How to validate your product idea

Richard was one of our first students at AppInstruct.  This continues a series of monthly posts from him, plotting his team’s journey as they accelerate from an idea for an app, to a mobile business!

troopr-mobile-app

Over the past couple of months my team and I have been working hard on completing a product for our first customer. During which time we had also carried out dozens of end-user testing sessions and held many meetings with our client to demonstrate the app in progress. The one thing I’ve really come to appreciate is feedback from customers and end-users.

The concept of building a product around customer feedback is not new to me and is something we as a team have embraced since the conception of troopr thanks to Steve Blank. Although it was within the past several months that the importance of customer opinions and feedback really is at the forefront of my mind in our product development strategy and these are some reasons why.

(1)  Defining your target market when starting out is tough at first because you inevitability always start so high and broad. I approached several potential customers and asked about their challenges in relation to handling group bookings and just listened. Through sharing their unique challenges and business characteristics – I was able to start building out what our target customer description is.

For background – troopr is an online booking platform to assisting tour operators to better onboard group bookings. At first we were targeting all travel providers who targeted groups of travellers. But many customer interviews later our target market is now more like:

A small-medium travel provider who has X customers/month, targets Y type of groups, has Z existing capabilities and is based in Australia.

(2)  Client feedback has helped tremendously in our user experience (UX) aspects too. When building a solution under the guidance of some tried and tested UX concepts – you think you have it in the bag but this is not always true. End-user testing unveiled areas for improvement but more importantly the way in which it impacts a client’s business is more important.

It is easy to get caught up in building something that looks cool and is providing new functions in a startup. Ultimately you are trying new things to eventually find your way to a product which is relevant to enough customers that will make you successful. In our case – the objective of our software is to make our clients (travel tour operators) more successful by increasing their customer numbers.

Our clients know their customers very well and so were able to help shape some core UX elements.

(3) Lastly you have to always remember that customers and end-users are not technologists for the most part. So their feedback, for the most part, does not map back to function or button placement changes. It is our responsibility as entrepreneurs within the tech space to interpret their likes and dislikes and come up with solutions.

The entrepreneur has to wear many hats – business research, marketing, legal – UX design, UI design, technology stack – that’s why AppInstruct’s Course proves so valuable, because it teaches those skills in a comprehensive, yet accessible fashion.

So get out of the room and always be prepared to pitch your idea; to ask people the right questions and, most importantly of all, to LISTEN.

To learn how to make an app with your own idea, then start on a Free trial with the first Course tutorial today.

Richard Ing

Richard Ing wrote on

Richard is a co-founder and CEO of troopr. Richard is passionate about bringing people together, collaborating with Australian-based Startups, loves snowboarding and all things corgi-related. Richard's favorite app is GoogleDrive, which allows him to access any important doc on the go.