Ideas and Validation October 24, 2020

How to validate an idea?

Vivek @vivek0079

Hi all - I have an idea/hypothesis for a problem currently faced by SMBs in taking and managing their business online. I would like to validate my idea before building a product to ensure that there is a market for the product.

How can I validate my idea/hypothesis and find my early adopters?
Any help would be appreciated


  1. 9

    Talk to these people. Read "the mom test"

    1. 1

      Can you please tell me any distribution channel through which I can reach out my target audience?

      My target audience are brick and mortar stores, small business owners, homepreneurs, entrepreneurs who are looking to start a small business or are trying to scale their small business.

      Any advice would be helpful

      1. 1

        Reach out to where they hang out, if it's local, walk in to those stores and talk to the owners

        If it's online, try Google maps, get their emails and start talking

        If it's communities, try reddit, forums, facebook groups etc.

    2. 1

      I have heard about that book. Many have said that it is the best. WIll check it out for sure.

    3. 1

      Couldn't agree more. That book was a game-changer for me.

    4. 1

      That book is the beast

    5. 1

      Best advice. To the point.

  2. 3

    Here's a classic article from @csallen

    But as other posters say, the very best way is to ask potential customers to give feedback (not if they want to buy or ask them to buy).

  3. 3

    The only way to validate an idea is by speaking with potential customers. Even if you don’t do that and jump into building something, at some point, you will have to speak to lots of potential customers. So you may as well speak to lots of potential customers as soon as possible.

    There are many ways to do that but a relatively straightforward way is to create a customer persona. Narrow down to a particular type of customer. SMB is way to wide. Narrow down to who the buyer in the company is. Then email 100 of these people with an email that isn’t trying to sell them anything. But instead, trying to understand the problem better.

    When someone replies, engage them in a real conversation. Respect their time.

    After while, if you’re open to learning from them. You will know more about the problems they face, how they currently solve them, and if they really care about solving them.

    1. 1

      That's insightful.

      I have created a customer persona of the target market, but I am confused about how to get their email info.

      How can I get the email of those people. Would a landing page do good here? Or are there anything more?
      Is there anyother I could reach my target customers?

      1. 2

        Find the company. Find the people who work at the company with LinkedIn. Then use to get their emails. You won’t always get lucky. But you’ll find a whole bunch of people if you try. Also. Use something like HubSpot to email them. It will show if they opened the email. If you’re not getting replies. Then change what you’re saying. It takes time and effort but if you write good emails, then people will reply. Also set reminders to follow up. People often don’t reply till you follow up a couple of times.

        1. 1

          That sounds good. But I am afraid that my target customers dont have LinkedIn profile.

          Let me explain my case. My customer persona is something like a brick and mortar store or business which has annual revenue from 10L-50L, whose owner is very eager to expand his business online and create his identity. But he is not much of a fan to already existing ecommerce platforms, (Amazon, Flipkart) due to some reasons (not to be discussed in public). So he wants a product to take his business online and manage it seamlessly to build, market and grow.

          I know a couple of businesses in my community who are looking for such product. But I need some more target audience to validate my idea.

          1. 3

            Then go speak to them. And if you’re focused on small retail stores. Google maps has heaps of contact info.

              1. 2

                I am currently working on validation for a project as well, and this is what we are doing talk to potential users and customers. At first we were a bit worried that no-one will want to talk to us but, you will be surprise. If people are interested on what you are going to offer they will listen. I encourage you to do it, it really helps.

  4. 2

    Build a landing page, run some ads, see what the reaction is and who/how many sign up.
    You can do this through this tool I built as well:

  5. 2

    Is there a universe where you can outsource idea validation? I’m sure we all face this issue of having too many business ideas. It’d be nice to submit them to something that can give some level of validation to them and spit back out a report of the ones you should give more attention to. An initial sniff test - if you will.

    1. 1

      I believe there are such services. I've seen several people post here on IH saying they have an idea validation platform. I don't recall who they are though.

      Might be worth a search here on IH to see what pops-up.

    2. 1

      To my knowledge, a sniff test is a set of questions that reveal info about the TAM, current competitors, customer acqusition strategy etc. Am I right?

      Some more info from your side would be helpful.

  6. 1

    Hi all,

    I have launched my landing page to get some feedback.

    Visit us here and join the club to empower your business -

    I would love to hear your feedback and am looking forward.

  7. 1

    Literally looking for ideas to help people validate an idea. Many great tips here and thanks for setting the thread @vivek0079

    1. 1

      Welcome @felix12777. The pleasure is mine.

      BTW may I know what you are building or validating. I will be more interested in knowing about it.

      1. 2

        I’m running 3 side projects at the moment. My 4th project will be something to help people validate their idea, but I need to validate mine first haha loooooop

  8. 1

    If I were you, I'd first find out if there's such a product in the market. If one or more exists, I'd then find out how long have they been in the business.

    If I could find such product in the market, and they have been in business for quite some time, I'd probably skip this validation step. To me, it's already an indication that there are businesses that use the product, and they're willing to pay for it.

    But this does not mean you do not talk to potential customers at all. You should start your work by talking to potential customers, and you should rigorously keep doing that. Respectfully ask for their time to share what they're struggling with. If they're open to that, end your session by asking if they're keen to hear from you if you've build something that could help them.

    Skipping validation step is exactly what I do with my product, and it saves me energy and effort. Instead, I could focus on building the product right away.

    1. 1

      Thats nice @sensen. Here are my thoughts. You can skip validation if already a product exists in this market, but we can get some really loyal early adopters during the validation part. It could also get some customers from the target niche who would bring in more customers from their community. Correct me if wrong

      1. 1

        Absolutely. I'm all in with you. One should start the work by talking to potential customers.

  9. 1

    From an IndieHackers podcast, I heard that a mattress company (Tufts and Needles?) created a landing page then ran ads for one day to validate that people were interested. Could be something to look into alongside the other great suggestions here.

    1. 1

      Will surely look into it @ryanmargono. I have a landing page ready and will spread the word to my community. But I am confused how to target it to my customer persona?

  10. 1

    I've actually prepared an entire repository around this topic:

    PS - 'The Mom Test' is a fantastic book and is included in the list.

  11. 1

    For me the game changing book I have read is from Ash Maurya, Running Lean. It present step by step guide on how to validate ur idea.

    Check it out

    1. 1

      Will check it for sure.

      1. 1

        It's an amazing book. The author is really giving precious advices and methods to get out of the building and build the right thing.

  12. 1

    I know you said that you'd like to validate your idea before building a product, but sometimes I find building a barebones MVP that has the basic functionalities is a good way to show your potential customers your value proposition.

    Just take a look at Pieter Levels, who is building out a restaurant menu app - he built out an MVP and is now going door-to-door to get real users to try it out and get feedback from them.

    I did the same thing with One Word Domains - I built an MVP in a week and launched it on PH and got some really good initial feedback, which then helped me shape my original hypothesis and come up with new features for the site.

    1. 1

      I think it would be nice to build a MVP after validating the idea so that I will have a bunch of audience to whom I can showcase the MVP and get feedback rather than publicly making it available.

      What are your thoughts on that?

      1. 1

        I think it goes hand in hand, and the trick here is finding the sweet spot between spending enough time to validate the need but also not spending too much time building the MVP.

        Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter if you would like to discuss this further - my inbox is always open! :)

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