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HOT TOPIC How many customers to validate your idea?

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If you are in a market where well over 50,000,000 people globally are using those services, how many people should you have saying that they like your idea before executing the actual product? From customers that I've interviewed they seem willing to move to another platform and they like my idea, so I've validated my hypothesis to about 10 people so far I believe.

I have done market segmentation so I am at the start not targetting people in every country, but just one or two for now and that ends up being in just that one country over 5m people.
 

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I don't think you need to base it on the number of potential users but just a meaningful sized dataset.

If you can economically survey a hundred people in your target market then that is certainly credible. 50? Possibly. But obviously the more the better.

Be careful of those that say they will switch platforms because it usual is only a small percentage who actually will unless there is very strong grounds for making the move.

People tend to stick with what they have got until they are forced to make a move. Especially to a new competitor with little to no track record. Price is not a strong factor either. People could save large chunks of money switching their mortgage, changing banks, switching their services providers etc. but most don't as they don't want the hassle.
 
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I don't think you need to base it on the number of potential users but just a meaningful sized dataset.

If you can economically survey a hundred people in your target market then that is certainly credible. 50? Possibly. But obviously the more the better.

Be careful of those that say they will switch platforms because it usual is only a small percentage who actually will unless there is very strong grounds for making the move.

People tend to stick with what they have got until they are forced to make a move. Especially to an new competitor with little to no track record. Price is not a strong factor either. People could save large chunks of money switching their mortgage, changing banks, switching their services providers etc. but most don't as they don't want the hassle.
That's actually a good point. But my target audience have said they would switch services. So don't know if this is validation. With the example you provided it's more complex, mine is simply just signing up to the website and getting started.

Is there any questions you recommend I add into the survey?
 

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One?

(A customer is someone who’s bought from you.)
 

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Is there any questions you recommend I add into the survey?
You would need to brainstorm with someone who knows what your product is.

You could always get them to sign up in advance before launch. Do they have to part with any money? If so is it a one off fee or monthly (i.e. SAAS format).
 

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Ah, you will have to stop rattling @Andy Black cage by calling a prospect a customer. :rofl:
 

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I’m going to have to create a thread soon.

For the record, here’s my definitions:

A prospect is someone who may or may not be interested in your offer.

A lead is someone who *is* interested in your offer.

A buyer is someone who’s bought from you, once.

A customer is someone with a custom of buying from you (aka a repeat buyer).

I call a customer a client if I’m providing a service.

None of them are clicks or traffic.
 
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Andy Black

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None, I don't think I can help them yet. I need to do my market research first. I know you push the providing value thing alot and its fair enough but I'm thinking are you taking it too literally lol?
Have you listened to that call?
 

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Andy Black

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I need to do my market research first.
You *need* to do market research first?

Depends what you mean by market research.

By surveying people?

Or by finding people who desperately need help, convincing some to allow you to help them, helping them, and then figuring out how to get paid?

Do you want to do this as an academic exercise, or by helping people and hen getting paid?
 
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You *need* to do market research first?

Depends what you mean by market research.

By surveying people?

Or by finding people who desperately need help, convincing some to allow you to help them, helping them, and then figuring out how to get paid?

Do you want to do this as an academic exercise, or by helping people and hen getting paid?
Whatever works but as far as I'm aware for building a startup this is the process. Correct me if I'm wrong it seems to me you did something that worked in your context and you assume it will work in every context. I don't think it will work in every context. I don't blame you considering I didn't give information on what the potential business is, but still.

And YES market research is an absolute must. It's the way to see if there is any demand for your product. 1# reasons businesses fail is because of no market need. I don't plan to fall into that category. To me it sounds like a common sense thing to do and any business person I think would tell you that market research is a must.

Surveying is one form of my primary research that I'm doing. It's the ONLY way I can verify to see if my assumptions are correct.
 

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Whatever works but as far as I'm aware for building a startup this is the process. Correct me if I'm wrong it seems to me you did something that worked in your context and you assume it will work in every context. I don't think it will work in every context. I don't blame you considering I didn't give information on what the potential business is, but still.

And YES market research is an absolute must. It's the way to see if there is any demand for your product. 1# reasons businesses fail is because of no market need. I don't plan to fall into that category. To me it sounds like a common sense thing to do and any business person I think would tell you that market research is a must.

Surveying is one form of my primary research that I'm doing. It's the ONLY way I can verify to see if my assumptions are correct.
Yes, it’s based on my experience...

Of starting and running my own business.

Of working in two highly funded tech startups that failed.

Of working with many many small businesses that build stuff instead of engage the market and help people.



It’s also based on my experience of PMing over 2,000 forum members and having hundreds of Facebook messages with people.


Anyway.

My definition of marketing:
  1. Find out what people want.
  2. Find out how to help them.
  3. Find out if you can make a profit.
  4. Do it.

My argument is that you may as well do it by engaging the market in the trenches by looking for people to help, helping them, and figuring out how to make a profit.

That way, by the time you get to step 4, you’ve already done it, or failed fast, pivoted, or whatever the lean startup books say you should do next.


You say “building a startup”. That’s my red flag. I worked in a startup “building a social network”. Ffs...

Yes. It’s my own experience. Enough to write a whole thread:


Do I think it’s the only way?

No. If you’ve experience starting up and running businesses already, then I think you have your own strategies that work.

If you haven’t, then this is a strategy that can help you avoid all the pitfalls out there, the ones that want you to study, consume, take courses, etc.

Ask yourself: “Who can I help this week?”
 

Andy Black

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I live by the three quotes in my signature.

When I get stuck or lost I ask myself: “Does this help my customers?”
 

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Validating an idea can only be done once someone gives you cash.

Anything less than that, is Bull Sh*t in my book.

Bull Sh*t doesn't pay bills. It for sure doesn't validate anything.
 
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Yes, it’s based on my experience...

Of starting and running my own business.

Of working in two highly funded tech startups that failed.

Of working with many many small businesses that build stuff instead of engage the market and help people.



It’s also based on my experience of PMing over 2,000 forum members and having hundreds of Facebook messages with people.


Anyway.

My definition of marketing:
  1. Find out what people want.
  2. Find out how to help them.
  3. Find out if you can make a profit.
  4. Do it.

My argument is that you may as well do it by engaging the market in the trenches by looking for people to help, helping them, and figuring out how to make a profit.

That way, by the time you get to step 4, you’ve already done it, or failed fast, pivoted, or whatever the lean startup books say you should do next.


You say “building a startup”. That’s my red flag. I worked in a startup “building a social network”. Ffs...

Yes. It’s my own experience. Enough to write a whole thread:


Do I think it’s the only way?

No. If you’ve experience starting up and running businesses already, then I think you have your own strategies that work.

If you haven’t, then this is a strategy that can help you avoid all the pitfalls out there, the ones that want you to study, consume, take courses, etc.

Ask yourself: “Who can I help this week?”
Is it just a mindset thing everything that you're trying to tell me?

Like this "You say “building a startup”. That’s my red flag. I worked in a startup “building a social network”. Ffs..."

Are you trying to say the goal isn't to "build a startup", but to help people instead? Don't get me wrong, my motive going into my current idea was to solve a problem and provide value.

Because I am trying to apply your "help someone", line of thinking and I just can't see how it fits in the current context of market research. It just makes no sense to me.

Let's pretend Hypothetically I wanted to build a better version of these sites

* Ebay
* Facebook
* Upwork
* Netflix

Could you please provide examples for each of these, helping someone in the stage of market research?
 
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Validating an idea can only be done once someone gives you cash.

Anything less than that, is Bull Sh*t in my book.

Bull Sh*t doesn't pay bills. It for sure doesn't validate anything.
That makes sense, it definently proves at least in my eyes that there is a market for it. I remember reading in a book and it said "The real test is when you ask them to take their wallet out".
 

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Let's pretend Hypothetically I wanted to build a better version of these sites

* Ebay
* Facebook
* Upwork
* Netflix

Could you please provide examples for each of these, helping someone in the stage of market research?
Why would you want to build a better version of Upwork?

Because there’s money to be made?

Or because you can see a better way of helping people who want to sell their skills and people who want to hire those skills?



If you can see a better way of helping someone with skills get found by someone who wants to hire them, then go do it.

Get one person with skills hooked up with one person who wants those skills.

Keep doing it.

Start getting paid.

Keep doing it.

Start evolving repeatable processes, and tools.

Before you know it you might have a wee platform.


Go listen to this:

Have you read this:
 
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Why would you want to build a better version of Upwork?

Because there’s money to be made?

Or because you can see a better way of helping people who want to sell their skills and people who want to hire those skills?



If you can see a better way of helping someone with skills get found by someone who wants to hire them, then go do it.

Get one person with skills hooked up with one person who wants those skills.

Keep doing it.

Start getting paid.

Keep doing it.

Start evolving repeatable processes, and tools.

Before you know it you might have a wee platform.


Go listen to this:

Have you read this:
Like I said before , on why I would want to build a better version of something. Because there are problems that customers are having using other services, and I want to fix them. Yes I did read the stop building stuff thread.
 

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Andy Black

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Like I said before , on why I would want to build a better version of something. Because there are problems that customers are having using other services, and I want to fix them. Yes I did read the stop building stuff thread.
Focus on the people you’re helping, rather than HOW you want to help them.

I’m pretty sure you can help them without building a better Upwork. Would you spot that if you didn’t engage them first? Would you spot that if you were focused on building the next Upwork?

Also, if you can’t find people to help, and you can’t get them to pay you, then maybe you should pick something where you can?

And finally... even if Microsoft announced they were going to build a better version of Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, or Upwork ... I don’t think many would bet on it.

Look at the Mother Theresa quote in my signature. Help one person at a time and the rest will take care of itself.
 
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Focus on the people you’re helping, rather than HOW you want to help them.

I’m pretty sure you can help them without building a better Upwork. Would you spot that if you didn’t engage them first? Would you spot that if you were focused on building the next Upwork?

Also, if you can’t find people to help, and you can’t get them to pay you, then maybe you should pick something where you can?

And finally... even if Microsoft announced they were going to build a better version of Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, or Upwork ... I don’t think many would bet on it.

Look at the Mother Theresa quote in my signature. Help one person at a time and the rest will take care of itself.
I see what you are trying to say but to me just it makes makes no sense to me given the current context. From what I understand, you are saying, "stop focusing on making a better product and help them with their problem". If this is the case then I am already helping me them by going to create a product that eliminates their frustrations/issues.

Or you are trying to say help them with their individual problem? If this is the case then it seems to me completely random and unfocused and irrelevant to the idea.

Yes entrepreneurship is about helping people / providing value but that's usually done by improving an idea or "building" something that fixes their problem. Am I missing something.
 

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I see what you are trying to say but to me just it makes makes no sense to me given the current context. From what I understand, you are saying, "stop focusing on making a better product and help them with their problem". If this is the case then I am already helping me them by going to create a product that eliminates their frustrations/issues.

Or you are trying to say help them with their individual problem? If this is the case then it seems to me completely random and unfocused and irrelevant to the idea.

Yes entrepreneurship is about helping people / providing value but that's usually done by improving an idea or "building" something that fixes their problem. Am I missing something.
How many people have you helped so far?
 

Andy Black

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If you are in a market where well over 50,000,000 people globally are using those services, how many people should you have saying that they like your idea before executing the actual product? From customers that I've interviewed they seem willing to move to another platform and they like my idea, so I've validated my hypothesis to about 10 people so far I believe.
I'm curious.

Can you provide a service to the people using the current platform and help them overcome whatever is frustrating them?

Can you get paid to do it?
 
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I'm curious.

Can you provide a service to the people using the current platform and help them overcome whatever is frustrating them?

Can you get paid to do it?
In that way of thinking. The answer is no. the fustrations they are having REQUIRES me to build a platform. there really is no other way. Lets say better custoer service is what i want to provide and they want it. I cant just message my competitors support and be like "Hey! Your customer service sucks, improve it!".id have to make my own platform with my own customer service
 

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As @Andy Black said, one.

1,000,000 people can say that they'll buy something, and then you put the credit card form in front of them and they close the tab.

But if one person hands you $, then you know you can probably get a 2nd person.

Unless you got the 1 person in the world out of 8,000,000,000 that wanted your product. Or unless it's your mom. Family doesn't mean shit either. They will buy things just to save your ego (pyramid schemes of essential oils, etc.).

I notice that you've become frustrated with the way Andy speaks and because he's not giving you some golden ticket... you have to read between the lines.

A lot of Andy's posts are about mindset because that's really the foundation to success... if you truly want to help people then you'll find a way to make it happen.

You say you have to build a platform to solve a specific need within a pre-existing platform. What does that mean?

That's like saying you can't sell washing machine repair without owning a laundromat.

If you have a solution, and you can provide value... then prove it and make someone pay for it

Stop looking for ways to overcomplicate

You should probably be more specific and fill us in on what you're planning to build so you can get more relevant and constructive criticism - you've been writing in hieroglyphics for about 1.5 month now...

No one's gonna steal the idea - half the forum members working on our own shit and the other half are too lazy/unconfident to take the required action to steal your idea

You could write a step by step roadmap and they'll find some excuse
 
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As @Andy Black said, one.

1,000,000 people can say that they'll buy something, and then you put the credit card form in front of them and they close the tab.

But if one person hands you $, then you know you can probably get a 2nd person.

Unless you got the 1 person in the world out of 8,000,000,000 that wanted your product. Or unless it's your mom. Family doesn't mean sh*t either. They will buy things just to save your ego (pyramid schemes of essential oils, etc.).

I notice that you've become frustrated with the way Andy speaks and because he's not giving you some golden ticket... you have to read between the lines.

A lot of Andy's posts are about mindset because that's really the foundation to success... if you truly want to help people then you'll find a way to make it happen.

You say you have to build a platform to solve a specific need within a pre-existing platform. What does that mean?

That's like saying you can't sell washing machine repair without owning a laundromat.

If you have a solution, and you can provide value... then prove it and make someone pay for it

Stop looking for ways to overcomplicate

You should probably be more specific and fill us in on what you're planning to build so you can get more relevant and constructive criticism - you've been writing in hieroglyphics for about 1.5 month now...

No one's gonna steal the idea - half the forum members working on our own sh*t and the other half are too lazy/unconfident to take the required action to steal your idea

You could write a step by step roadmap and they'll find some excuse
Lol, I wasn't frustrated because Andy didn't give me a golden ticket. I was frustrated because because it his approach just makes no sense in my opinion. I didn't disagree with him, in fact I agreed about helping people part. But it annoyed me that he completely disregarded the market research part, which just makes no sense to me.

If I was to follow his advice very strictly I would take out the money that it takes to build the platform and just start marketing to get people to sign up. Though this approach seems like the biggest mistake to me because even if I provide value they might not even want it.

Not sure what you mean by this "you've been writing in hieroglyphics for about 1.5 month now."
 

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Lol, I wasn't frustrated because Andy didn't give me a golden ticket. I was frustrated because because it his approach just makes no sense in my opinion. I didn't disagree with him, in fact I agreed about helping people part. But it annoyed me that he completely disregarded the market research part, which just makes no sense to me.

If I was to follow his advice very strictly I would take out the money that it takes to build the platform and just start marketing to get people to sign up. Though this approach seems like the biggest mistake to me because even if I provide value they might not even want it.
I'm not ignoring market research. I suggesting that the market research happens when you go out there and engage the market.

Here's two ways I do "real-time" market research:
  1. How to get profitable or fail fast with AdWords
  2. How to use forums (and Facebook groups)

I'm also not suggesting getting people to signup to anything where they don't get any value. The only signups I get are to the free trial of a paid course.


Anyway...

Maybe these podcasts might help you:
 

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