5 Quick-and-Dirty Tips to Determine Whether People Want What You’re Selling

By Darshan Mehta

After months of planning, you’ve decided to quit your desk job to pursue startup stardom. You know your idea is a good one, and plenty of people — your mom, your significant other, your work friends — agree with you. They wouldn’t lie to you, so it’s time to jump in, right?

Wrong. Startups fail for plenty of reasons, but chief among them is a lack of product-market fit, according to Harvard Business Review. Somewhere around 42 percent of startups fail because they simply don’t fulfill a market need. Your parents’ and co-workers’ needs may or may not reflect the broader market’s.

Finding product-market fit is a fourfold endeavor. First, be sure you’re solving a real problem for your users. Then, determine how many potential users make up the market. Is it a large enough group to sustain your business? Next, let users interact with your product. Does it actually solve their problem? Finally, determine how many of those potential users would pay for your solution.

In other words, product-market fit is a journey. To truly find it, you’ll need the user by your side every step of the way.

The User’s Journey

The star of the product validation process isn’t you; it’s the user. You’re too close to the problem, and you have preconceived notions and biases that a user won’t have. Understanding their problem, how your solution meets it, and their willingness to pay for it is key to determining the viability of your product.

Users are central to the product validation journey that top brands quite literally walk alongside them. On an investor’s advice, Airbnb co-founder Brian Chesky traveled across the country to New York to not only meet the first adopters of the service, but to also become immersed in their lives.

Unsurprisingly, Chesky emerged with a deeper understanding of what consumers wanted from Airbnb. Simply taking more attractive pictures of homes doubled bookings on the site in the first week. Had Chesky not involved the user from day one, Airbnb could have taken a very different flight path than it did.

The Path to Product Validation

Product validation is a perilous journey, but it’s also one you need to walk quickly if you’re to succeed. As you travel, keep these five tips in your pocket for foolproof product validation:

1. Engage.

Before you’ve built a prototype, engage with your users. Don’t talk at them — actually have a conversation. It might not seem like it should be your top priority right now, but skipping this step might mean building a product nobody wants.

Philosophie, a design innovation startup based in San Francisco, helps organizations solve their pressing problems and envisions how they’ll operate in the future. “We believe in getting out of the building and engaging with people who are experiencing the described problem,” co-founder and managing director Emerson Taymor writes. “This allows us Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

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