Successful businessmen and investors alike have a lot of advice to give on validating your business ideas.
So much so that I feel many entrepreneurs, especially those who are less experienced like myself, get stuck following their advice.
Two years ago, when I began my journey as an entrepreneur, I couldn't seem to find, choose, or validate an idea.
Often, and sadly, this meant that I would fall and get stuck at the first hurdle — picking an idea.
Two years and a couple of failed startups later, I've now stopped following all other frameworks of validation and narrowed it down to this one simple ideology: Do Not Validate Your Ideas, Validate Your Vision.
“To me, a vision is an exploration of what I want to do in my life and what I want to achieve through work.
In simpler words — it's the BIG picture, it's the eventual outcome that I am working towards” ~ The Author
Looking back at my experiences, I realise now that for a long time I never followed a process for validating an idea.
As a consequence, I often felt it hard to guide or advise people along that validation route.
Yet, I made a success of a business, doing things differently. Why? I didn't have an answer to this for a long time.
But then, as all good things do, it came to me.
I don't validate ideas, I validate visions.
I have to believe in the vision of where I'm heading.
That there is space to grow, money to be made and important problems to be solved.
The specific problem is not as important as keeping an open mind to the picture as a whole.
Sometimes being laser focused on the idea closes your mind to all the possibilities.
However, if you have a Vision in mind it will naturally work those muscles of looking at things from many different and many new angles.
Once you start looking at things from different angles, you stop validating ideas; instead you start to group them, till they become a cluster of ideas.
This cluster of ideas then start to give birth to your vision.
When you have a clear vision in head, you may think to validate something; to look if enough people agree with your vision.
Maybe you should send 1000 emails and, if you have 30% of answers, it's a validation.
Or maybe you prefer to keep things simple as you don't want to change your vision to attract more people quicker.
Of course, you may also choose to validate an idea, If that is what you want.
I just want you to know that you can validate your vision too.
Choose the path that works for you.
Over time, I've come to realise that this framework of “validating my vision” has led me down a consistent path of discovery.
I don't think I'll ever get to the stage where I know for sure that this is what I'm going to be doing with my ideas.
It is forever changing, according to my vision to begin with, eventually taking shape over the course of exploration and experiences.
With each passing week, month, year I had learnt more, had created multiple paths, and crossroads that were helping me shape my vision.
I kept exploring, trying new things, forging new paths and opportunities, to find what works.
I'm never really convinced 100% about the product ideas I have.
And because they change daily, I don't need to validate these ideas.
I just have to be more focused on the vision I have for the future:
- Is this something that I really want to do for the next ten years?
- What is the BIG picture? And what is the eventual outcome I am trying to achieve?
- Is this something the world needs, and would pay me to do?
- How can I explore the full range of possibilities of this vision?
- What are some realistic ideas/ways to turn my vision into a reality?
- Am I thinking about the right things?
- Are specific ideas closing my mind to better ideas?
- Does it bring joy and excitement?
- Do I feel there is room for this to grow into something BIG?
- Does the community/world need me to do this?
- Am I cut out for this?
- Why should people care?
- What is it I really need and care about?
The “good” founders, in my opinion, know enough about a space, how things work, what is wrong, etc.
They look at the bigger picture, which helps them to craft a vision and to flesh out ideas to achieve its full potential.
Don't make the mistake of chasing after “let's find something to solve”.
Don't be in a rush to start something.
Instead, focus on “constantly doing” things to expose yourself to new experiences because the more you learn, the better chances you will have of understanding a space and the better chances you will have of discovering and shaping your vision.
Then, you can go ahead and figure out how to execute your vision, backed with great ideas and great creativity (which are a direct result of validating your vision).
Thanks for reading!
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