Ideas and Validation April 6, 2020

How I validated a tech startup idea during COVID-19


So you’ve been sitting on a brilliant idea for your tech startup for some time, without having really made any progress beyond thinking of the concept. But now you find yourself in lockdown with plenty of time on your hands due to the threat of COVID-19 for potentially the next several months, with little else to do beyond stew over how great it would be if you actually launched your business idea. As the millionth person is infected with the novel coronavirus and an unavoidable recession looms, businesses around the world are putting into action business continuity plans to ensure they don’t become one of the hundreds of millions of businesses that will fail because of the new coronavirus. And entrepreneurs are slowly realising that actually, there has never been a better time to validate a tech startup idea than now. But how to do this amidst a lockdown? Here are a few ways that this can be done…

Nail the product concept

The first step to validating any business idea is deliberating on the idea and writing down every single thing about your idea that you can. This includes deciding whether it will be a side hustle or a game changer (your main income), how much you hope to make each month, and if you hope to sell - how much for. All you will need for this is a pen, paper and some peace and quiet - all of which should be easy to find during the lockdown.

Make sure the product solves a problem

The best approach to nailing your product concept is to start by figuring out which problem you wish to solve with your product, because the most successful companies are those that solve people’s problems, so much so that people are prepared to pay money for it. To do this, you will need to ask open ended questions to a range of people across all demographics - the old, the young, you get the gist - to find consistently in their answers regarding a particular challenge they face. Now usually, you would do this part face-to-face, but unfortunately for you lockdown doesn’t allow this. So, you will simply need to do this virtually. You can use Zoom or Houseparty to speak to friends, or invest a small amount to put out a survey on social media. Call your family, send out emails, put an ad up on Youtube; there are so many ways these interviews could be done digitally while not compromising the nature of peoples’ responses. Start with your network and then diversify from there. Make sure you always ask ‘why’ and at all times remember: your end game in all this is to find the value proposition for your business.

Focus on the core features for now

There is no point getting caught up in the minutiae of your tech startup for the time being because, sadly, most business ideas don’t actually ever become bigger than exactly that: ideas. For now, invest your time and effort into the key features of your tech idea. Some entrepreneurs end up spending months building a product no one uses, and kick themselves over the wasted hours spent worrying about extra features. Take it from me, focus on what really matters.

It has never been easier - or cheaper - to build a tech startup venture. According to CB insights, the cost of launching a startup has shrunk from a whopping $5 million in 2000 to less than $5,000 today, thanks to the availability of new technologies and online tools. That together with the million-odd hours you will now have at your disposal since you can no longer socialise, go to the gym, hit the cinemas and commute to work, should mean that this is the time to achieve that dream of launching your tech startup.

  1. 1

    Really well written. Thank you for sharing it.

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