How to Validate a Product Idea

If you have an idea for a product, you may be ready to jump right in headfirst. You might be at the point where you think you’re ready to work with a company that provides rapid prototyping services and hopefully move as quickly as possible toward production.

Before you do, however, have you taken the necessary steps to validate your product idea?

If you take the time early on to validate an idea, you can save yourself a lot of money and potential heartache in the future.

The following are tips to help you validate your product idea quickly and even if you have a small budget.

Why Is Validation Important?

When you have a new idea or a new version of something that already exists, validation is a must. The benefits of validation include:

  • You reduce your risk
  • You’re minimizing costs
  • You can speed-up the delivery of your product or service to the marketplace

Put Your Product Concept on Paper

Many times when people have a product idea, they underestimate the importance of taking pen to paper and sketching it out or writing down what the core functionalities will be.

You don’t have to create a full business plan, but give yourself the opportunity to write things down and ensure you have a clear idea of what you’re going to be validating and testing.

Some things to ask yourself during this time that you’ll eventually use as part of the process of testing and validating include:

  • Who is your customer? Do not say your customer is everyone. The more definitively and specifically you can drill down into who your customer is, the better from the validation standpoint. Get a clear idea of who your anticipated customer is pretty much before doing anything else in the product validation process.
  • What problem do you hope to solve for that targeted audience or customer? What is it about the features you have in mind that are going to solve that problem specifically? The best way to approach this step is to work first on the problem to ensure it exists and then, building the solution around that rather than creating a solution before identifying a problem.
  • What are your most important features? Don’t go overboard—you don’t need extra features just because. Your focus ultimately needs to be on solving the problem you outlined in the step above.

Don’t Hold Back with Your Ideas

When you have a great idea, you may want to keep it to yourself because of an anxiety that someone will steal it or other concerns. It’s important when you’re in the validation phase to share your idea as much as possible, however.

You can save significant amounts of time and money on your development process if you just have conversations with people and get their input before you go any further.

Research Similar Products

The idea of competition is one that we can inherently associate with being negative, but it’s not.

Researching and understanding your competition is one of the most valuable components of validating your own product idea.

First, if the product already exists, you have the peace of mind that comes with knowing it’s been validated already.

It then gives you the opportunity to use what exists and improve upon it based on the flaws or gaps left behind by the existing product.

Knowing that something exists and that people pay for it is your proof of concept. When you’re trying to get investors or any type of funding for your product in the future, it’s much easier to explain something to people when some form of it already exists.

Another option when it comes to using your competition is to look for existing products, but perhaps in a different market than what your own will be in. You might take something that exists in the general sense but apply it differently.

Other Aspects of Validation

Finally, along with what’s above, there are some other critical components of thorough validation.

First, is your product likely to be better than the competition in some way? We discussed the value of using your competition as part of your validation process and then looking to see whether or not you’re truly going to be able to outperform them.

Is your product too complex? Novel ideas can be good, but not if they’re overly complicated compared to what’s currently available.

How visible will your product benefits and features be right away to people who are looking at it or considering it?