Imagine building and launching a product based solely on your gut feeling. You have talked to no one about it, you haven’t validated your idea, haven’t taken customer feedback, haven’t conducted any research…
Somehow, you knew your product would work. So, you launched it.
Not just that, imagine that within weeks of your product launch, it went viral: tons of new users started using your product and its popularity soared, its name spread like wildfire.
Wouldn’t that be perfect?
And it’s not a fairy tale, you know. This stuff happens.
Take Whatsapp or Facebook, for example. Millions of people wanted to be on board within minutes of knowing about them.
But they are exceptions. Not every product enjoys such instant success. Not every product owner becomes this successful.
On the bright side, your product need not go ‘viral’ for it to be a success. It could take the slow and steady path to success too. And there’s a method to that.
There are three stages your product must go through to ensure this success. What are they? Well, read on…
Stage 1: The Big Idea
Let’s say you have an incredible idea for a product. The first thing that needs to be done is develop a presentation explaining your idea. It can contain some UI aspects, and some text aspects outlining the benefits. The goal here is to spread awareness of your idea: to make sure people are aware that there is a possibility like this, and you are aware of their thoughts about your product or solution.
An excellent example for this stage is the famous story of how SABRE (Semi-automated Business Research Environment), a computer reservation system that automated the way American Airlines booked reservations, came into being.
In the 1950s, American Airlines was facing a serious challenge in its ability to quickly handle huge volumes of airline reservations. Before the introduction of SABRE, the airline’s system for booking flights was entirely manual.
An IBM salesman had some idea on how to solve the problem (what would later become SABRE).
He got a chance to present his idea to the president of American Airlines, who happened to be on the seat beside him on a flight. The rest, as the cliche goes, is history.
SABRE revolutionized the way airline reservations are made.
Stage 2: Behold the demo!
The second stage involves making a demo of your product, something that people can actually see. Your demo has some functionalities that they can try out, something that is tangible. A lot of people find it tough to imagine a product based on your words. Give them a demo product and all of a sudden, they start to understand your idea. They start to see it as something that can work. They also get a taste of how your product can simplify their lives and they see the bigger picture you had about your product all along.
A good example is how many apps launch a beta version for people to try out. Users get to try a near-complete product to use, try and play with for a considerable amount of time. Post that, they provide valuable feedback about the product to the business owner, so he or she can tweak the product and its features to accommodate features that the users liked or suggested and trim the fat based on what the users did not find handy or useful.
Another example is how Mailchimp grew their business. Mailchimp initially focussed only on UI design, when some people approached them for help with aesthetic looking emails. Mailchimp saw the opportunity and hit the ball out of the park.
Stage 3: Hitting Gold
The third stage of validating your product is making sure people find it useful enough to pay for it. It could be a nominal price initially, which you can increase with time, but what’s important is that there’s a transaction.
There are many examples of this out there. You must have come across several products that let you try a free demo with limited features but asks you to pay if you want additional features or the complete package.
No matter how good an idea you think you have, it is best to follow these three logical steps of validation before deep-diving into finalizing your product. The steps outline the quickest, safest and the most logical path to ensure that your product is a success.
Are there more ways of validating your product? Write to us, we’d love to know your thoughts.