How to Validate your Start-Up Idea - FAST

15 replies
In the spirit of being lean and creating a MVP... how would you validate a startup idea for an app without building the app?

Can a landing page (similar to a sales page) showing the features be enough?

What is the quickest, most effective way of getting your idea across to your target market (without the product) and engaging a response that can act as validation?
#app development #idea development #lean startup #mvp #validate
  • Profile picture of the author michaeloslier
    Originally Posted by Shelles View Post

    In the spirit of being lean and creating a MVP... how would you validate a startup idea for an app without building the app?

    Can a landing page (similar to a sales page) showing the features be enough?
    The purpose of a MVP is to prove that an assumption you have is correct. What is biggest assumption that you have made in regards to your app idea?

    For example if you're looking to create a Facebook ads manager tool, the assumption is that people are not happy with the current in built Facebook ads manager and want another solution.

    In this example, this assumption is what you are trying to prove. As you progress and develop you'll be using your MVP to test different assumptions.

    In my opinion a lot of people make the mistake of building a MVP which is simply a stripped down version of their product. This is technically a MVP but it doesn't necessarily serve the purpose of trying to prove an assumption and providing valuable and strategic learnings to the founder/creator which he/she can use to further develop the idea/product.

    So to answer your question, yes you can create a MVP. You just need to dissect what you are building and the solution you are creating to identify what that MVP should be.

    I hope this helps.
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  • Profile picture of the author Shelles
    The purpose of a MVP is to prove that an assumption you have is correct. What is biggest assumption that you have made in regards to your app idea?
    The purpose would be to find out if the targeted users would actually use it. I know that it can fix a problem but I don't know if the targeted users will accept it since it's changing the way they do things...

    My idea was to create a landing page advertising the features and basically showing what it is, how it works etc. and seeing if my target market was interested (via some sort of sign up).

    The app itself can't really be created in a stripped back version since the vital functionality is the expensive/time consuming part.. so once that's built, the rest is just cosmetics.
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  • Profile picture of the author Brian EL
    Originally Posted by Shelles View Post

    In the spirit of being lean and creating a MVP... how would you validate a startup idea for an app without building the app?

    Can a landing page (similar to a sales page) showing the features be enough?

    What is the quickest, most effective way of getting your idea across to your target market (without the product) and engaging a response that can act as validation?
    You reachout to your target audience, identity the pain points then proffer your solution.
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  • Profile picture of the author statusengage
    What you really need is a MVA - Minimum Viable Audience. You need to get some Alpha customers on board that you can actually have a conversation with. Connect over email, phone, Skype and share the BENEFITS of the app. Sometimes "Features" can be more tech-centered. What you want to do is explain how your app can make their life better/simpler/more productive/etc.

    These early testers will be able to give you a true feedback loop to build the product you want to launch. That's not to say that customers know exactly what they want. You want to combine their feedback with your hypothesis and knowledge of the product to create something that is simple to use and delivers value.

    Not sure if this will be a paid app, but if so you can use that as a selling point - their reward for working with you as advisors/testers is that they use the product for free. Once you can get 3+ people to actively use your app on a regular basis, your next job is building a referral system into the app that rewards users for inviting their friends and sharing the app.

    Analytics:

    Use Fabric.io or some other analytics platform to track users and app engagement. Have this in place from day one because the data you will get becomes invaluable to understanding how people are actually using your app.

    Free / Cheap Promotion:

    Create a contest/giveaway to pull in continual social traffic and mentions so people are constantly talking about your app. I manage the marketing for Playerline (fantasy football app). We have well over 100k+ downloads between Google Play and App Store. We're currently at 10,000 daily active users (across Android and iOS).

    If you want an idea of how to put this in practice check this out. Launch with Rafflecopter. Promote using social ads and outreach and afterwards the referral loop will keep bringing in more people that enter to win, who end up promoting the contest/app further.
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    • Profile picture of the author Shelles
      What you really need is a MVA - Minimum Viable Audience. You need to get some Alpha customers on board that you can actually have a conversation with. Connect over email, phone, Skype and share the BENEFITS of the app. Sometimes "Features" can be more tech-centered. What you want to do is explain how your app can make their life better/simpler/more productive/etc.

      These early testers will be able to give you a true feedback loop to build the product you want to launch. That's not to say that customers know exactly what they want. You want to combine their feedback with your hypothesis and knowledge of the product to create something that is simple to use and delivers value.

      Not sure if this will be a paid app, but if so you can use that as a selling point - their reward for working with you as advisors/testers is that they use the product for free. Once you can get 3+ people to actively use your app on a regular basis, your next job is building a referral system into the app that rewards users for inviting their friends and sharing the app.

      Analytics:

      Use Fabric.io or some other analytics platform to track users and app engagement. Have this in place from day one because the data you will get becomes invaluable to understanding how people are actually using your app.

      Free / Cheap Promotion:

      Create a contest/giveaway to pull in continual social traffic and mentions so people are constantly talking about your app. I manage the marketing for Playerline (fantasy football app). We have well over 100k+ downloads between Google Play and App Store. We're currently at 10,000 daily active users (across Android and iOS).

      If you want an idea of how to put this in practice check this out. Launch with Rafflecopter. Promote using social ads and outreach and afterwards the referral loop will keep bringing in more people that enter to win, who end up promoting the contest/app further.
      Thanks statusengage! That is some great advice and congrats on 10,000 DAILY active users!

      My app idea is more specific to an industry (construction/trade) and you're totally right about the MVA and "Alpha" customer... It's just really difficult to tell who they are...

      It might be different in other parts of the world but there don't seem to be any 'gurus' per se, or influencers amongst our tradies... the biggest influencer would be the government/regulators hehe and only because what they say is law!
      In saying that... maybe that is where I should start.
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      • Profile picture of the author Stawrew
        Originally Posted by Shelles View Post

        Thanks statusengage! That is some great advice and congrats on 10,000 DAILY active users!

        My app idea is more specific to an industry (construction/trade) and you're totally right about the MVA and "Alpha" customer... It's just really difficult to tell who they are...

        It might be different in other parts of the world but there don't seem to be any 'gurus' per se, or influencers amongst our tradies... the biggest influencer would be the government/regulators hehe and only because what they say is law!
        In saying that... maybe that is where I should start.
        ... no "alpha" customers, no influencers, only government and regulators ... to me it sounds like you should get out of this market! ;-)

        I´m kidding .. but just a little, since it seems to me that selling this app later on might be really difficult. If the convernment doesn´t buy or endorse it, what´s the plan?
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        • Profile picture of the author Shelles
          Originally Posted by Stawrew View Post

          ... no "alpha" customers, no influencers, only government and regulators ... to me it sounds like you should get out of this market! ;-)

          I´m kidding .. but just a little, since it seems to me that selling this app later on might be really difficult. If the convernment doesn´t buy or endorse it, what´s the plan?
          hehe. The industry as a whole doesn't seem to have any real influencers and I don't need the government to buy into it, it just means that marketing to the audience is a bigger task... I mean the point of targeting 'alpha' customers and influencers is really to piggy-back off their authority and... influence.. doesn't mean it can't be done without them.
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  • Profile picture of the author Stawrew
    Not sure if a landing page showing the features would be be enough.

    However, you could do some kind of "early bird" page: introduce the app, tell the price and let them opt-in to get the info when the app is launched (and an early bird discount).

    That way you´ll at least some indication, if folks are interestend in this app (given its price).
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    • Profile picture of the author Shelles
      Not sure if a landing page showing the features would be be enough.

      However, you could do some kind of "early bird" page: introduce the app, tell the price and let them opt-in to get the info when the app is launched (and an early bird discount).

      That way you´ll at least some indication, if folks are interestend in this app (given its price).
      Yes, that is what i was thinking... it's more just to gauge interest and also to get people talking about it.
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  • Profile picture of the author smasif15
    A "coming soon" type landing page is a great start

    As voiced by others, setting up a "check out my idea" landing page can be a great way to test the waters.

    Of course, driving traffic to such a page can be quite hard, especially if you're still trying to figure out who to reach, but not a bad thing to do all the same.
    Find out who's interested and bring people towards your landing page to see if people would sign up. If you're getting a lot of signups your steps closer to validating your idea. You can follow accounts that contain your ideal customers very quickly with a few clicks. For instance, if I was opening up a new taco shop, I can use Flutter-app to follow people that follow Chipotle, or Taco bell since my ideal customers are probably following those accounts. Doing this manually would take forever, but you can do this with Flutter very quickly. Make sure your Twitter bio has a link to your landing page so people know what to click on. If a few days go by and your landing page is getting traffic but no signups then tweak the landing page.

    Solving a shark bite problem for a single person is called consultancy. However in order to build a scalable startup, you need to discover a deep need within a sizable market. A big and frequent pain can consequently be tied to a big and frequent budget (what is called Return on Investment).
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  • Profile picture of the author Chris Gylseth
    Have you checked if there are any apps in that space that already do some or all of what you envision? We often get approached by people with ideas for apps that they want to build. Some, but not all, have even done research to see if there was anything similar out there and had not found anything. However, when we did some research on our own we found one or many that already had a large handle on that market. In some cases those were BIG players and the guy with the idea did not want to compete against their equally big budgets. They all loved that we saved them money before they ever spent it and we gained their trust for future business.

    On the other hand, in many cases you will find that existing apps have valuable feedback by its users, feedback which can lead you to discover a space that needs filling. Look for this and build that solution. In those cases you already have an alpha audience.
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  • Profile picture of the author brettb
    You need to build a 1.0, or even a 0.1. I did this with my software product. 0.1 sold a couple of copies, which encouraged me to keep developing it.
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    • Profile picture of the author Shelles
      Originally Posted by brettb View Post

      You need to build a 1.0, or even a 0.1. I did this with my software product. 0.1 sold a couple of copies, which encouraged me to keep developing it.
      I would love to brettb! Unfortunately this isn't the type of app where a 0.1 can really exist. The core functionality is really the most expensive part to develop.. after that the rest is just cosmetic.
      Actually, 0.1 would be a wireframe... I think that's the most effective way of visually showing people what the app actually is and does?
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  • Profile picture of the author Shelles
    A "coming soon" type landing page is a great start

    As voiced by others, setting up a "check out my idea" landing page can be a great way to test the waters.

    Of course, driving traffic to such a page can be quite hard, especially if you're still trying to figure out who to reach, but not a bad thing to do all the same.
    Find out who's interested and bring people towards your landing page to see if people would sign up. If you're getting a lot of signups your steps closer to validating your idea. You can follow accounts that contain your ideal customers very quickly with a few clicks. For instance, if I was opening up a new taco shop, I can use Flutter-app to follow people that follow Chipotle, or Taco bell since my ideal customers are probably following those accounts. Doing this manually would take forever, but you can do this with Flutter very quickly. Make sure your Twitter bio has a link to your landing page so people know what to click on. If a few days go by and your landing page is getting traffic but no signups then tweak the landing page.

    Solving a shark bite problem for a single person is called consultancy. However in order to build a scalable startup, you need to discover a deep need within a sizable market. A big and frequent pain can consequently be tied to a big and frequent budget (what is called Return on Investment).
    Thanks Smasif15! It's definitely not a shark bite problem


    Have you checked if there are any apps in that space that already do some or all of what you envision? We often get approached by people with ideas for apps that they want to build. Some, but not all, have even done research to see if there was anything similar out there and had not found anything. However, when we did some research on our own we found one or many that already had a large handle on that market. In some cases those were BIG players and the guy with the idea did not want to compete against their equally big budgets. They all loved that we saved them money before they ever spent it and we gained their trust for future business.

    On the other hand, in many cases you will find that existing apps have valuable feedback by its users, feedback which can lead you to discover a space that needs filling. Look for this and build that solution. In those cases you already have an alpha audience.
    Hi Chris, there definitely isn't anything like it out there, I have checked. There is definitely an audience, I just haven't pinned down any 'alpha'..
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  • Profile picture of the author CoralBayLover
    I've developed a fully working MVP. My initial problem is getting traffic to actually validate the idea at all. So I think a landing page could be even more tricky?
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