I'm at the very beginning and I don't know how to validate an idea in practice
1. Speak to people
Identify some target audience that may like your idea and ask them if they like it, do they have a need for it, would they pay for it?
2. Try it
Take the idea and in it's simplest form use it on the above people who said they would use it, get feedback, iterate, get someone to pay for it.
3. Build an MVP of the idea
Make the simplest version of the idea that paying customers in the above would pay for, build and charge, if if one person will pay, it's a pretty good start.
4. Improve the idea, reach more people in segments 1,2 and offer idea for payment.
5. Iterate it.
An example would be I have an idea for an app that delivers take away food to your door so you don't have to go out and get it.
1. Ask your friends if you can fetch their take away and deliver (may be you use a what's app to test it)
2. If enough people like and pay at the point, it gets over-whelming, build a small application to help, or use some sort of existing system.
3. Improve the idea, reach more people, iterate.
How not to do it.
1. Kid yourself you need the app.
2. Waste your time or money making the app.
3. Pretend your idea will fail if the button on the app is not in the right place, or is the wrong color.
4. Be to afraid just to ask someone over the phone, in the street at university if they will pay you to manually do the task the idea does.
5. Buy 10 variants of domain name based on your idea.
6. Contact an IP attorney.
7. Kid yourself your idea is so great once you get it made someone will give you $$$ to hire sales people, marketing people and all of the problems of finding paying customers will be solved.
We all hate the truth.
(I have no idea what your idea is, I would guess its such a great idea you are afraid I am going to steel it, I would also imagine you can't validate it in my steps 1,2,3 in fear someone in those validation steps will steel it -- If this is the case failure is not far off.)
The truth is:
1. Ideas are worthless.
2. Every idea has been thought of by someone else.
3. Every body has an idea.
4. The winners are not those with ideas but those that know how to take those idea's and make it into something more than just an idea - A business.
Examples of ideas that we have all had...
1. A coffee shop (Star bucks were not the first but cleaned up)
2. Uber (Its a bloody taxi service --- really?)
3. Facebook (It was a profile page with a name, picture and relationship status)
Each of the above excelled not in ideas, but in implementation and there very clever spin on how to reach an audience.
What aspect are you looking to validate?
If it is a core idea itself, then a landing page with ability to signup is enough. It's easy enough to create one. Here is one I created: https://friendsofdiy.com/
This was done using godaddy's publishing tool. Ofcourse this requires promotion and marketing to push the page itself.
If you are looking for customer feedback on their pain-points related to you idea, then simple customer interviews will do. You can use platform like dscout or userzoom to recruit and interview people. The format of the interview should be very conversational. Start with a broad set of questions related to their needs. For example, in case of banking products I would start with how they manage money related questions.
If you are looking to validate the design of he product, then you do need a prototype and you can again use Usezoom like tool.
Hope this helps.
You can go to our website (FinishLinePDS) and we have a white paper on conducting Market Validation.
This will take about 6 hours.
1. Find 10+ potential customers
2. Interview to find out if they have the pain you're solving.
3. How do they solve it now?
4. What's it worth to them?