Building a new product is always a risk. Yet, to quote Helen Keller: “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” Without taking that risk, there is no chance to achieve greatness.
How could we know whether our product idea has a chance, as early as possible? Once we embark on a journey of turning a vision into a product, we will have to invest time and resources into building the MVP. What if there was a way to assess whether our product has a chance, before we build it?
Turns out, there are several experiments that indicate whether a particular product will find customers. Below are some of them. See whether any of them appear suitable to validate your idea.
Have humans do what we want the software to do.
For example, Uber is a ride-sharing service. It was born to address the high cost of a private limo and the long wait times for ordering a cab. A concierge MVP for Uber would be to lease a limo, hire a driver and have people working and living in the same area share it. In practice, this is in a nutshell how Uber got started.
“Fake door” is a guerilla marketing technique to advertise a product before it is ever developed. Build an advertisement that reads as if the product is ready, and connect the ad to a “fake door” landing page. We could, for example, offer customers to subscribe to announcements about our future product. The main idea behind “fake door” is not getting the subscribers. Running ad campaigns leading to the “fake door,” it is possible to gauge the product interest. The higher is the click-through rate, the more interested are potential customers. Depending on the nature of the product, testing could be done using product-audience -relevant high-traffic web properties, or using Google and Facebook ads with audience targeting.
Draw the idea in the form of a short storyboard covering the problem that the product is aiming to solve. Present your storyboard to the potential customers and conduct user interviews. See whether the people interviewed identify themselves with characters in the storyboard and would like to use the product you want to validate.
Failing early is always less painful. It gives stakeholders valuable feedback, which allows adjusting the idea before resources have been depleted. If experiments show that an idea has potential, selling the vision to colleagues and investors becomes so much easier.
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