How to Validate a Product Idea

If you have an idea for a product, then the most important thing that you can do before going any further is to validate that product idea.

What do we mean by validate the idea? Well, there are many ideas that “seem” like good ideas in the mind, but when worked out on paper they simply don’t work. This can be for any number of reasons, such a complexity, cost, manufacturing or technological constraints. Before you even think about getting in touch with a manufacturer, setting up a website or starting on branding, it’s imperative that you understand the idea can work and has a viable commercial standing. This is what’s called validating your idea.

This article is taken from our complete guide “Idea to Product – The Guide to Getting Your Idea to Market”. It’s our free 5500 word in-depth guide to taking that spark of an idea and making it market ready and a viable business. If you’re interested in making your idea a reality, click here to download our free guide.

There are 3 parts to researching your product idea:

  • Idea Validation
    Does the idea work? Does today’s technology sustain it?
  • Market Research
    Is it something that people want? Are there enough people who want it? Is there anything else like it on the market?
  • Cost Validation
    Can it be manufactured at a cost which the market will bear? Is there enough profit margin to support the overarching company?

Each of these aspects are closely linked and the research into each will highly affect the other. In this section, we’ll focus closely on validating the idea – ensuring that the idea works and is overall possible as a commercial product. However, we go through each part of validation and research in our complete guide.

Initial prototyping

Initial prototyping is the first part on this journey. It’s the part where you work out whether your idea has merit and whether it might work. In our complete guide, we use the example of a new kind of coffee press. We have the idea for a brand new style of coffee brewing which uses a shaking action, like a cocktail, rather than a French press style.

This idea requires validation in a number of different ways:

Your idea may not need this (although it’s best not to assume so) but a key consideration should always be safety. Is it safe to shake hot coffee in a sealed container? How does it react? Is it safe? Does it spray coffee and grounds all over the place when opening? There’s very little point in continuing with a product idea which is not safe. Product validation should begin with ensuring that the product is safe and practical for everyday use.

Next, the idea needs to be validated that it works. The previous test ensured that it was safe (which is the most important thing to work out) but it hasn’t validated that the idea works. We can take the test we did to see if it was safe, and now check whether the product works or not..

This comes down to your goals for the product. You need to know exactly what you want from your product before you can test whether it works or not. Not only does this research help you work out whether you’ve got a worthwhile product on your hands, it also helps you work out how to market it in future. If the coffee comes out bland and flavourless, you might have to take it back to the drawing board.

Tip: Remember to conduct a control experiment. Use a product that’s already on the market and test how your new product compares. This will help you understand whether your product is valid or not.

If you run into roadblocks here whilst going through the initial prototype don’t be disheartened. This is where you find out what you need to do in order to get your idea working. This research then feeds into market analysis and cost analysis. For example, if the solution to the pressure build-up in our coffee shaker requires some new-fangled technology or space-age material, we would next do a market and cost analysis to work out whether the newly increased cost of manufacture is affordable in today’s market place.

For a complete guide on Market analysis and Cost analysis, take a look at our complete guide “From Idea to Product – The Guide to Getting your Product to Market”.

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