremental developments of an existing product. Because MVP tests potential business models on customers to see how the market might react, the process is beneficial for new/startup companies concerned with finding out where potential business opportunities exist rather than executing a prefabricated, isolated business model.
The term was coined in 2001 by Frank Robinson and then popularized by Steve Blank and Eric Ries. Source: wikipedia
Prototype safe for public use:
While a POC shows we can develop the product or not, a mobile app prototype shows how we can do it. There are countless prototyping methods but in-app development, a prototype typically starts with sketches or a paper interface and evolves into an interactive model that resembles the final product.
The purpose of a prototype is to communicate a product's design and navigation flow to maximize development efficiency. Prototyping is a valuable exercise that analyzes how the app will function by demonstrating user flows and depicting a functional design and layout. Naturally, there will be errors in a prototype, but discovering these errors during the early stages is one of a prototype’s purposes.
Testing is the essence of minimum viable products. As described above, an MVP seeks to test out whether an idea works in market environments while using the least possible expenditure.
It would be beneficial as it reduces the risk of innovating and prevents the sacrifice of enormous amounts of capital before proving that the concept does not work, and allows for gradual, market-tested expansion models such as the real options model.
A simple method of testing the financial viability of an idea would be discovery-driven planning. This first tests new ventures' economic viability by carefully examining the concept's assumptions by a reverse income statement.
Begin with the income you want to obtain, then the costs the new invention would take, and see if the required amount of revenue gets achieved for the project to work. Results from a minimum viable product test aim to indicate the product's efficiency.
Testing evaluates if we reached the initial problem or goal in a manner that makes it reasonable to move forward.
- Continue the development of MVP. It is the most agile method of validation and test in real-world conditions.
- Don't beat yourself up after a failed project. Just cancel it and learn from it.
- Do a pivot. It means changing the building approach and not the vision; test the new method so you may get it right.
The vast majority of startups fail before coming to fruition. There are steps to be taken that can mitigate these.
- Be as self-critical as you can. Passion and enthusiasm do not transform into a successful business.
- Please keep it simple. Always the golden rule. it would be best if you kept it simple to validate your hypotheses and keep track of the metrics and avoid unnecessary actions
- Be disciplined and systematic in your approach if you want your idea to succeed in the real world.
- Learn from others' mistakes. As the old saying goes, a smart man learns from his mistakes while a wise man learns from others' mistakes. It is a very cheap method to learn from and helps avoid critical mistakes during the crucial initial stages. Please refer to Reddit, Quora, and others for reference.
It is quite imperative to assess the market if you want to succeed. There are several factors to be considered if and when launching the product. Every product is different and has its specific requirements. These are some tips that will help in business development.
- Clarity of Vision: Be clear-minded in your vision and the product explanation.
- Who is your client? If you say “everyone,” you are already setting yourself up for a tough time. Be sure to get specific. For example, if your customer is a business, answer: What kind of companies? How big or small is the typical firm? In a particular market? What is the title of the buyer? Identify the people who are your earliest customers. Their feedback will be critical as they will help define your product.
- What issues are you solving? Many entrepreneurs think about the product first — they fret about the features, launch the product, and then wonder why their product has trouble getting traction. My suggestion is to write down the problems you solve. This means being explicit about the problems your product solves. By writing down these problems, you can validate whether customers also see them as problems. And, more importantly, whether customers think they are problems worth. According to CBInsights, 35% of the products fail due to lack of market need
- How does your product solve those problems? Only after writing down the question do you move to the product. From here, you tie the value of your product directly back to customer problems. Why does this product stand out from the rest of the similar products? What makes it better?
- Key features The components need to be more than cool — they need to solve specific problems—the more quantitative (e.g., time saved, money made), the better. I encourage you to think about the Minimum Viable Product and limit the feature set as much as possible (you need to provide just enough value for some customers to buy). Is your product making the business of your clients more comfortable? As founders, it is vital to communicate with the client.
- Timing is significant: Your idea may be excellent, but it is bound to fail if the market is not mature. For, eg. Dell launched the largest phablet phones a couple of years before everyone on the market. Not surprisingly, it failed as people were not comfortable with large phones, and since then, it has become quite the rage in the market.
Is the marketing time too long?
Do not spend too much time building the product to find out if people are interested in paying for it. So, if you are going ahead with your SaaS idea after thorough market research, try to build and launch an MVP at the earliest. Your motivation and confidence to build your MVP will depend a lot on your customers’ responses.
After the launch of the MVP, you should ask for feedback. See if you should try to build your SaaS product in your market or change direction as needed.
Validation of an idea won't guarantee the success of a product, but it can reduce risk and MVP development costs.
At Noetic IT Services, we strive to help startups build valuable products that are market-driven. In-depth research of the market, customer, and competition. It also helps save valuable monetary resources in the development process.