This is how I am validating my idea currently. Help me to understand, where I am going wrong?

Hey, amazing people...

Bit confused about my next step, I have worked in large tech startups as PM but never really built a microsaas and launched it. Would really love your thoughts about how to come out of this block.

So far my timelines go like this:

I have got a billion-dollar idea (pun intended!). Once I convinced that (obviously after few rounds of googling), decided that it's a good idea to pursue.

After this basic due diligence, the next thing I did is put up a landing page and create Figma mockup of the product. Since as many of you mentioned here before about- not writing a single line of code till getting the first customer. I also decided to not spend money on dev at the moment, till I got at least 10 beta customers.

Now I am reaching out to the potential customers by cold emailing whether they want to join the beta program? (is this the right way to do it?). Or what's the other way around? Should I try running PPC and drive some traffic to the landing page then get customers from it?. OR Should move on building the product?

Super confused :(

Note: So far I got 2 people to YES to join the beta program.

  1. 3

    Hey Deep,

    Congratulations on taking the first bold step!

    The steps you are doing are great. Keep at it. I just want to give you some more perspective on the same as I've experienced going through the same phase.

    Building landing pages, running small ads and everything is still a very controlled way of validating. That is, you may be bad at designing or you may not be the best at ads, or even if all of those points come out good, you may still not be sending a clear message out.

    If your message ain't clear, then how will you know if people need your product or not when you start out? It's a weird paradox of sort. Need customers to validate the idea, but need an idea to get customers.

    What I recommend is, while you continue doing this, go out there and SPEAK to real people in your assumed target audience. Only from speaking to many and many can you be sure of the problem, and thus tweak your statements to give out that clear message.
    I've made a post on how to do this, by the way, you can see it in my profile.

    In my opinion, speaking to people and running these ads to collect mails are equally important.

    All the best!

    1. 1

      Wow, that sounds so affirming about my current steps @JassilJamal.
      As you rightly pointed out, I think messaging is the biggest key to get a good conversion from the landing page. Currently, our messaging purely based on my research about the problem.

      Decided to wait on running ads till I talk to at least 50 potential customers :)

      Thanks a lot mate :)

      1. 1

        Happy to help, buddy!

  2. 1

    I'm still figuring these things myself but this what I do:

    1. Talk to at least 10 people in my target audience

    if I cant get people to invest time with me I wont be able to make them invest money

    In this talks I will ask their problems, by the end I will pitch an idea, if they wont buy, I would ask "what would you buy instead?"
    "where people like you hang out?"
    "what are you paying for right now?"

    1. by the end of these talks I'm going to have many problems and ideas. I would pick 1. Set a deadline for 30 days till launch. Define 2-3 key features and start building

    Would still have calls with people and get feedback

    1. Reach out to the people I've talked with to offer them a beta version, they might buy if I listen correctly. Let them find bugs... make the app solid

    Ask them "can you right now give me a email/twitter handle/LinkedIn of someone who can find this app useful?"

    1. Launch like a BEAST everywhere possible

    Dont take my advice...
    I have done mostly calls with people and got some refferals (to have a call) but didnt execute the full plan, it's my roadmap:)

  3. 1

    I think validation of idea is when a customer put his or her credit card and pay for what you build. rest everything is just assumption.
    My opinion about validation: The only way to validate your idea is to build it and ask people to pay for it.

    1. Many of out there see saying to get customers before building the product. Asking for pay without building is kind of Scam IMHO.
    2. Validation of idea is required only if you are doing which no one does. Don't go for this unless you have a good financials to create a demand and market for this.
    3. I will suggest to build a MVP with one or minimum features with a cool UI and ask people to pay for it. And start buiding in public so that you will get some exposure while developing it.
    1. 1

      Make sense @sreekanth850.
      But In my past I really got into the biggest mess after I went into building the so-called MVP before talking to customers. Lost a good amount of $$$$ + mental stress...:).

      Currently, I am able to mimic the flow with my Figma design and all the customers are really fine with that. The current customers are not my friends or from circle all of them, I got from the cold emailing :).

      Note: No way I am denying is your approach is wrong, but somewhere I got this mental block not to do it till I talk to at least 50 customers about the problem.

      1. 1

        if you do a fair amount of market research before proceeding with idea, you can get much insights about it.
        Building designs and prototypes are good. But what i understood is that, most of the people will not let you down when you ask a feedback. Especially in social media people are good at lifting which will make them their decision biased.
        Build an MVP with minimum features in 3 months. and launch it in a closed beta. Don't spend much on product before you get validated with mvp.

  4. 1

    Cold email, landing page, MVP, etc. Frame them as experiments (not marketing funnels) and run these tests based on your current capacity & priority. It is all about validating your riskiest hypotheses & gaining insights at this point.
    Let's say if your current conversion rate is 10%, instead of reaching out to another 90 potential customers to get the 9 signups so that you can meet your target (10 signups), you should probably focus on finding out why only 10% conversion rate.

    Anyway, you can always test the water with small sample size first and adjust accordingly.

    1. 1

      Absolutely make sense @ChiaBoon...This is what I am trying to do at this point.

      All the best for your struggle also :).

      1. 1

        No problem. I guess you are not confused at all :)
        Best of luck!

  5. 1

    This will be my second "shameless plug" today, but I think it can help you...
    I'm the founder of Howitzer - direct marketing tool for Reddit, made for Entrepreneurs, Startups, Growth Hackers and guys who want to get their first 100/500/1000/5000 users.
    Actually, besides marketing, Howitzer may be pretty useful for idea validation.
    On Reddit, there are 2.6B users, segmented in daily active 130K+ subreddits.
    Imagine if you can target those users who asked for a solution to a problem your tool/idea solves, or have talked about something connected to the product you are building. And then, imagine contacting them, at scale.
    Basically, it would be ideal for idea validation, since the average response rate in Reddit private messages is 40-45%.

    If you want to do it on a small scale, I'm pretty sure that you can do it manually, without using Howitzer.
    Just search and analyze those users, then message them asking if they have used something like this, if they would be interested in trying something like this, etc...

    Good luck! :)

    1. 1

      This sounds interesting @nklvlk.I will definitely try out Howitzer.
      We are all shameless sellers here, so no worry about plugging into this conversation :).

  6. 1

    How many people have you talked to that have the problem your idea addresses?

    1. 1

      I am still talking to customers @andrewgassen and the plan is to talk at least 50+.

  7. 1

    Here's my 0.0000004BTC.

    There's no silver bullet for idea validation, but for me, validation comes down to one thing at its core:

    Validating an idea is about developing your understanding of your customers within a market you want to serve.

    The answers to the following questions are important:

    Who are these customers?
    What problems are they looking for solutions to/what's their job to be done?
    How many customers have these problems?
    How often do they need to address this problem?
    What is the process of customers solving this problem for themselves?
    Where can you find these customers?

    The solution for your idea is secondary to the customer and often your initial solution won't survive its first encounter with customers.

    For me, it's important to find sustainable and repeatable ways to get in front of new customers. That way iterations of my product can be introduced to someone new with fresh eyes.

    1. 1

      Absolutely make sense and that's what I am trying to do now.

      Quoting your reply " it's important to find sustainable and repeatable ways to get in front of new customers"- This is the key :).

  8. 1

    Wondering of the best ways as well.
    I did the same (well, on Adobe XD) but actually coded the product before even checking if anyone would pay for it. Now I need to find paying customers.

    Two ideas I'd like to test are

    • Finding groups on FB, niche forums, chat applications who fit in my idea of the target customer, then 1:1 trying to onboard them, after discussing with them
    • Finding another company with the same target customer to see if we could integrate with each other

    I should have found customers before writing the product, I know, but forgot about it and well it's still possible to pivot or add features initial customers will ask

    1. 1

      Awesome, so you already have barebone product :). Too scared to take that risk at this stage.

      I love the first idea, reaching out to communities and other forums to understand the customer problems. But most of the serious communities won't let advertising the services or product. So best is to become part of the community and contribute as much as possible. Create your loyal following then start selling your idea.

      The second one- Dont know if its really the right stage to partner with :)

      1. 1

        Agree with Gube on the first point. Try get some traffic by posting in community groups targeting your niche.

        Have you checked Reddit and Quora? Answering questions from people who might be looking for something like your product to solve their issue.

        Good luck! Let us know when you’ve hit your sub goal 🚀

        1. 1

          Never occurred to mind about this quora part. I would love to try that.
          I might have read/saw others doing this activity but when it comes to my own products I miss these small things....

          One of the reasons for putting this Q on this forum to know more about these tricks :). Thanks @damiansemler

      2. 1

        Just ideas but the second one, I saw it on youtube not too long ago, it can be as simple as making an API available actually. Or being added to a nocode tool. But it's a bit later.
        Maybe it could be possible to use twitter to find people who may be interested and "sliding into DMs" ?
        We are both really at the "Do things that don't scale" step

        1. 1

          LOL we both are taking baby steps :). I wanted to launch the product to market the moment I got 5 real customers who agree to this problem :).

          Note: Lets both do a detailed post regarding the experiments we did once we reached to few subs :)

  9. 0

    I very very strongly disagree with this sentiment:

    not writing a single line of code till getting the first customer

    1. 1

      Yeah, I do agree with your point.

      But I have failed many times in the past by going with full-blown product, the impact was huge ($$$ + including mental stress). It's just a precaution and extra validation I am adding so that there are enough people to pay for this service :)

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