Every Friday, we’re answering your questions about business, startups, customer success and more.
This week’s question comes from Steven S., who asks:
If your first instinct here is to hire a developer or an agency just to validate an idea, stop.
My advice can be condensed into four words: pick up the phone.
Before my first startup, I started my career as an assistant to my brother, a financial advisor.
Soon after that, I began to get frustrated that there was nothing out there to help us automate the customer management side of things.
Everything—followups, lead nurturing, tracking—was manual.
I thought that maybe if I was having this problem, then others might be, too.
So I put a PowerPoint deck together about the solution I envisioned—a CRM for financial advisors—and then I picked up the phone.
I called other financial advisors in my area, asking if I could have five minutes of their time.
Then I asked them about their own experiences and pains, and learned that dozens of them shared the same burning frustrations that we did.
It was then—and only then—that I decided to team up with my technical cofounder and get the product built.
It’s a process I’ve repeated for all of my startups, and the time I put in early on has paid off exponentially in building a better solution than we otherwise would have.
Without the ability to hack together a prototype, the easiest way to validate your idea is simply to go talk to your potential customers first. You’ll be amazed at how many people are happily willing to share their time and opinions with you.
I’d love to hear how others have gone about this… let us know in the comments.