Feb. 28, 2021

3 steps to validating your idea before building your product

You are thinking of starting a company and have lots of great ideas for your business.  But how can you test these ideas quickly and cost-efficiently before sinking a lot of time and effort into them?

Depending on the idea, it may be as simple as asking your family and friends. 

But what if the idea is too complicated to validate with a few informal conversations?  

  1. Maybe you poll your broader social network.  Or if you need to go beyond your network, you may even decide to use a tool like Survey Monkey to target a specific segment. The challenge in this approach is that you may not know who the ideal customer is and end up targeting too broad an audience and hence get back results that are inconclusive.
  2. Or maybe you wait till you have a minimal viable product (MVP) which you then test out with different target segments to confirm your value proposition.  While this will give you the best validation, it is time-consuming and expensive to do.

In my talk with Hjalmar Gislason, founder, and CEO of Grid, Hjalmar shared his 3 step approach to idea validation that anyone can do easily. Before starting Grid, Hjalmar, a seasoned entrepreneur with 20 years of experience was ex-VP of Product at Qlik, one of the biggest analytics companies in the world.

So this is what he recommends doing:

  1. First, gather qualitative information. Talk to as many people as possible to understand what they do today without your product and get their feedback on your idea.
  2. Next, talk to experts and look at current research on the problem and solutions that exist.
  3. Set up an ad campaign on Google and experiment with keywords that people would be searching for if they had the problem that you want to solve. And if they click on it send them to a survey where you can ask more detailed questions on what they were looking for.  

I found this process simple yet powerful for validating ideas and one I highly recommend entrepreneurs to do.

Listen more about Hjalmar’s 3-step ideation validation process in Episode 2.