Business Development · Customer engagement

"Out-of-box" approach to validate product idea and create traction

Zlatko Petrov Founder & CEO

October 9th, 2018

Folks, would you pls share any "out-of-box" approach to validate hypothesis / product idea, before investing too much into MVP development? I plan a social media campaign, in order to do so + engage potential beta testers, but perhaps there are other creative ways to reach out to prospective customers, learn from them and create a traction. Any lesson learned from your past/current experience would be appreciated. The product I am working on is a platform that connects - patients, healthcare providers and insurers.

Alexandre Azevedo Founder of The Traction Stage Blog & Podcast

Last updated on November 26th, 2018

Hi, Zlatko! Nice to e-meet you!

Considering your limited budget, I would suggest you the following approaches:

Get Out of the Building: this a well-know (and very powerful) rule on startup development. Talk with potential customers, industry experts, etc. Interview and observe people in their own environment. Look for adaptations they do to solve the problem. Empathize with them. Understand their objectives and pain points as good as you can. This will help you to validate not only the solution, but the problem as well.

Offline Events: host an event about a topic that is compelling to one segment of your potential customers. During this event, you may present your idea and ask their opinion on the problem and the solution.

Landing Page: build a landing page presenting the problem and the solution and asking people to leave their emails if they are interested in being contacted when the product is released.

Community: building a community may take some time, but if you are able to gather people interested about your value proposition, you may find not only beta testers, but creative minds to contribute to your product development and distribution. If the problem is really important, people may want to engage with others about a potential solution.

I wish success!


Sarah Bates Founder & CEO

October 9th, 2018

Hi Zlatko,

we have found helpful to get feedback from customers.

Bistra Nikiforova Whambadu: Handy App for Happy Times

October 10th, 2018

Hi Zlatko, first, you should have idea who your potential customers are. Are you thinking C2B or B2B project? You should find out where your potential customers "hang out." This will help you narrow down your channels, save you money, and get you closer to those who you want to target. From my personal and painful experience I know that social media channels do not work if you go with paid only when there is no recognized product/brand. Alexandre's suggestions seem to be the norm for startups because they have proven to be the best ways to build trust with your potential customers.

Ще се радвам да поговорим повече. Аз тамън преодолях страха си да говоря с потенциални клиенти лице в лице. Можеш да ме намериш на Линкдин на Бистра Никифорова. :)

Tim W My craft is SaaS sales and creating strategic partnerships

October 11th, 2018

Don't build an MVP until you have significant validation of the need, the market, and your solution.

If you haven't already done so, go have lots of discovery conversations with potential users and stakeholders to get their reaction to your idea.

You need a feedback loop to validate and adjust what you think is a good product idea.

Start with potential patients. Run the idea past them. Once patients say "yeah that sounds like something I would use". Do this same process with all the possible users in your ecosystem (e.g. docs. hospital operators, insurers). You'll get a ton of great feedback and chances are your idea will evolve in a meaningful and possibly significant way.

Then create a prototype. Adobe XD is free and easy to figure out if you're not a developer. You'll create an embarrassing low fidelity prototype.

Go out and validate again. Create a Slide Deck to convey the Pain / Opportunity you're solving and incorporate key product slides that convey the value and how it works. Take this back out to the same people you've been validating with and get their reaction by asking good questions. Validate with new people as well.

When you speak with potential buyers, make sure you're validating their pain and if they would pay for your product. Ask what they think success looks like after using your product for a few months. Ask what things they budget for that are in the same category as your product. Ask what that they spend on those other products/services.

If you do this with institutional buyers, you'll hopefully build a pipeline of your first paying institutional customers. This whole process will help you validate the need, validate the market, get meaningful signals for product-market fit and set you on a good path to move forward.

You don't need to build an MVP to do any of this. Build the MVP only after you've validated everything you can.

Good luck!