Validating the demand for your proposition is more important than anything, especially cutting code. The top miracle assumption for most startups is an economically addressable market for the wonderful proposition.
Finding out what people actually need, and then giving it to them is likely to be more successful.
If you don’t have a ~30 word proposition that solves a validated problem, step away from the code. Your business concept and product proposition should drive ALL your investment decisions across engineering, commercial go-to-market, operations, and well … everything.
No validation is like gambling on the $10 tables in Vegas, without the free drinks. We know, having made this mistake ourselves with a tech integration product that could’t find a market. Good learning, but an expensive hangover.
Sometimes we help a product lead business to define and validate the market proposition after a significant investment in product engineering. When product is already built, it can be like whack-a-mole™ to find an economically addressable market. Rather than elaborating a product for a market, we iterate through markets to force fit a product. Which sounds more sensible ?
If you benefit from a great network that can connect with likely buyers, do it. If not, scaling feedback at low cost can appear to be daunting. Engaging with relevant business decision makers cost effectively at scale to establish a high propensity market need is, for us, the toughest bit of starting up.
matter-center.com smoke test call to action
The simple way is to go with a smoke test of mock-up landing pages that explain your proposition. For complex solutions or new categories this may need help from a video explainer or click through demo. Then drive appropriate audiences to them with engaging offers on:
targeted LinkedIn InMails and adverts
highly selective Google Adwords campaigns
trade associations and industry body newsletters
& many other creative research hacks
We used this for one of our own investments, matter-center.com to validate the market and start qualifying product before engineering. A solid network was generating great 1:1 research interviews, but in a highly contended enterprise market. Smoke testing provided a breadth engagement which identified a more appropriate (addressable & underserved) SMB segment in 30 days. Having a clear market segment to target for product needs and commercial model, the engineering for MVP only took 6 months.
If you are putting off market validation as it looks harder than product development, you may need to partner. Validation is not tough, it just needs 4 to 6 weeks of engagement effort to get a directional indication.
http://www.hjbconsulting.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/cash-1170.jpg5851170Hans Baumhardt/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/HJB-Logo-blue-340.pngHans Baumhardt2017-05-18 12:00:022017-05-25 20:08:12Starting something is easy, the first 10 paying customers are tough
http://www.hjbconsulting.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/microsoft-ms-dos-for-mobile-01-april-2015-1170.jpg5121170Hans Baumhardt/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/HJB-Logo-blue-340.pngHans Baumhardt2017-05-07 12:00:522017-05-25 19:15:00Selling new products to early adopters
http://www.hjbconsulting.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Lean-startup-go-to-market-elements-frosted.jpg500630Hans Baumhardt/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/HJB-Logo-blue-340.pngHans Baumhardt2017-04-21 16:00:252017-05-25 20:08:44Using go-to-market to connect new products and markets
http://www.hjbconsulting.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Diffusion-of-innovation-from-bryanmmathers.com_.jpg500960Hans Baumhardt/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/HJB-Logo-blue-340.pngHans Baumhardt2017-04-04 09:00:492017-05-25 20:08:57So what, and why should I care about your startup proposition ?
http://www.hjbconsulting.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Stanley-R.-Mickelsen-Safeguard-Complex-1200.jpg9371200Hans Baumhardt/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/HJB-Logo-blue-340.pngHans Baumhardt2017-03-22 21:12:072017-05-25 20:09:17Cold war and lean innovation 1955 to 1975
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http://www.hjbconsulting.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/good-cheap-fast-600.png413600Hans Baumhardt/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/HJB-Logo-blue-340.pngHans Baumhardt2016-02-01 09:00:132017-05-25 20:00:09Amazing triangles that simplify business management
http://www.hjbconsulting.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/747-trailing-sunset.jpg7801170Hans Baumhardt/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/HJB-Logo-blue-340.pngHans Baumhardt2015-01-29 09:00:222017-05-25 20:04:37Managing business performance by flight plan