5 Critical Steps in Validating a Product or Service

 During the past 12 months with COVID, more businesses than ever before have had to pivot and change their product or services to adapt to customers current needs. Changing and adapting is important but can come at a huge cost to your business if you get it wrong. Below are a few things to consider before making changes to your business model, or product and service offerings:

What is your hypothesis or assumptions?

Clarity is key! Can you clearly articulate your reasons for wanting to create this new product or service? Does it still make sense after you’ve written it down and read it back to yourself? Don’t waste time by letting ideas ruminate in your brain. The quicker you can get your ideas on paper the faster you can start creating action steps to test your hypothesis.

What problem are you solving for?

Customers choose to buy our product or service when it is solves a need they feel they have. Can you clearly define the problem that you are solving?

So many entrepreneurs think about the product first – they worry about the features, marketing the product/service, and then wonder why their product/service has trouble gaining traction with their customer. My advice is to start with the problem first. What this means is being explicit about the problems your product/service solves. By writing down these problems, you can validate whether customers also see them as problems. And more importantly, whether customers think these problems are worth solving!

Who is your target customer?

If you say “everyone” then you are already setting yourself up for disappointment. Be sure to get specific. For example, if your customer is a business, can your answer: What kind of business? How big or small is the typical business? Are they in a particular market? What is the title of the buyer?

Interview your target customer!

Validation interviews are often called “discovery calls”, not to be confused with “sales calls”. All you should be trying to do is gain insight that can help you learn about your product/services potential. You can do this by hiring a market research company to conduct focus groups, sending out an online survey, or simply requesting a conversation with someone.

Ask potential customers about their motivations, preferences, needs and the products/services they are currently using. Circling back to the hypothesis you originally created is an important step in the validation process. Be open to the feedback you receive (both negative and positive) and record it for future use. The feedback you receive may reflect that your product/service doesn’t have strong market validity, in which case, you can use it to improve your offering and repeat the market validation process.

Liking your idea is not the same as buying your product!

Before you go out and launch your new product/service, make sure you are not just doing this based on the number of people who “like” your idea. It’s important to drill down deeper and re-interview prospects you spoke with during the validation process and ask them specifically: If you move ahead with your product/service, what is the likelihood that your prospect would be willing to purchase it (withing a set period of time)? This will make it easier for you to judge how easy or difficult it will be to acquire the customers you need to make your product/service successful.

If you are needing to pivot your business model because of COVID, or are planning to launch a new product or service, feel free to contact us to CONTACT US. to explore how Zubak & Associates can increase your odds of success!

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