As a business owner, you need to assume things about your business whether it is a product or service. Sometimes they are about new features your customers want, sometimes it is about finding the reasons for customer churn and sometimes it is about marketing.
One good piece of advice I got from a wise person once was to make more good decisions than bad decisions. This made so much sense to me. It encourages me to not shy away from making decisions. It normalizes the fact that some of the decisions will be wrong.
Recently, I was part of a conference and the speaker talked about how to validate your assumptions. I am going to share that model with you for your benefit.
How to Validate Assumptions?
To validate assumptions you need to verify three things with your customers. This can be done when you talk to them or you can send them a survey as well.
- Find out if they have an unmet need
- What does this stop them from doing
- Have they tried to solve the problem already
Finding the Unmet Need
The first point here is to make sure that they agree that they themselves need what you are assuming they need. For instance, at RecurPost, we wanted to create a Facebook post scheduler that allowed people to share on Facebook pages, Facebook groups and even Facebook profiles.
There are many schedulers in the market, but none of them offered posting on personal Facebook profiles. The question was do people need it. We put a question on our website and asked people if they wanted it. Almost everyone who replied wanted that feature.
This is where you need to do a Mom test. The Mom test asks you questions that even your Mom will answer without bias. If you ask your Mom about an idea you have for business she will confirm that it is a great idea. But if you ask her to tell you one advantage and one risk in that idea, she will be very specific about her answer.
What is the Effect of this Unmet Need
This is where you find out if there is anything that stops them from achieving it. They should be able to articulate the reasons behind it.
For instance, in our example above we knew there was an unmet need. But may be people said they wanted that feature because it is always good to have more features in a product that they are paying for anyways. So we asked them a second question. We asked them what are they missing on without this feature.
We got about 20% of the original responses. The rest 80% did not know why did they want that feature. Some of the people said “It is always nice.”. Well, yes it is nice but it is not a good reason for us to build it. Some people said that their friends would likely help them spread the word faster and hence sharing on their personal Facebook profile will help them with marketing.
That was kind of a unanimous positive response and we knew this was needed. When we build features that they want, it helps us build brand awareness as people spread the word to their network.
What Has Been Tried to Meet this Need
An equally important question is to find out if they really need this. If they really need this, they must have tried to find a solution.
In our example, people had tried to post manually but they often forgot to do that and hence the consistency was missing. Some people had looked at other Facebook post schedulers but they did not support that.
Since people had invested time in finding a solution this actually is a solid unmet need and we decided to build this feature in RecurPost.
The above questions should give you a solid framework to define whether the next feature you are trying to build are worth it or not. Let me know if you have a question on this or need any further clarification on this.