I recently went to a one-day start-up workshop where they covered the some of the basic components of start-ups. And in this workshop, I’ve learned a few main lessons. And would be sharing two of them.
Starting with this first post on the validation process of start-ups.
The idea of validation is to test whether your start-up idea is viable and needed. Idea validation is a must in any start-up as this will reduce the likelihood of failure in a business. This stage of validation comes after you have your business idea in mind. For this process of validation, we will base everything off the validation board – which we were taught to use.
Not sure if you’ve seen this before, but it is called a validation board. This is the tool we used to validate our idea. And how it works is where we come out with hypotheses and assumptions.
The first hypothesis is the ‘Customer Hypothesis’. This is the hypothesis on your customer/target consumer based on a certain problem. For this to be effective we have to be specific about who we are targetting. For example, if I were Shopify, I might probably write something like ‘First-time/existing entrepreneurs, looking to start their new business’. – That may not be a great example but I think you get the point.
The next hypothesis is the ‘Problem Hypothesis’. In short, this is the hypothesis on the problem that your start-up is going to solve. Sticking to the Shopify example, we could possibly say something like ‘First-time/existing entrepreneurs are not able to start their own eCommerce business because they do not have any coding background or are not savvy enough to use the complicated tools provided in the market.
Next, we will move on to ALL the assumptions that you have made in regards to your idea. For example, ‘These people want to start an eCommerce business”, “They have no money/low on capital to hire a web developer to create their eCommerce website” etc. This part of the validation board will be placed under ‘Design Experiments’ in the validation board.
From this, we will move on to test all the assumptions to see which is true or false starting with the riskiest assumption made. (You might have realized that we skipped the portion on ‘Solution Hypothesis’ and this is due to the fact that we have not yet validated the problem thus, we are not able to define a solution.) To test our assumptions, this brings me to my next point:
SURVEYING AND INTERVIEWS (METHOD)
We will create a survey and interview people to test if your assumptions made are true. My favorite tool to create forms and surveys is Typeform as it allows me to create forms with a beautiful UI that might make it more bearable for someone to do your survey.
Remember to keep in mind the assumptions we are testing when crafting out the questions.
Additionally, the best way of testing your assumptions will be doing interviews. Because through talking to the person, you can sense their emotions and answers and get your idea validated through conversations with the person.
This way, you can ask questions that allow them to elaborate more on the problems they face etc. Trust me, I did an interview with someone and it really helped so much more to test my assumptions as compared to surveys itself.
The good thing about surveys is that you can send them to a lot of people but if you get the choice of interviewing them, always do so.
One more thing, in your surveys and interviews, you can try asking for the person’s name and email this might help you build an email list for email marketing later down the road.
MINIMUM SUCCESS CRITERION
The portion on the minimum success criterion is basically the minimum standard of assumptions that are met to move forward on your idea after testing all the core assumptions.
PIVOT OR MOVE ON?
After getting all our assumptions tested, we will analyze the results. If most of your assumptions don’t meet the minimum success criterion, then pivot.
When you pivot, you will redo all the few steps again. Changing either your customer or problem hypothesis followed by the rest of the steps. However, once your results meet the minimum success criterion we will move on to define your solution.
Video on the Validation board
Additionally, do help me to complete this survey which takes less than 3 minutes as it’s part of the validation process of my new business idea. Thank you!