Do you think that fear of failure is the greatest nightmare of every start-up company? It may or may not be, but we can’t escape reality: entrepreneurs are prone to risk-taking and there’s always a chance that your business won’t succeed. This is where product validation is essential.

If you have an idea, wish to offer people a service, or have an outstanding product in mind, there is always that slight chance that things may not work out the way you imagined. Most start-ups rush their business by skipping product validation, an essential start-up process to success.

To avoid costly mistakes, we will show you how to validate your idea. There is a way to find out whether the product you wish to launch will be profitable.

What is Product Validation?

Validation, be it a product, a service or an idea, is an important step that can show the potential results of your business. It can help you determine whether your business will have a growing and sustainable audience or you should discard the idea and start working on something new.

Product validation is ‌testing your product with potential customers in order to receive live reactions. The feedback on your product will tell you a lot about its viability and feasibility.

A lot of entrepreneurs get so blinded by excitement they forget to test the prototypes of their product before launching the final version. This is one reason most start-up companies don’t survive their first year.

But how do you test your product before it hits the market? Where do you find reliable people to help you with product validation?

Product Validation Process

During ‌testing or validating your product, your goal is to find out if people are interested in the product itself. And if they are, what is the range of their interest and how likely are they going to buy and use your product?

Here is the basic validation process explained chronologically:

  1. Decide on the size of your group–It’s different testing a product on 100 people versus 1,000 people. The more people you ask for feedback, the more diverse the responses you’ll get. 

Think of it this way: some people only leave stars in their surveys, while others will take some time to explain their reasons. Therefore, ‌aim for a larger group of potential testers if you want to achieve better results. We’re not saying you should test with over 10,000 people, but don’t stop your product validation after 100 either.

This step is important for saving time, while leaving enough space for productivity. Once you reach your set goal, it’s time to move to the next step.

  1. Study the search volume of your product idea–It’s time to test your SEO knowledge here. You can use Ahrefs’ free keyword generator. Search for your product and write down monthly searches for it. During this step, you might come up with different product ideas based on the keyword results.

    For example, if you search for “wall paint”, you will get a lot of different results such as grey wall paint, red wall paint, blue wall paint, etc. Considering the wall paint can be in any colour, it will be a little tricky to decide on the best ones to choose.

    However, instead of focusing on the colour itself, you may find that people also search for “bathroom wall paint.” This paint is different and very specific, because it’s waterproof. So instead of offering plain wall paint as your product, you can focus on offering waterproof wall paint instead (or erasable wall paint or whatever sets you apart).
  2. Create your validation form–Once you know exactly what you want to sell, ask people what they think about it. To collect feedback from people, you need the tool to do it with. This can be done through surveys, landing pages, beta testing, etc.

    Decide on the method most suitable for you, but also the one most logical for the product. This step is going to be different based on the idea you have. Whether you are offering a service or a product will determine the way you will collect the information you need.
  3. Measure your target group’s interests–After you’ve created a landing page or have performed a survey on a certain number of candidates, you’re ready to analyse the results. Read through all the emails and surveys you’ve received.

    Google surveys are a great tool, because it automatically measures your results and creates an overall analytical report. You will see the percentage of people interested in the product and their feedback, or reasons for their answers.
  4. Analyse the results–Now you have all you need to validate your product. Analyse the results and see if your product is worth building or not. This last step has two outcomes. Either you are ready to test your product and launch it, or you have to discard the idea and start working on another one.

Testing Your Product

If responses were mainly positive or have exceeded your expectations, try testing your product before launching. See your product in action before it hits the real market. There are two ways to test your product: alpha and beta testing.

  1. Alpha testing–Your product is close to being finished, yet it needs a little more examination from eyes other than your own. Alpha testing is mostly done with the user acceptance test, which is conducted at the internal level of the company. If you are a one-man start-up, involve family and friends to get your feedback.

    Having people test the product before anyone else brings many advantages. It will help your team spot the bugs, issues, troubles and malfunctions of your product depending on its form, shape, features and specifications.

    This can also serve as an exercise, where your team creates a bond between each other, while also developing their testing, eye for detail and thinking outside the box skills.
  2. Beta testing–Mostly known in video-games and among gamers, beta testing is a very popular way of validating your product or idea. Thanks to its efficiency and reliability, beta testing helps you carve your product almost to perfection before officially launching the final version.

    If your product is an application or software, this type of testing is always advised. Even if you’re trying to sell mattresses for lower back pain, beta testing can still be useful. External testers are going to use your product, test it themselves and you’ll get real life feedback from them.

    Most of the time, external testers are aware the product is still not in its final form. Thus, they pay attention to its functions and usability in order to provide useful and constructive feedback. If there is space for improvement, they will surely point it out to you.

Importance of Product Validation

Having an idea that could change the world can be thrilling for an entrepreneur. However, just because you believe your product would change people’s lives doesn’t mean people will be interested in it. To avoid wasting money, time, and energy on building and launching something that won’t sell, always validate your ideas.

Creating surveys will help you connect with your audience and understand their needs. Getting familiar with what people want and need will benefit your company’s future endeavours. You’ll learn to listen to people. Being compassionate as an entrepreneur is vital.

Product validation can expand your potential. It will let you know if your product is worth building. While testing your idea, you may also come up with ways to improve it. 

About the author

EWOR is a place where the most extraordinary people find the education, network, and capital to solve the world's biggest problems. Our unique combination of an entrepreneurship academy and early-stage VC (up to €150K investment) firm was built for founders by founders, creating an unparalleled community for like-minded entrepreneurs and over a dozen unicorn founders who are building impactful tech companies.