How to Validate your Startup Idea?

‘Build what you can sell, but don’t sell what you can build.’ 

Now, let’s take this above quote and put it to measure against your Startup Idea. Everyone at some point in life has a great idea. Unfortunately, most of these don’t become a reality as either there is not sufficient effort investment in the idea or it is too much effort invested in the wrong idea. Now, wait what is this litmus test of something being a ‘Right’ Idea and a ‘Wrong’ Idea? Who decides whether is an idea is good or bad? Can you predict the success of the idea before you can start investing in the launch? Is there a magic formula which can determine is my startup idea an amazing one or it’s just going to be a wasted effort? Well, there is not a magic formula or a litmus test to determine that, yet there is a range of quick questions which you can start asking yourself before you invest your first rupee, minute and the sweat drop towards the idea. Here are the top 5 ways which will help you navigate through the most exciting journey of your life.



  1. Is my startup idea a Vitamin or a Pill?

> Is my idea dedicated to reducing problems in people’s life or making it better. Irrespective of technology startup, a foot startup or simply a mom and pop shop, whatever you are trying to build must classify under being a vitamin or a pill. Vitamins make your life better, and Pills reduces pain. Similarly, your startup idea needs to address one of the two things. Irrespective if it is B2B or B2C, your startup idea has to make someone’s life better-reducing pain or increase delight. And it’s simple; selling ice cream; Increasing delight, build enterprise technology solution; reducing pain!


  1. What is my Serviceable Addressable Market (SAM)?

SAM is your best friend who will tell you how much of the market is waiting for your product. Next question; how do you calculate SAM? Expected users in your demography X Average price of your competitor X frequency of using your product per year. SAM is always calculated in money terms, so here you can arrive at an approximate market size which will guide you to determine whether the market is big enough and good enough to become a part of. Also, you might not be a unique startup at the start. But if the SAM is big, there is a very good chance that you would end up getting a piece of the pie. And that’s good money, to begin with.


  1. Don’t rely on Surveys, rely on observations :

What people say and what people do is different. Unfortunately, a lot of entrepreneurs start by asking their target audience to fill up their surveys, get into a focused group discussion or just try to validate their startup ideas by asking their potential customers. Rather than that, invest in observing user behaviour. Majority of the time, you might observe that what people have said and what they are doing in real life is different. Remember, in surveys, people give answers to their idealistic self-perception, but buying decisions rarely match that! People may appreciate your idea but that doesn’t imply that they would be ready to buy it.


  1. Build products or services around people’s behaviour and habits :

One of the easiest ways to build a successful startup is to build products or services around people’s behaviour. Majority of the population’s habit and behavior formation is associated with the evolution our race has experienced. It is easier to identify certain behavioral traits and lifestyle routines which are common amongst a particular demography and this increases your chances of startup success. Again, the only way you can understand people’s behavior is by observation and not by asking surveys.


  1. Test your Riskiest Assumptions :

When you are thinking of building your product/ service, ask yourself what is the riskiest assumption you are having. A superior way to classify the riskiest assumption is basing it on people’s behavior and not on their opinion. The riskiest assumption is that one behavior which determines the entire success of your idea. A riskiest assumption test does not validate any feature or uniqueness of your startup idea, but in fact, is the assumption of what motivations would someone would have to buy the product. Testing your riskiest assumptions is to identify whether these motivations even exist in the first place or not. If they do, this a great validation to your startup idea!.


In conclusion, everyday new startup ideas and businesses open doors and number of them closes down. Starting or validating your business idea is not rocket science, but yet there is a fair bit of scientific approach towards it. Asking yourselves these questions might be uncomfortable, but it certainly provides a fair direction to know whether to accelerate our pull the brakes on your startup idea!



At ISME, we strive to provide the most ideal ground towards providing you startup validation. So that if you are idea is great and validated, we help you scale faster. If not we help you fail faster. Benefits of failing fast? Stay tuned!


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