Ideation to Validation is one of the most important key steps any startup business should take.
When you first start to think about bringing any idea to life, it is important to consider if the concept is actually worth creating and pursuing.
When I first thought about the idea of creating Placemade, I knew we had to figure out if our concept would even really fly.
To try and prove this, I considered the following three questions:
- What was the quickest approach to prove this?
- How could we prove this using little to no resources (e.g. money)?
- What would a successful proof of concept look like?
I had to think strategically about how I could answer these questions. After all, the whole concept of Placemade required space, an actual brick and mortar location, and that would need a lot of capital upfront.
The quickest way to prove this idea?
To start the process, I began interviewing our target clients right away – individuals in the health and fitness industry between the ages of 30-45, living in Toronto. I reached out to my network, and theirs, and asked them to share the highs and lows they felt in the industry as independent contractors. Doing this saved me a lot of time as I was able to pick up on the common challenges they had experienced. To no surprise, it was the same problems I felt in the industry. And Placemade could help solve this problem! This was my AHA (insert lightbulb) moment… my Eureka… my BOOM moment!! – we have a great concept, and people need this!
How can we do this, expending very little resources?
I knew I was onto something, so I began developing the branding for what Placemade would stand for – a central shared-space community for professionals alike. I came up with the name, logo and feel of the brand in a few weeks and quickly hit the ground running. I continued interviewing more health and fitness professionals with Placemade.
What does a successful proof of concept look like?
To gain more traction, I figured I’d start building a community around the concept of Placemade. This didn’t require a physical space – by partnering with brands of similar values, we created this community. If we did this right, I knew it would start to build our brand awareness and reach more of our target customers. By doing this, we could connect with more health and fitness professionals in a shorter amount of time and ask them directly one of our key questions – “If a concept like Placemade were to exist today, would you pay for a space like this?” Seventy percent of them said yes, proving to be a successful proof of concept to continue building the idea.
Minimize Your Risk
Approaching it this way will allow you to discover if your idea is viable, with minimal risk. After all, not much capital has been put into it. The last thing you want to do is invest your time, energy and money in a concept or an idea that the marketplace does not want or need. This is why proof of concept is so important before committing to building any startup.