How To Validate Your Idea
Will your idea withstand the strains and stresses of the market, and come up trumps? Or will it not? Here’s a guide to evaluate its merit before you take the plunge.
Create a landing page
Creating a landing page is a good way to test the potential of a service/product. A lander is a lead capture page, a single web page that appears in response to clicking on a link.
When Pardeep Goyal sought to launch himself as a content marketing expert for startups, he created a landing page, where he included an option for startup founders to book a call with him: startupkarma.co/book-a-call/
“I wanted to use my expertise in digital marketing and my experience of running two educational technology startups to help early and mid-level startups. I created a landing page to test if startups are looking for marketing help on an hourly basis, on aspects such as enhancing their website/blog, reviewing their content plan and developing a content strategy. I felt that I was on the right track when five startup founders paid me rupees 5000 each for a one-hour consultation. Now, I am helping many startups grow,” shares Goyal.
Use Launchrock, QuickMVP, Unbounce or Wix to create landing pages.
You will need to direct traffic to your landing page. Consider content marketing to attract new customers. Avid bloggers with a decent following can write about their services and products. Better, invest in idea validation before launching a complete product. Use Google/Facebook Adwords to attract traffic from your target communities, and monitor the click-through rates to evaluate interest.
Conduct a survey
Asking around is one of the easiest ways to determine the worthiness of an idea. A formal way of asking is to develop a survey. Surveys can additionally provide you clues about whether people are willing to pay for your service, and if so, how much.
Use Survey Monkey, Typeform, Zoho Survey and Survey Planet to create surveys for free.
More challenging is getting valuable responses.
“Focus on getting qualitative responses, not on the number of responses. Who you pitch your idea to, and how, is critical. You need to connect with early adopters for whom your pitch is relevant,” explains Sainath Gupta, founder, Aasaanpay, a startup in the payment space.
Gupta cites the example of chat2grow.com, a startup offering Whatsapp-based customer care and Whatsapp-based ecommerce, which is seeking qualitative responses from people through a survey loaded on its landing page.
Ask reputed bloggers tracking the sector you are venturing into for help to popularise the survey. Sometimes, it helps to invest in getting responses—like by offering a coupon in exchange for answers.
Ask a mentor to help you check the math
A critical component of your idea is your business model—how you propose to monetise your idea.
“By challenging the assumptions your business model is based on, such as your adoption rate, opportunity size, price, etc., a mentor can help you evaluate your proposition,” explains Sandeep Ghate, director at Securex Capital Advisors and a seasoned angel investor.
“Essentially, a mentor will not replace your math with his own market guestimations, but give you a fresh perspective on the problem you are trying to solve, and thus help you re-work your estimates,” explains Ghate.
Also, mentors generally allow you to tap their network for feedback and potential customers (and later, in some instances), funding.
“Mentors have an eye for potentially successful start-ups thanks to their industry experience,” shares Ghate.