Insights from Proteus
Research, Findings, Best Practices, and Humor
A couple of weeks ago we talked a little bit about what we call “Idea Validation.” A method to actually figure out if your innovative new business will be disruptive before spending any money on it. In case you missed the last article, find it here. Here are 2 more reasons validation should be an early stage startup’s number 1 priority.
1. What if you’re building too much?
95% of startups make this mistake, and they generally have no idea their doing it. It usually happens when the product gets positive feedback and is generating a little bit of revenue. At this point everyone’s excited about the possibilities and wants to build as much as possible. But what if they don’t need it? Imagine a pen that has a flashlight, a nose hair trimmer, can unlock your car from a mile away...and oh yeah, can also write! All those features are nice, but when it comes down to it you buy a pen because you need something to write with, not to trim your nose hairs. The point is, keep it lean. Find an MVP that you can get behind and use feedback to help determine what add-ons are necessary. This will cut initial build-out costs and keep you focused on what your customers really want.
2. You can sell it before you build it.
This part comes last, after you’ve already spoken to a potential customer a couple of times, you’ve built a relationship and gained insight into their major pain points. If you’re on the right track, those are problems your product will solve and they recognize that. Find your early adopters and get them to sign a letter of intent. Show mock-ups of the finished product to help onboarding. Many of them will happily sign a letter of intent for an unbuilt product that will save them time and money in the future. Now you’ve got customers willing to buy before you’ve spent any money.