How to validate problem for your hardware startup idea?
The topic for the last Hardware Massive event in Hong Kong was an important one – How to listen to your customers and validate your startup and product idea. You might think it’s a basic skill. But in reality, it’s one of the things that startups struggle with constantly. Most people prefer taking the blue pill and remaining in the matrix. And completely ignoring what the real world is telling them. Business owners and startup founders are also just people, so they make this fatal error, too.
Paradoxically, the topic attracted a crowd and people were scrambling for chairs. One reason was the quality and experience of the speakers. First was Fabien Nauroy, Head of Design at the Native Union. His team recently raised over $900,000 on Kickstarter for Eclipse. That is a great looking device which helps people keep their charging cables in order. The product itself doesn’t apply any cutting edge technology. But its human-centric design is very compelling. For those who are in the planning stages of a product launch, the development of Eclipse by the Native Union is informative and useful.
According to their experience what helped them to develop their product was “problem validation.” They made an assumption that people would be happy to solve the problem of messy charging cables at home. Then, they had to prove it. First, they were validating the problem and the desire for a solution by reaching out to real people. Second, the team jumped into testing many iterations of very basic prototypes. Not only did they need to define and solve the problem, they had to do it in a way that people loved. So, Eclipse was born. From that stage, success depends on execution, experience, and know-how: from crowdfunding to mass production.
Kickstarter is a great way to validate your market, but certainly not the only way. Jeffrey Broer, Founder of Kohpy Ventures has been in the startup world for many years. He certainly had some thoughts to share. His main point was that many founders fall in love with their idea. As a result, they fail to ask questions and listen to actual customers. Whether they like the product and would buy it is your call to ask them. He advises teams to step out of the office and conduct proper qualitative research. After all, it’s better to figure out that your product idea is not a good market fit. Then make the necessary adjustments before you expend valuable resources.
At NOA Labs we have the pleasure of hearing many exciting new product ideas on a daily basis. As a rule, ideas that are succeeding are the ones which people test, research and validate. We then help our clients to develop their ideas by giving them suggestions, feedback, advice and a step by step guide for success.
So what’s your idea? Let’s get it off the ground!