With the success of Startup Weekend, let’s discuss how to validate your product or service (henceforth product) in one weekend or less. (See disclaimer at bottom)
So you have an idea for a product that will make you rich. Now, what do you do?
- a) You invest in developing the entire product. You buy servers in case you get DUGG. You purchase phone lines and equipment. Hire a secretary. Get business cards printed with the product name on it. Brand wrap your car. Etc etc.
- b) You test the product in one weekend to see if there’s any traction at all with minimum investment of time, money and other resources.
How to test your product in one weekend:
- Write out what your product is. Describe it, how would the user interact with it. What does it do? Who’s the target audience? Etc. Writing your thoughts down will make them clearer and more concrete.
- Use the above information to create the following pages about your product: 1) general information page, 2) Preview page, 3) Order page. On the order page, take their name/contact info and say that the product is currently in “beta” and they will be contacted when it’s ready for purchasing.
- Spend $100 on AdWords to get some traffic and see the results.
- If you have friends, contact them for a review of your product/preview pages. Most of them will come back with “it’s a great product”, “wonderful, why didn’t I think of that”, and “YouTube killer”. They are saying this because they are your friends, so the next step is you ask them to pay $20 for a year of service. This will really tell you if your product has any value or not.
- “But my product is viral and it will be based on advertising so I can’t test it.” No problem. Alpha versions of Facebook and HotOrNot were built in a weekend, so build it and email all your friends, if your server crashes in a week you have a winner, if not test something else.
- “I’m not a developer and my product needs programming.” No problem. Spend $100 at Elance.com and it’ll be done for you.
There are other variables that come into play here but this should cover most of the products out there.
Disclaimer: This is for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only. Do not do this at home or anywhere else. Seek professional advice before proceeding. Ok done.