Product validation is a process through which, the actual value propositions of a product gets validated by few paying clients. Actual value propositions are the value elements inside your product that clients will pay for. Please note that product validation can be termed successful only when a potential client is ready to pay for the idea, not the product. Each product starts off with an idea, an idea which can provide value to the clients by solving few of their problems, and in return create value for the stakeholders. That’s why, entrepreneurs have to know actual client problems and develop products to solve these problems. Unfortunately, this seldom happens.
As a common practice seen in the industry, entrepreneurs tend to speculate about the client problems from whatever little knowledge they have got. They then verify their ideas with few acquaintances, which may not represent the actual market scenario. Please understand that just because your friends like the idea, doesn't mean that the market will like it too. Ground realities are usually different and far more challenging.
Let us take a look at few of the problems which entrepreneurs face, if they create products by speculating client needs. As there is no involvement of client during the product development phase, most of the features and specifications have to be speculated. Few of them might be on target. However, most of them will be far from what clients actually want. As the specifications will not be on target, when the product will be taken to the market, it is highly unlikely to get expected client adoption. This leaves us with only two options. Either, we shelve the product or modify the features. Shelving the product means that all the product development costs go in vain. Modifying the features will incur us more cost.
It’s actually a vicious cycle with cascading effect. If value propositions of the product are not validated by a paying client, it’s highly unlikely to succeed. The moment you will demonstrate the product to the prospects, most likely they will ask for references. We will not be having an answer. References are highly important when it comes to B2B sales.
What is the way out? Our team has learnt it the hard way, while developing our management software for architects . Solution is to involve a potential client at the initial stage of product development itself. It is extremely essential for the product success. A client should be ready to pay us for the idea, not for the product. If this happens, we can be assured that our idea is valid and can be taken to the market successfully.