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Is My Idea Great Business Idea or a Great Startup Idea?

So you think you have a great business idea or a great startup idea, I am going to tell it to you straight.  Most startups fail, it doesn’t matter the industry.  The secret is, it doesn’t have to be this way.  We are use to thinking that startups are failing because they are doing crazy or difficulty or risky things.  However, if you have the courage to follow the Lean Startup method you’ll discover a better way to build a company.  To put it simply the Lean Startup process helps you answer the following questions.  What do customer really want?  How do I build a sustainable business?  And Finally, how can I waste less time building a startup?

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Do I Have a Great Business Idea or Great Startup Idea?

Do you believe you have the next great business idea?  Read Why Your Business Idea is Worthless, and find out why having a great startup idea is only 1% of the journey.  By now your asking, “Ok, how can I tell if I have a great startup idea?”.  The answer, by following the lean validation process.  By following the Idea Validation process taught in the Idea Validation Workshop, you can be confident that your idea is a winner and worth pursuing.



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Idea Validation

Four distinct stages make up the Lean Validation Process. Only once you’ve passed all 4 can you be confident that your product idea is worth developing.

  1. Validating the problem. Is this a problem worth solving? If users don’t think this is a major problem, your solution won’t be appealing.
  2. Validating the market. Some users might agree that this is a problem worth solving. But are there enough of them to make up a market for your product?
  3. Validating the product. The problem might exist, but does your product actually solve it?
  4. Validating willingness to pay. There might be market demand and a great product. But will people actually be willing to reach into their wallets and pay for it?


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Validate the problem

In order to validate the problem you have to find people would be willing to pay you to solve the problem.  There are many ways to do this and will have to adapt depending on your idea and market.  By sitting down with people and interviewing them, you will likely learn a lot about both your problem and your users. The focus here is to understand the motivations and needs of each potential user you talk to and to use that feedback to improve the product. Surveys, User interviews, ethnography research, or just getting out and finding enough people who say they would pay for your product.


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Validate the Market

Some users might agree that this is a problem worth solving. But are there enough of them to make up a market for your product?  Doing deep competitor research, using tools like google trends, google adwords, and ubersuggest to give you data on search volumes and trends in the market.  These are some simple ways to validate the size of your market.

Validate the product

In order to validate the product you need to build a prototype and show it to users.  Get the to test it.  Get their feedback.  Iterate, test, implement feedback, and repeat.

Validate Willingness to Pay

Finally you need to validate willingness to pay. Possibly the most important part of determining if you have a great business idea.  Getting letters of Intent, building a validation site, or starting a concierge service are all ways to test willingness to pay.


When you have validated all 4 you know you have a great business idea or a great startup idea.

Want to do a deep dive on the lean idea validation process take the Idea Validation Workshop with The Startup Coach


As The Startup Coach, I infuse idea validation into everything I teach startups.  Validated learning is a unit of progress and the main value a startup can create.  The series of lean startup workshops designed by Toronto’s Entrepreneur Mentor The Startup Coach to help entrepreneurs take their idea and turn into a sustainable business.  Workshops include Lean Startup Idea Validation Workshop, Lean Startup Business Model Canvas workshopLean Startup Marketing & PR Workshop, and Startup Law Workshop.

TorontoStarts also offers Crash Courses which are 3-hour classes.  These include Lean Startup SEO Crash CourseLean Startup Growth Hacking Crash Course, and Lean Startup Social Media Crash Course

Book a One on One Session with The Startup Coach


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