Many people start their businesses with an idea in mind. That wasn't my case.
Having great ideas without actively and consistently looking for ideas is like expecting to win the lottery without even buying a ticket. More than 80% of small businesses and startups fail. The cause of most business failures are a mix of stubbornness and lack of knowledge.
Being passionate about the industry and your ideas, is important, but it isn't everything. What matters the most when starting a business, is having a product (or service) that your customers want and are willing to pay for it. But you already know that...
The actual question is then: How do we make sure that people will buy the product we offer?
You're probably thinking that what I am saying is obvious. But a surprising number of small businesses fail because they ignore this fundamental question.
Many startup founders create a product or a service offer, and then they wait for people to come to them and HOPE that they will buy and show interest in their product.
Many of their offers are actually great. Many of their offers solve problems that their audience has. Still, many of these businesses close within a year of their creation.
You might be getting anxious when reading this. Maybe I made it all sound like you need to have luck to be able to succeed. And that might be true in some sense.
But, there is a process that you can follow to reduce the "luck" factor and increase your possibilities of success.
This process has nothing to do with marketing or even the idea itself.
The process consists on actually TESTING if the market really wants and is willing to pay you for your product before you invest a lot of money and time on it.
Let's draw two possible scenarios:
UX designers follow a framework that makes it almost impossible (if followed correctly) to fail in the long run. The summarized explanation of this framework is: First you brainstorm and come up with ideas, then you create a minimum viable product (MVP) version of your idea, then you try to validate it, and finally you iterate based on the results of you validation.
Is this simple: Ideate, create a super basic version of the idea (just for validation purposes), try to validate your idea, iterate based on the results.
Let's put Johns example into this framework:
Instead of creating the final product and hoping for success, he should've gone with case 2. He should've created an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) of his idea and test it. If he would've started his catering business on the side, starting very small with just a couple friends and neighbors as customers, he would've actually knew that his idea wasn't going to work as it was.
After not being able to validate the idea, the next step would've been to iterate.
Iteration is the most powerful tool an entrepreneur (and a UX Designer) has. Every great product of service that you can think of is an iterated version of what it was at the beginning. Many times, it's a totally different product than it was at the beginning.
So now you have the recipe to make sure your idea will succeed in the future.
Remember... You'll not get it exactly right the first time. Instagram didn't, YouTube didn't, and you won't get it either. But as long as you stick to this process, you'll succeed on the long run.
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