14 Steps to Effectively Verify Your Ideas

There are two main things that I want to cover in this post. First, if a new business idea pops into your head, what do you do with it? 

You don’t want to just let the thought pass by, but you probably also don’t want to dive straight in and spend months of time and thousands of dollars on a risky project. Instead, there’s a middle ground that allows you to test an idea before making a commitment: the process of verification. 

Second, even if you’re already well into building your business, this approach can help you save time and money by weeding out bad ideas way before they become big problems.

12 Best Ways to Test and Validate Your Business Idea
Key Takeaways
1. Effective idea verification is crucial for success.
2. Follow a systematic process to validate your ideas.
3. Consider various methods to gather relevant data.
4. Ensure your ideas align with market demands.
5. Seek feedback from potential users and stakeholders.
6. Test your ideas through prototypes or experiments.
7. Continuously refine and adapt based on feedback.
8. Avoid confirmation bias by seeking diverse opinions.
9. Prioritize ideas that solve real pain points.
10. Look for scalability and feasibility in your ideas.
11. Analyze competition to identify gaps and opportunities.
12. Keep an open mind and be willing to iterate.
13. Involve cross-functional teams for holistic insights.
14. Measure and track the impact of your validated ideas.

1. Go To The Closest Place You Can And Talk To As Many People As Possible

The best way to verify your ideas is to talk to as many people as possible. Talk to people who are close by, and talk to people who are different from you.

The further away from your current reality someone is, the more likely they are to notice something you didn’t see or think of yet. 

The best way for an idea or concept that seems obvious in one perspective (e.g., your own) will be seen differently when seen from different perspectives (e.g., someone else’s).

Understanding what marketing research is and how to conduct it step by step is crucial for informed decision-making. Learn more about this process in our comprehensive guide on what marketing research is and how to do it step by step.

2. Find Out What They Are Doing To Solve A Problem Similar To Yours

Once you’ve identified a target audience, the next step is to find out what they are doing to solve a problem similar to yours. The best way to do this is by asking them directly. Ask questions such as:

  • What are you currently doing?
  • Are you happy with your current solution? Why or why not?
  • If there was one thing that could improve your process/product/experience, what would it be?

3. Don’t Forget The Person On The Street

Finally, don’t forget the person on the street. It may seem counterintuitive, but this is often one of your best sources. They have no reason to lie to you and are usually more honest than those who do have an incentive for lying (the people who work in your industry). 

Often times these people are also knowledgeable about what they’re talking about and can be enthusiastic about it if they are experts or enthusiasts in their field.

Navigating the process of finding and effectively using data for marketing research is essential. Discover valuable insights on how to find the data you need for marketing research and how to use it to drive informed strategies.

4. Ask Your Friends And Family What They Think

This is a great way to get honest feedback on your idea, and it can be especially helpful if you’re working on something that’s personal. 

You should be aware of the fact that friends and family are more likely to support you than strangers. If they don’t like it, they’ll probably want you to keep working on it so that they can see where it goes.

This is also a good time to gauge their interest in what you’re doing if someone takes an active interest in your project, ask them if they’d be willing to help out with some aspects of the project (e.g., editing or designing). 

If not, don’t worry they will probably still offer constructive criticism about the ideas themselves!

5. Talk To Industry Experts, Not Just Your Friends

To be clear, talking to industry experts is not the same as talking to your friends. Your friends know what they think the world looks like; they have biases based on their personal experiences and maybe even some of their own opinions. 

However, if you want to hear what’s happening in the real world (and not just in your friend’s head), experts are your best bet for finding out what it’s really like out there.

If you’re lucky enough to have more than one industry expert in your life who will offer advice on an idea you’ve been working on, don’t assume that all experts agree with each other or that they’ll offer the same level of help. 

Some people love sharing their knowledge and helping others learn more about a subject while others might keep their thoughts close to the vest because they see themselves as potential competitors down the road and don’t want their ideas stolen before they can get them out into the world.

6. Talk To People Who Don’t Agree With You

Do you know what the most important thing to do is when you have an idea? Talk about it!

Talk to people who don’t agree with you. Get a second opinion or a third. Make sure that people who might be able to help provide feedback actually read the thing and understand it before they give their opinions. 

You should always aim for honesty in your conversation after all, if there are flaws in your idea, finding them now will save time later on down the line. 

Plus, if someone else has had success doing something similar before then maybe they can offer some insight into how they solved those problems and what could have been done better in their implementation of the concept itself.

One thing I learned from working at my startup was that being open-minded can lead one down many paths it may be that through talking with others we find new ways of looking at our ideas; perhaps we learn something new about ourselves too! 

These conversations often result in enhanced understanding which ultimately strengthens our ability to execute on said plan(s).

Gaining insights into human psychology and thinking like a psychologist can elevate your marketing approach. Dive into our article on how to understand human psychology and think like a psychologist to enhance your marketing insights.

7. Talk To Your Competition And Try Their Products Or Services

You can’t fully understand a problem until you’ve seen it from the perspective of your customers. Talk to your competition and try their products or services. 

Talk to as many of them as possible, even when they don’t have what you’re looking for you never know what interesting insights might come out of those conversations!

8. Get Feedback From Mentors And Advisors About Your Business Idea

Mentors and advisors are great resources for validating your idea. They can help you find the right people to talk to about your business idea, as well as provide valuable feedback from their perspective as an investor or potential customer.

Many successful entrepreneurs have mentors who have been there before them, and are happy to share their experience and advice with others who are looking for validation in their own endeavors. 

Your mentor might also be able to connect you with other mentors who may be able to provide even more insight into the viability of your idea or direct you towards resources that will support its development; 

Either way, getting feedback from someone who has been there is a surefire way of getting started on this process!

9. Cross-Reference Everything With Data; Don’t Rely On Anecdotes Alone

Be a researcher. It’s essential to validate your ideas with data, but it’s also important that you don’t rely on anecdotes alone. 

Talk to people who have actually tried your product or service, and get feedback from third parties otherwise, you may be way off base in terms of what the market wants.

Use data to back up your claims about your idea’s viability. Use statistical data to prove your business model (for example: “Our company has $1 million in revenue per year because of this one particular program we run”).

Validate a claim about a market size (e.g., “There are 500 customers who could benefit from our product/service each month”), or just provide evidence that there is indeed demand for what you’re offering (e.g., “We’ve had 2 million page views on our website since January”).

10. Estimate Potential Profitability Using Market Research Reports

Before you can estimate the potential profitability of your ideas, it’s important to understand what market research reports are and how they can help.

Market research reports are essential tools for understanding business environments. They provide comprehensive data about a wide range of factors related to marketing, including:

  • The size of the market for your idea
  • Potential competitors and customers (including their demographics)
  • Potential suppliers

The realm of marketing research spans both online and offline methodologies. Explore the benefits and considerations of conducting marketing research through various channels in our guide on marketing research: conducting it online, offline, or both.

11. Attend Events Relevant To Your Target Customers And Pitch Your Business Idea To Them

You can meet at a coffee shop or another public venue, or do an in-person interview over Skype. If you’re trying to get feedback on an app, offer up a code for people who try it out. 

This can be especially helpful if there is a few thousand dollars’ worth of development behind the product, as it gives people something tangible to play with and provides valuable insight into how users might interact with it in real life and what could use improvement.

Another option is using online surveys that gather feedback from potential customers about their preferences (or lack thereof). For example, SurveyMonkey will allow you set up an online survey that anyone can access within minutes by clicking on a link sent via email or text message; 

Then they fill out questions about what products or services they like best and why they chose those over others (alongside other info such as gender or age). 

When someone submits their answers through these methods, they’ll see all the results aggregated together so everyone gets an idea of what most people think about certain brands/products/services.

Which in turn helps inform decisions around whether this type of venture would have mass appeal among consumers who are looking for options similar enough but distinct enough from competitors’ offerings so as not just cannibalize one anothers’ sales figures when placed side by side on store shelves next year when launch day rolls around!

12. Do Surveys Or Focus Groups About Your Product Or Service Idea In Your Target Market 

Surveys and focus groups are a powerful tool for observing consumers. They allow you to collect feedback on your idea and identify potential problems. You can use surveys/focus groups as part of your validation process or during the ideation phase. 

If you’re currently in the early stages of developing an idea, this type of research can help reveal problems that you didn’t even know existed which could lead to new ideas!

The best way to conduct this type of research is by following a structured approach:

Identify your target market (who will be using the product/service?)

Create survey questions that address all aspects related with their experience with similar products/services in order to understand what they like about them (or don’t). 

These questions should also invite users into describing how they would improve upon these existing solutions.

So it’s possible for companies like yours (that may not yet exist) who are trying something different from competitors’ offerings which gives them an edge over competition because they’ve thought outside-the-box!

13. Always Be Prepared For Constructive Criticism Since It Means Somebody Is Interested In Helping You Improve Your Idea 

Of course, you should always be prepared for constructive criticism. You should also be ready to accept it from people who are not experts in the field. 

They may have a completely different perspective on your product or service and can offer some valuable insights that you haven’t considered yet!

Finally, keep an open mind when it comes to criticism from friends and family members (or anyone else). 

While they might not know what they’re talking about sometimes they aren’t experts after all you never know when their feedback will spark another idea or help shape the final product or service in some way!

14. Be Persistent

The most effective way to verify your ideas is to be persistent. Even if you have an idea that seems great at first, there’s no guarantee it’ll work out in the long run. This is why it’s important not to avoid obstacles or give up when things get difficult.

Instead of giving up on an idea because it isn’t working out quite like you’d hoped, be willing to learn from what doesn’t work and keep trying until something sticks.

Even if this means asking for help along the way. Remember: sometimes being persistent means asking for advice or feedback!

If someone asks me how I’m doing, I’ve learned that most people are looking for either positive reinforcement (I’m fine) or negative criticism (I need help). In other words, they want me to validate their thoughts about my well-being by agreeing with them or disagreeing but still validating their opinion by acknowledging that their concern might have merit after all.

Effective audience targeting is a cornerstone of successful marketing campaigns. Discover why using SurveyMonkey Audience is a strategic choice for targeting customers over Facebook in our article on why I use SurveyMonkey Audience to target my customers instead of Facebook.


Hopefully, by following the steps above, you’ll be able to get the answers you need. Remember that validating your business idea is not about finding perfect solutions; it’s about testing assumptions and taking action on what you learn. 

The more information you can gather from people who matter most your customers the better decisions you can make before jumping in head first and spending a lot of money

Further Reading

Before You Start, Let’s Validate Your Business Idea: Gain insights into the crucial steps of validating your business idea before diving in, ensuring a stronger foundation for success.

Idea Validation: The Ultimate Guide: Dive deep into the comprehensive guide on idea validation to learn how to assess and refine your concepts effectively.

How to Validate Your App Idea and Build a Successful Solution: Discover the essential techniques for validating your app idea and transforming it into a successful solution in the competitive app market.


What is the importance of validating a business idea?

Validating a business idea is crucial to ensure that there is a genuine demand for your product or service in the market. It helps you avoid investing resources into ideas that may not resonate with customers, increasing the chances of a successful venture.

How can idea validation guide decision-making?

Idea validation provides data-backed insights into the feasibility and potential of your idea. It helps you make informed decisions, refine your concept, and tailor your strategies to better meet the needs of your target audience.

What are some common methods for validating app ideas?

Methods for validating app ideas include conducting market research, creating prototypes or MVPs (Minimum Viable Products), gathering user feedback, and analyzing competition. These approaches help assess demand and identify necessary improvements.

How does idea validation impact product development?

Idea validation streamlines product development by identifying potential pitfalls and guiding feature prioritization. It ensures that the final product aligns with user needs and preferences, leading to higher adoption rates and customer satisfaction.

Can idea validation lead to pivoting or refining an idea?

Absolutely. Idea validation might reveal insights that lead to pivoting or refining your initial idea. This adaptability allows you to cater to market dynamics and user feedback, enhancing your idea’s chances of success.

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