I usually get a lot of folks writing to me saying that they have an idea, and want to get my thoughts. I’m always happy to, but to be fair, I am not “validating” the idea – for better or worse, what is mostly happening is me giving my perspective from what I know and by seeing related ventures in that space. It is by no means a true reflection of whether the idea will succeed – Infact I start with the disclaimer that I could be totally wrong. However, if you do want true validation, here is your three step formula.
Step 1: Talk to potential customers (after you identify them)
Step 2: Build a prototype
Step 3: Take it back to them and get feedback.
I’d be able to add a lot more value to the conversation, post that stage when there is real feedback from actual customers. What follows is the talk about business models – if more such customers can be earned (acquired), and if the business can be sustainable. That is a far more realistic talk, than before that exercise and in the idea stage.