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How to effectively validate your project idea

After Nexapp participated in the Lean Startup Machine, we prepared a summary on the training program and we would like to share with you some of our discoveries.

The Lean Startup process

The Lean Startup Process is a new movement, proposed by Eric Ries in 2011, which mainly focuses on changing how a new product is launched into the market. The purpose of Lean Startup is to work smarter rather than working harder. It forces us to understand the problem first and the motivations of our future clientele so as to finally find a solution. Most startups carry out the reverse process, which is to develop a solution and then relate it with the problem (which may not even exist). Hence you invest a great deal of your time and a big amount of money only to end up with no sale! While I am writing theses lines, statistics demonstrate that 90 % of startups tend to fail using this system.

How can your idea be validated?

The first step is to verify as soon as possible whether your idea is intended at an actual need or not. There are several ways and means of doing this, among which the most popular is the market analysis. Even with these methods, most startups skip this step since they believe it to be useless or a waste of time. At times like these, you confirm yourself with things like “I have nothing to lose except time”. Are you actually prepared to spend the next 6 months of your life hitting a brick wall? Considering that your answer is “no”, you can then proceed by experiment, which means that all you must do is to go outside and talk to your target clientele directly. This stage costs absolutely nothing, that is, unless maybe a few hours …

What’s the best way to talk to people?

You might have already spoken to thousands of people during your entire life. How would you repeat the same experience once again? With the aim of validating a startup idea, you need to change your state of mind. Firstly, it is important to understand that the human being wants to help one another, this is instinctive. People will say what you wish to hear in order to please you rather than revealing what the real criticisms are. You should keep this in mind whenever you start interviewing others. These people need not, by any means, have the impression of being interviewed during your presence. The objective of these interviews is to draw out every bit of information that people know with regard to your problem. Thus you should not raise any question that could result in a “yes” or “no” answer, we should rather focus more on open questions. Ask for stories that they had experienced and you will soon see that these discoveries are quite surprising.

What’s the next step?

It is useful to remember that the mindset during the Lean Startup process is to invalidate your problem as soon as possible. The sooner you fail, the faster you will succeed afterwards. It’s up to you to decide whether your discoveries during your interviews were satisfactory or not. Do not be afraid to give up on your problem. A common mistake is that we are over convinced about our idea that we are strongly determined to achieve it. 90 % of startups fail, make sure that you are not a part of them. It is important to put your ego aside, since you should create your product based on your customer’s expectations and not on your preferences.

I thus invite you to follow the Lean Startup Machine training program to learn more about the process.  

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