Simple framework to “validate” an idea

The basic heuristics to validate an idea

Simple framework to “validate” an idea
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How do you come up with new product ideas?
  • In the shower?
  • By looking at your own problems
  • Brainstorming with friends
All are legit methods.
I asked this question earlier this week on Twitter and got some incredible answers.
It’s clear, coming up with new ideas is not a problem.
The deeper issue is, how do you determine if an idea is worth building or not?
How do you know the time and effort you put into building a product will be worth it.
I think there are 3 basic elements you need to decide if an idea is worth pursuing or not.
Let’s get into it -

Before we start, you should know 3 things -
  • There is no perfect validation. Markets change, consumer preferences change, competition comes in. So don’t expect to achieve 100% validation for any idea. EVER!
  • Validation means different things to different people, I’ll throw some numbers here, but they don’t have to stick to them, they can be different for you. As the cool kids say these days, YMMV.
  • You can NOT validate an idea without investing some money, time or effort. Usually you need a combination of all 3.
Now, let’s go -

1. Money

If something makes money, you’re in business, it’s validated.
But it’s not as simple as that.
Along with money you also need to take into account the time or effort it took you to make that money.
You need to balance 3 things here -
  • Money
  • Time
  • Effort
If something makes $100 in 1 hour with little effort, it might be worth it to double down on that idea.
But if it makes $100 in 3 months and lots of work, then it’s probably not worth pursuing that idea further.
So you need to figure out what the right balance is for you when you make your initial dollars with an idea.
  • X Dollars
  • in Y time
  • With Z amount of effort.
Come up with your own X, Y and Z and reflect if it’s worth it or not.

2. Repeatability

Can you repeat the process?
Let’s say you got $100 in 1 hour with little effort, can you build a sustainable, repeatable process?
Can you predictably convert traffic into leads and leads into revenue?
You need to know where your customers hang out every day and talk about your product there regularly.
This can be through organic or paid channels, it doesn’t matter, it just has to have positive ROI.
And this can be your own audience, or a borrowed audience from some watering hole.
If you don’t have a repeatable process of finding new customers, you don’t have a validated idea.
Distribution is part of the idea!

3. Customer Satisfaction

This is the ultimate test, isn’t it?
You can make a sale by writing persuasive copy on your sales page, but do customers actually find your product or service valuable?
Do they use it regularly?
Are they willing to give a testimonial? Are they willing to refer their friends?
If you cannot delight customers, then you don’t have a validate idea (even if there’s revenue and repeatability)
Because if you don’t have happy customers, revenue will dry up and new customers will stop coming into the business.
So customer satisfaction is paramount!

Customer Conversations

At the base of all this is the customer, and how well you know them.
There are many ways to do market research or validate if an idea is worth building or not. But nothing is better than talking to customers.
So try an speak to as many people as possible.
And do this at every stage -
  • Early on when the idea is raw
  • While you’re building the product
  • After the customer has used the product
These conversations will help you build the right stuff and also market it the right way.
Which eventually will turn your rough idea into a tangible product that has revenue, repeatability and customer satisfaction baked in.

So quick recap -
For “validation”, you need 3 things -
  • Money (withing appropriate levels of time and effort)
  • Repeatability
  • Customer Satisfaction
And at the base of everything are the conversations you will have with your customers.
Next time you think of an idea, try and run it through this framework.
Here’s the tweet where 50+ shared how they come up with new ideas.

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Hope you found this useful.
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See you next week
Ayush 🙏

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Eternally Curious. Writing, Learning, Building in Public. Writing about Ideas + Inspiration + Insights for creators, solopreneurs and indie hackers | Simple tips and frameworks to help you build a sustainable solo business

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