Will people pay for my product? Do people even need my services? These are questions many entrepreneurs ask themselves, but seldom seek to answer before they start a business. Most people will ask their friends and families if their idea is "dumb" or if they are "crazy", but invariably their friends will say, "go for it" or "that's a great idea!" Unfortunately, this is not true market validation. These are your supporters; what you really need is feedback from your early adopters!
The business gurus of the day preach, "fail fast, fail often" and I feel like I hear it everywhere. However, as an entrepreneur, I don't want to fail. I want to succeed and succeed fast! So how do entrepreneurs marry the idea of "fail fast" with the goal of succeeding? The answer is market research and validation.
As an entrepreneur you just want to sell and the last thing you want to do is go out and interview users, especially users outside of your network… but honestly, this is the most important thing you can do. It doesn't have to take long and it typically cost nothing. You can and should take at least two weeks interviewing (not selling or pitching) as many possible users of your product. It doesn't matter that you have been in the "industry", or that your gut tells you it will work. Market research and validation is time well spent. You will learn who your early adopters may be, get valuable feedback, and when you do have an idea of the solution, you have a built-in source to go back to and test your solution.
Market validation is "fail fast". It's where you learn from your users and figure out what features are essential. You should be studying what their true problems are and look below the surface of perceived problems. It might even lead to a pivot(s) before you have spent any money. If done correctly, you will have a better MVP, which will lead to quicker success! This is where you should fail fast, not after you have spent thousands of dollars on building a platform.
We have been conducting market research and validation over the past few weeks and have had several new revelations. Because we have spent this time up front, we have been able to pivot without spending any money. Thanks to the time we spent up front, we know that we will have an end product that users will want.