What Does Validation Mean?
What does validation truly mean? So, to me, it's kind of like you need to put on a lawyer hat and you need to think, validation is that you have the evidence from people that they want what you have to offer them, and I like to think about evidence as four key things. This is what I'm listening for in any conversation I have with an entrepreneur. If I'm reading about a new company that maybe I'm curious about, or if I was an investor, that I was maybe going to invest in or something like that, I would wanna look for these signs of evidence, and to me, evidence that your idea is validated can look like people are engaging with your website, meaning this landing page we're going to make, people are giving you an email address, people are spreading the word. Maybe after they fill out the survey, you have an option for people to share it or, like, forward it to three friends or something, however you wanna do that, but if you all of a sudden hear people saying, "Oh, well I signed up becaus...
e so-and-so told me," well, that's a good sign. And then, paying before it's ready. In the case of my online class, people paid me and nothing was made yet, but that was a sign. I was telling them a problem, I was offering them a promise of a solution, and the problem was big enough that they were willing to risk $ to see if my solution would work, and there was a guarantee, too, like money-back, but they still all paid me money before the product was even ready. So, you wanna be listening for those types of evidence, whether it's for your own business or if you have a friend that has an idea that wants to rope you into their business. I would be asking them questions like, "Well, how do you know?", you know, "Have you been given email addresses? "Have you been able to pre-sell any of this?" Things like that. So, we wanna see if the problem is painful enough for them to take action, give us their email address, tell a friend, pay for it, do something, not just nod their head and say, "Oh, that's a lovely idea," but actually do something about that, move towards getting the solution. So, the first step of validation is all about, we have to tell the world that this exists because maybe we have been keeping this a secret, we haven't wanted to tell anyone, so we need to tell the world it exists and we're gonna do that, and we're going to do that through creating a landing page. Now, you've probably heard about landing pages before, especially if you're in the marketing world and things like that. You could also consider landing pages for people, like, there's About Me, I think, and kind of a home base for you as a person, but we just need to create a home base online for our idea to see how people react. And this doesn't mean we need to spend three months and learn how to use Squarespace or hire some designer to do this all for us. Maybe we will get there eventually, but one challenge I see so much is, people have an idea, and then they say, "Okay, now I need to make a website "for this idea because if I don't "have a website, I don't exist." And they even validated the idea, they even thought through how that business will actually work, is there even potential profit in this business, and I'm in a lot of entrepreneurial groups on Facebook and things, and I often times see posts where it says, "Does anyone know a web designer? "I need to create a website for my business," and they have a budget of, like, $500 or something like that, which is crazy. But, the point is, we don't need to create a whole, gigantic website, we just need to create this landing page to see how people react. Then, if they react, we'll spend money and make a better, whole website. So, the landing page is really used to experiment with how we talk about our product. Remember back, I spoke about Evernote and how I had trouble understanding how it worked, why I would benefit from it, and I don't remember the exact language, but I'm guessing the language on that homepage, that landing page, was a little bit confusing. So, we need to experiment with how we talk about what our product or service does and the promise that we're going to give people about that product or service. We need to test how people respond to different designs, so we're starting to think about the brand, if you will, what this looks like, maybe what colors, what fonts, what logo. We're not gonna get hung up on that just yet, we don't want our landing page to look, you know, terrible, but we're also not going to spend thousands of dollars with a designer to come up with that, because you'll see, we live in an age when there's a lot of kind of starting points for you available, so even if you're not a designer, you don't have budget, we can still make something that looks professional. We're also gonna determine how calls to action perform, so by that, I mean, and you'll see on our landing page, but we can actually test to see, if a button says, Sign Up to get 20% Off Your First Lawn Mowing, versus, you know, Get on the Wait List or something, we can test that stuff and see which buttons actually perform better. And we can also evaluate if different traffic sources are better than others, meaning you can see if people who come from a share on Facebook are more likely to sign up and give you their email address than someone who comes from, say, a Google, just, organic search, meaning they typed in, like, lawn mowing in Seattle or something and your page comes up so he can see all this. We won't be able to get into the details of all that, but this is the beauty of just, with one single landing page, you can, again, be gathering so much information. Even if someone doesn't take action and give you their email address, we can still start to distill, "Okay, what are the words that are working?", maybe, "What are the colors that are working?", things like that. And then, we will see from the landing page if we get a green light to move ahead. If the landing page tanks, then we'll need to go back to the drawing board. So, we're gonna make the landing page, get the email addresses, and we saw this before, but indicate that people are interested, give them an offer, and hopefully get them to pay us.