You’ve cracked it.
You’ve found the perfect product, and you’re ready to take it to market.
You set up a supplier, purchase your first batch, list your product, and wait for the sales to roll in.
But instead of sales, you’re met with a mediocre response at best and 1,000 pet chicken harnesses packed into your garage that you can’t shift.
“Where did it all go wrong?”
That’s probably the question on your (and definitely your partner’s) lips.
You skipped out on one essential element of the product journey – product validation.
Here, we will explain product validation in more detail, talking you through the process and how to get your product validated before you end up with another clucking nightmare.
Product Validation Explained
Product validation is the process of testing and evaluating a product or idea to determine its viability and potential success in the market before fully investing resources, time, and effort into its development.
The goal of product validation is to gather real-world feedback and data to assess whether there is sufficient demand, interest, and value for the proposed product.
The Product Validation Process
So, when does product validation come into play?
Well, the sooner the better. Ideally, product validation is the initial step you take as soon as you have an idea for a product. The further down the line you leave it, the more time and money you likely will have sunk into the idea, which is not only costly but can also cloud your decision-making.
The whole product validation process can be split into four simple steps.
Step 1: What do they want?
No, we’re not asking you to yell at Rachel McAdams in the rain until you get an answer (although that did work very effectively for Ryan Gosling in The Notebook).
Instead, identify the real wants and needs your audience has and look for gaps where a product or service isn’t serving them.
Let’s go back to our chicken analogy from earlier.
If there were an array of pet chickens that people wanted to take out for a walk around the block, only to watch them fly off at the first opportunity, then a chicken harness would be a fantastic product.
But it isn’t because there are very few pet chickens, and even fewer that get taken for a daily jaunt. (If you are one of those 0.0001%, please get in touch. I have a fantastic product that will change your life.)
Instead, look for products that serve a niche’s needs and explore common pain points that could be resolved.
Read our article on how to find product/market fit.
Step 2: Identifying your target audience
Now you know what people want and don’t want and you have a product in mind, you can start to create your perfect target audience. That means detailing who your perfect customer is so that you can tailor the product and marketing to resonate with them.
To learn more, read our guide to find your target market.
Step 3: Market analysis
Once you’ve sized up demand and identified your perfect target audience, it’s time to see what’s already out there. You may think you have the perfect product that has never existed, only to realize hundreds of companies are already providing the same thing.
While competition of this magnitude certainly isn’t ideal, it doesn’t mean all hope is lost. Dive deeper into your competitors, identifying potential weaknesses that you could capitalize on and gain a better insight into pricing and product positioning.
Pro Tip: Look through your potential competition’s product reviews, comments on their social media, YouTube product reviews, and message boards like Reddit. There you can find complaints or wishes from customers that you can fill with your own product.
Step 4: Ask that all-important question
Finally, if your idea has made it through the first three stages, you need to ask yourself that all-important question many entrepreneurs seem to miss.
Do people actually want it?
It might seem like an obvious question, but it’s certainly one that some of the biggest entrepreneurs seem to forget from time to time (we’re looking at you, Elon. #bringbackthebird)
Will someone actually buy your product, or are you actually filling a gap in the market that no one has any interest in being filled?
With that in mind, let’s look at how you can validate your product idea with potential customers.
Validating a Product Idea
Make some sales
Just sell a few. Simple, right?
Okay, this one might be a little easier said than done, but the best way to gain feedback on a product is to hear from customers who have purchased it with their hard-earned cash.
If you can make a couple of early sales, reach out for feedback on what made them choose you, why they decided they needed that product, and what their thoughts were now they had it.
All this information can greatly shape whether or not you should continue to pursue that product and in what manner.
MVPs are the best way to get your idea in front of customers ASAP.
Read our guide to developing a minimum viable product.
Conducting research proves valuable during the phase of generating ideas or when you’re on the lookout for products to offer. Prior to committing extensive time and resources to your concept, you can effectively manage risk and cultivate belief in your idea by examining the existing market landscape.
Take to social media
Social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and… ‘X’ (pfft), are all great places to gain product validation.
Your followers have the most insight into their preferences and will happily tell you whether they have an interest in your new product idea or not.
Keep Learning: New Product Development Process in 8 Easy Steps
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