Have you ever heard of a situation where a product was created but nobody ended up needing it? There have been funny bags for pizza, spoon with a cooling fan on it and a device that unfolds your shirt for you. Big companies have succeeded in this too. Bic made a “Miss Bic” pen for women. It was like a regular pen but pink. Turned out it was a pointlessly gendered product and failed to gain a consumer base. 

How to avoid this? Whether you are trying to figure out whether your idea for a product or service is worth going for or trying to develop your product to be more user friendly, you should always ask your customer. You should find a bunch of your potential customers and ask them whether they would need your product or if they feel it is easy to use?  

Before you ask your potential customers all you have are assumptions, your best guesses. The problem you are solving might be big enough of an issue for you to warrant a solution but you don’t know if that applies to enough people. You don’t know whether some new feature in your product makes it better. You just don’t really know until you ask the customer.  

Developing your product should be a process where you go to your customers with a very raw version of your product and get their feedback. You take to feedback and go back to developing, make the changes and go back to the customer and so on. Do not waste time and money fine tuning some idea or a product feature you have not validated with customer feedback. 

How to do customer validation? You can use different methods from online surveys to deep interviews but you should always plan out the process carefully, the accuracy of your data depends on it. Here is a good article on customer validation. How to Validate User Needs with Customer Validation – Digital Natives 

This is what DigiReactor workshops are all about. Making sure that the problem you are trying to solve exists and that it is painfull enough, problem worth solving. Validating your ideas with your potential customers makes all the difference and keeps you on the right track. 

Elias Savonlahti 

Community Manager, 

SparkUp startup community