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Validating Your Product or Service Idea

Lesson 1 of 24

Class Introduction

 

Validating Your Product or Service Idea

Lesson 1 of 24

Class Introduction

 

Lesson Info

Class Introduction

Before we get started, I wanted to tell you about a story from my own business. So, I'm a UX designer. That means user experience and if you're not familiar with that, it's really about making websites, apps, and experiences, really user friendly, so that if you're checking out of a hotel website, you don't want to throw the computer out the window or something like that. That would mean it's a bad user experience, so in my own business, I work with a lot of entrepreneurs and helping them figure out how do we create a good user experience? And probably twice a month, I have a lot of calls with entrepreneurs to figure out, you know, can I actually help you? Should we work together? Is it gonna be beneficial for you to be my client. So, every about twice a month, I sit at a coffee shop just like this and I have these calls with entrepreneurs. And a couple of months ago, I was talking to one guy and he said, okay Sarah, I really wanna work with you because I need you to create a prototype...

for me. And I said, okay, tell me more about this and within five minutes, it was clear he was not going to be a good client, and this is why, because he kinda got really quiet and he said, I need you to create this prototype because I know this is gonna be a hit, and if I can just have a prototype, I can take this to Amazon, and they're gonna buy it, and my family's gonna be set, and my kids are gonna have a future, and all these things. And I was just thinking in my head, like, no, this is not how it works. He's so focused on this automatic success and so I told him, okay, we need to do some research. And before I kinda mentioned that, I wanted to see if he'd done research and I said, okay, how do you know people need this product? And he said, well, I have asked all my friends and it was something to do with sports, it doesn't matter what it was, but it was in the sports industry. And he said, I'm a huge sports fan and so are all my friends, and we know it's going to be amazing. And that is really the problem. That he hadn't done research, he didn't know that it was going to be a hit, but he had it in his mind that he was going to be able to like go take this to Amazon and sell this thing. And I don't know what happened with that guy. Maybe he had some luck and it succeeded. I'm not sure but another story. I was recently in Nashville. I have some friends there and they were actually on Shark Tank, and so they get a lot of people asking them, you know, can you give us advice on our business? Can you maybe look at the thing we've made? And so, they were telling me about this situation where someone had asked them for advice and the woman came to them and said, okay, I have this idea, and it was for a kind of an organizational product related to travel. Something that you might put makeup or jewelry in or something, so it doesn't get tangled and all over the place. And so, they said, okay, this woman has made this thing, she spent a bulk of her 401k developing 3D models and all these things. My friend Lydia said, okay, I'm gonna go get it and just let you see this thing. So, she brings it to me and I literally could not even open the box. (laughing) First problem and then second, once I was able to open it, I just said, this isn't a problem, like I already have ways to organize my makeup and jewelry when I travel. And so, great example of, again, someone that had an idea, didn't do research, went and sank money from her 401k into this thing, and now has these boxes that she's trying to do something with. And it's really sad. It always kind of makes my heart (laughing) kind of break a little bit when I hear stories like this because I think, if you had just done research, you would not be in this situation. So, these two stories obviously have something in common and it's that 42% of businesses fail because they don't have the product-market fit, because the market, the people, didn't really have that problem to begin with. And so, we wanna try and avoid that. We don't want you to create a product that the market does not need, so the big question is, how do you avoid being part of that statistic, right? How do you make sure that you are not one of the 42% of businesses that are failing because it's not just your business that's failing but it's probably the potential for you to maybe employ people and that whole domino effect of what happens when you do create a successful business. And how do you really not end up like that woman, who spent her 401k or this guy who kind of probably spent, I know he spent months and months on this idea for this prototype, when I doubt he's probably ever gonna walk into an Amazon board room and present this thing to these people. So, to not end up in that situation, that's why we're here. We want to learn how to validate our ideas so that we don't become the 42%. And what does validation look like? Well, it's really all about confirming a problem exists. So, finding out, people don't have a problem packing their makeup when they travel. Seeing if people are interested in a solution. It's one thing to find out people have a problem but then the next question is, is it a big enough problem that they're willing to want a solution and hopefully pay for a solution? Because if we have a solution and we're not getting money, it's kind of pointless, I think. And also, find out if people's actions will match their interest for a solution. So, this is the idea. Yes, people might say, like in a research interview or when you're chatting with someone over an idea, oh yeah, that's a problem but, like I said, it's one thing for someone to say they have a problem, it's another thing for them to actually take action on that problem and move towards a solution. So, in this class, we're gonna walk through the steps of validating an idea for your business and to start, that doesn't start with a product. It starts with you because if you are going to go down this path of being an entrepreneur, you need to do a little bit of soul-searching, get your mindset right, and understand like the why behind what you're doing. Then, we gotta do the research. So, we figure out, do the people have a problem? And then we move into finding out what is the simplest solution we can make? So, similar to the sports man in the beginning, he had an idea for an app that was very complicated. Like when he was explaining it to me, it was as though we were five years into this business, and so the goal when we're in this beginning stage is to really think, maybe we do have that five year vision but what solution can we make right now to validate that idea, and how can we do that in a very fast and cost-effective way? And then, finally, we're going to get into the validation and what that means in the context of this class is coming up with that solution and then telling people about it, and that's gonna look like creating a landing page for our product and then trying to get people to take action. So, the first step of action is give us their email address, and then the second step of action, which we'll touch on a little bit is trying to get them to pay us. And if we can get those two things to happen, those are the green lights that we should keep moving, that this is a good idea. The workbooks I think are gonna be really, really helpful in walking you through all these steps because there can be a lot of moving parts, and even in my own business, I've found, it's easy to kind of know all the steps you need to take but not know the order you need to do them in. So, these workbooks should help you know the steps and know the order to do those steps in, and this whole validation process is something that I've actually used in my own business. So, yes I do user experience consulting and things like that but I also used these steps these steps to validate an idea I had exactly a year ago this week, which I just realized on my flight but a year ago, I had an idea that people in my industry had a hard time presenting their portfolios. It's kind of a requirement to get a job in a lot of our industry and so I sent a survey. 400 people responded and it was paragraph-long answers, like, people baring their life story, basically, and then, from there, that was kind of, okay, validation point one. So, next, I did the simplest form of solution, which was a 90 minute workshop about portfolios and I set up a landing page, and on that landing page, I also told people it cost $ and 85 people registered in something like five days. And so that, to me, was a great example of rapidly validating this idea and now, that's its own, stand-alone product that people can go get whenever they want, now, but if I had waited to develop this larger version that's six hours or five hours of content, it would have taken a long time to launch and maybe no one would have purchased it. And so, that's what we're gonna walk you through in this class. Because, think back to that example of the sports guy. He had a lot of passion. The travel woman. She had a lot of passion and businesses definitely take passion but it's more than that. So, if you remember one thing from this class, I really want you to remember this. That the business has to solve a problem for a specific group of people and I think a lot of entrepreneurs have this mindset that I'm just gonna do whatever it takes, and that's a great attitude but you don't wanna do whatever it takes to get you to like the five year plan. You wanna do whatever it takes to validate that idea, first, and then, if it's validated, then keep running towards that five year goal.

Class Description

You have an idea...now what? Most entrepreneurs fail because they build the wrong product. How does this happen? It’s because we race to the “build” phase and focus all our energy on the product. But there’s a way more important “p” word that always trumps your product...PEOPLE.


If you truly want to create an awesome product, you have to understand the people your product will serve. The best competitive advantage you can have is to understand your people, your audience, your potential customers better than everyone else. Your audience will guide you to the exact product you should create and how you should market it. This class will show you how to tap into that knowledge.

In this class, you will:

  • Learn how to use research to gather the information you need to build an effective product or service.
  • Review well-known case studies and best-practices in product design.
  • Walk through a simple step-by-step demo for building a landing page using Instapage.
  • Learn the basics of email lists and automation using ConvertKit.

Reviews

Jacki
 

The immensely valuable information in these videos teach exactly how to validate, promote and sell product to your target audience. This course is a few years of marketing school nicely wrapped in the perfect course bundle for every type of business from entrepreneur to enterprise. I have a decade of marketing experience and learned new tricks to immediately use. Wantpraneurs will gain all the knowledge needed to get started with their new business idea in clear, do-able steps. If you are in dev, marketing, UX or business, or want to be, I strongly suggest this class to you.

Amie Kelson
 

I have taken several CreativeLive courses on how to start a business. This one has some of the best content and practical information on the "what" AND the "how" of validating your products. I highly recommend. The one thing I wish she would have gone into more depth on is how to find people for market research. She covers where to find them, but not enough detail about how to engage them. Even with that missing I would still highly recommend.

Elizabeth Arostegui
 

The course is really complete and interesting. She shared a lot of useful tools and techniques that can be applied.