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10 Techniques to Validate your Business Idea

They will help you to develop a Viable Minimum Product that will help you to test with real clients if that crazy idea of ​​your own makes sense.

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In contexts of high uncertainty, the basis is the same as always: make mistakes early and make it cheap until you find what the market really demands. The best way to achieve this is to interact constantly with potential customers, incrementally. That is, to present samples of the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and to modify it as behaviors are measured and you receive feedback. Specialist in agile methodologies applied to entrepreneurship and the corporate sphere, Nestor Guerra presented in the first Lean Startup Asturias 10 basic tools for, in the early stages of development, prototype and develop an MVP in one day at a maximum cost of 100 euros. These are:

1.- ON PAPER

There are many digital tools but they do not necessarily invalidate traditional techniques, especially when they are quick, economical and effective. Put on paper what you want, it helps you to reflect, to clarify ideas and visualize them. Yes, do not pretend that anyone is excited about this but it is a first step for further prototypes with interaction. A blank sheet of paper, a pencil and an eraser to be corrected, are the tools that, according to Verónica Abizanda, of Torres Burriel Estudio, are needed in this process. The representation of what you want to do must be graphic, not literary.

2.-WITH 3D PRINTERS

Its acquisition price has been significantly reduced. However, to stick to the budget of the proposed 100 euros, reminds Nestor Guerra that there are entrepreneurs who offer to print for free. Another very useful option is to go to some fab lab, where they usually have 3D printers and pay for the time of use.

3.-LEGO

“A very silly technique that basically consists of playing with the client to see their behavior,” Guerra says. Advantages include the power of gamification to generate engagement and suggest metaphors, assigning each piece some function, so that you are co-creating with the client. To avoid the acquisition of the lego kit that would break our budget, Néstor recommends taking advantage of the pieces of our children or those of our friends.

4.-COSTUMER JOUNEY MAPS

Or customer experience map aimed, above all, at services and measuring the value they bring. Inherited from Design Thinking, it is about drawing a diagram on a sheet, putting the touch points on an axis or the points of contact that you have are your clients (mail, telephone, personal interview …), and at the other end the response of the people consulted that should be seanearly adopters, so that you are describing what they see with respect to the service. A tool recommended by Néstor Guerra for this phase, for the simplicity of its handling “and because it is free” is Touchpoint Dashboard.

5.-STORYBOARDS

Also known as a storyboard. It consists of making vignettes or sequenced illustrations that give an account of the whole story. To understand its usefulness, Néstor Guerra recommends the reading of the book The key is the napkin, by Dan Roam, where we talk about solving problems through drawings and, as a digital tool, “for those who have no idea of ​​drawing”, resort to Storyboard That “that works with such a simple drag logic, that you have to be very clumsy not to do it in 20 minutes”.

6.-CREATE A VIDEO

Videos allow us to learn very quickly and effectively with respect to the context of the client. The key is that the user perceives the product very closely so it is easy to take an action with respect to what you do. Also this method to be tested seems easy but to not serve as an excuse the ‘I have no idea’, War refers to the use of Powtoon or Go animate. “There are many more, but I recommend these because they are the ones I have used.”

7.-INFOGRAPHIES

It is “a very cool technique and little understood”. It basically consists in making an infogram with a schematic drawing of the service, that is, taking the information gathered to a second level. “It is a cheap simplification of the steps that must be taken so that the client perceives the value of what is in front of him”. Here, the tool for the layman is Piktochart, a solution that offers thousands of updated templates weekly to adapt the infographic to your business idea.

8.- ROLEPLAY

Group dynamics technique also known as dramatization that, transferred to the scope that concerns us, consists of testing and seeing how the service we have created works in the environments to which it is intended. For example, if you sell a coach service the best thing is not to tell it but to exercise it directly on those interested.

9.-APPLICATIONS TO PROTECT APPLICATIONS

“There are applications that allow prototyping any type of application,” says Néstor Guerra. An example Justinmind that allows to make a kind of preapp. Others could be Unbounce, to make web pages, and balsamiq, with which “anyone can design great software”, can be read on their website, or Axure, something more complex “but that allows more interaction”.

10.- MOBILE APPS / TABLET

To prototype only mobile applications, the best tool is, according to Néstor Guerra, Pop, whose handling does not require knowing codes or being an expert in anything. Applications to create prototypes of apps can be added, also, the use of Photoshop that helps to build a design as close to reality.

EXTRA TIPS

Although there has been recurrent use of the word utility, none of the tools are useful if the three approaches that Guerra considers essential before starting to work are not clarified. Are these:

1.- Identify the customer’s problem well before going to look for solutions. The interviews, although some consider them heavy, are a good guidance system and, in addition, free.

2.- Measure the things and behavior of customers as you can and, remember that they will not always “feed your ego”.

3.- Any customer is not worth it. Identify what your early adopters may be, because they are the ones who will give the alarm “to the first pragmatists” that will open you, then, the doors to the mass market.

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