It is often said that entrepreneurs trust their gut feelings more than statistical data. But with so much written about business idea validation, I am rather curious to learn whether entrepreneurs actually go through these heaps of information or do they simply take a plunge.
I thought of feeding my curiosity by asking few startup founders what they did before initiating their startup. Here are some of their responses which are a fair combination of both the strategies. For some, idea validation was imperative because they were dealing with products which means it involved manufacturing & set-up cost, while for the others it was a mere thought backed by their gut feelings.
Let’s hear it directly from the startup founders.
Anamika Joshi, Founder, Utpatang, The Startup Store, said, “Utpatang was more about the concept than the products at its initial stage. We wanted to know whether we as a concept were required or not.
Related Article: When is the Right Time to let go of The Lean Startup
The first form of validation came when we displayed our products at a startup co-working space during an event that got us response from real users instead of from random friends. The need was registered but we were still unsure of the validation part as we needed to know whether people would actually invest in the product once it was out there.
We realized that a week more of delay in validating and launching Utpatang could be disastrous. And so during a fifteen minute high-voltage meeting, we as a team decided to launch a pre-order site open to our customers. No matter how simple it sounds, it was way too risky and challenging to execute. But we knew that it would get us some real responses, good or bad, but definitely for the better. Now we had real customers browsing a real website that helped them in being more open in terms of feedback. And ‘orders’ were the most genuine form of validation one could ever get. We had zero inventory during the launch period which we stocked up during the pre-order time based on the response that we got which also helped us refine our product line to a great extent.
Sachin Agarwal, Founder, ePoise, stated, “We validated the idea for ePoise by prototyping. Before we started to build ePoise as a video interviewing tool, we looked at existing means available to simulate the end product as closely as possible and show this to potential customers (companies). We found a company where the COO was known to us, and got access to their hiring team. Roped in the hiring team to help us with a list of their shortlisted candidates and inform the candidates that ePoise team will conduct the first round interview. Post this we used Google hangout to record video interviews that we conducted with each of these candidates and shared the video recordings of candidates as a sample output with the hiring team. This was the closest to providing asynchronous video interviews of candidates to companies.”
Whereas B Mohan, Founder, iAccept.in, shared, “Actually in our case, organizations clearly expressed a need and mentioned that there was no solution for their problem of unpredictability in case of new candidates, who may or not join after the offer was made.
So we thought of configuring a solution by taking into consideration the privacy & constitutional rights of all stakeholders. Then we applied for a patent for this intelligent engine to ensure a centralized routing. And in our case there wasn’t an actual need for data validation as we were working on the needs of the organization and find a solution for them which never existed in the market already.
Talking about my journey of my startup CrispTalks, I will say that it was my gut feeling that was backed up by positive responses that I received from my startup clients while working as a Branding & Marketing Consultant. The clients loved the animated videos (created using DIY tools) and so did their target audience. I thought if 5 startups love it then there are bright chances that it can be loved & liked by other startups too.
Well, entrepreneurship is all about risks but is there anything such as ‘calculated risk’? Have you tested your startup idea or believed in your gut feelings? Reply in comments.