Validating a Startup Idea

Continuing with yesterday’s post Make a List of Startup Ideas, the next logical step is taking an idea that resonates and validating it in the market. The key is validating it with a potential customer, not someone who’s opinion you value. Of course, this is hard because the default human instinct is to go to the most successful entrepreneur or person you know and ask them their thoughts. Most friends and acquaintances want to be supportive and will say it sounds like a good idea — fight going this route.

Here are a few ways to validate a startup idea:

  • Go ask 10 friends for referrals to people or companies that might be a good prospect
  • Search LinkedIn for 100 potential customers and send them InMail Messages (a higher response rate shows a higher need)
  • Cold call 100 people and pitch them on the idea
  • Put up a landing page and buy Google AdWords to drive leads to talk to potential prospects
  • Pick the top three potential partners for this new company and reach out to the appropriate people there to assess interest

Be resourceful. Figure out if there’s a real opportunity here. Work hard to validate the idea. Finally, remember that nothing happens until something is sold.

What else? What are some more ways to validate a startup idea?

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