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Prove Your Business Idea Will Succeed

To ensure your business concept meets people’s needs, testing is essential. In a recent hangout, we asked three experts who’ve seen businesses in their earliest stages for their advice on how to validate any concept. Here’s what they said:

Get it out there. Putting a minimum viable product into the hands of your customers helps you understand what they need -- and what you still need to do. Determine your core value, develop a product to implement that value, and then try to get someone to buy that product or give you feedback on it, suggests Greg Grove, an attorney at Chicago’s Much Shelist. Says Grove, “With the learning from that feedback you can actually further develop the product, validate and improve the product and grow into your natural market.”

Worry less about idea theft. You might be anxious to talk about your idea, but don’t be, says Jonathan Axelrod, managing director at Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator, an early-stage seed fund and accelerator in New York City. Share mockups with potential customers and talk to them directly about what they need and want. “Test early and often,” says Axelrod.

Do what's hard. Treat your idea like a hypothesis, says Jeanne M. Liedtka, a professor of Business Administration at the University of Virginia. She says that too many times managers try to confirm their ideas and not disprove them, as a scientist might. “Disconfirming data is hard to find but it’s the most valuable type of data because it’s the data that tells you when to stop investing in an idea.”

For more insights, watch this short hangout. Other videos from this series can be found here

Related: What All Great Business Ideas Share