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How to Validate your Startup Idea

I've recently listened to the Indie Hackers Podcast with Rob Fitzpatrick and this is basically what I've gathered on how to talk to your customers about your business without any leading questions.

It's important you don't ask any leading questions because this can lead to false validation. It's better to start off with a casual talk about what they're using and why.

I've listed 9 steps on how to get valuable info from a potential customer.

  1. If you speak to someone make sure they're in your customer segment.

  2. Ask your potential customer about tools they already use and why.

  3. Ask them to talk you through their problem.

  4. What did they use before and why did they switch to the new tool?

  5. Have you looked into any new alternatives to what you're currently using? If they answer no then they're happy and aren't looking for "your" new tool/idea. If they answer yes, ask them to explain what they're feeling frustrated about and listen to them.

  6. Do they care enough to learn a new tool(your product)?

  7. See how motivated they are about a new alternative to solving their current problem. Are they spending money to actively look for a new alternative?

  8. Ask them if they would like to listen to your idea that might solve their problem if it's a good fit. (If they wince or look slightly uncomfortable don't go into your pitch and thank them for their time.)

  9. Last step if they listened to your pitch: Are they willing to give you: time, reputation, or money as a way to validate their customer status to you?

I'm sure there's more to the process but this is a short list of questions to go through as a starting point.

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