Courtesy of tinytracker.co

*ship Startup Festival is now officially over, however, we believe that this interview with Balazs Slezak, nominated to be the eco-system hero by Central European Startup Awards, contains very valuable information for next year’s participants.

In the interview, we covered some of the basics of successfully validating any startup idea successfully.

The first and most important question to define is problem-solution fit. How do founders find the right problem-solution fit? Balazs has 2 ideas on how founders deal with this issue, and it all begins with the question: “Do I have this problem?”. If you are an expert in any field and experience a lack of service that would make your job easier, that is the place where you should look a solution for. This is usually the case with older founders.

When it comes to younger founders who just left Uni and are aware of the technical implications, it is a completely different story, and the solution may be very one-sided. In these cases, Founders need to start creating deep interviews with their potential customers to try to find the main pain points that they are experiencing. It is important to note, that at this stage, we are not trying to find out whether the solution that we are planning to provide solves that problem or not, we are trying to find out if the problem exists in the first place!

In conclusion, find the niche problem, that you can at least theoretically fulfill, and leave the questionnaires for quantifiable data, for later stages

For how long should a founder continue with the interviews then? According to Balazs at least 10 to begin with, however, a founder MUST continue the interviews until unique data is collected. In easier terms, if you hear something completely new regarding the problem that you would put in its own category, you need to continue.

So, what are the next steps?

The next goal would be to invest all the resources into finding the product-market fit. At this stage, we would need to take it for granted that problem-solution fit is present. Most VCs and investors will be interested in investing in companies that have reached this stage and may or may not yet provide a service/product at a long-term feasible rate.

How to validate product-market fit?

The next concept here is to start validating whether the product itself is solving the problem that we identified earlier. How do we validate nowadays? The methodology has been improving in this regard, nowadays, the most common methods include waiting lists, pre-orders, and many others as well.

In order for us to use the methods mentioned above, founders will need an MVP. An MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is basically a bare minimum version of the product that the team is trying to put on the market. The only requirement here is that our MVP functions the same way as our real product would. Founders also need to pay attention to budget and time limitations. The MVP needs to be pushed out as soon as possible and with as little financial resources as possible. Theoretically speaking, if we had an infinite amount of money, we could be able to create MVPs that are built from the ground up and could have functionalities that are just like the final product, but this is hardly the case. Balazs also mentioned that these MVPs are usually scrapped once the product-market fit has been found, and the real product is engineered from the ground up from that point onwards.

The MVP concept however is nothing unheard of or new. During the interview, we also touched base on one of the newer trends that essentially serve a similar purpose. While MVPs are meant to be functional representations of the future product, MLPs (minimum lovable products) are aimed to be the minimum product that desires the targeted audience. This is due to technological advancements and the rise of no-code environments, as now we can create visually appealing products and services, landing pages, mobile apps and so on. With these new tools, we can create the basic function, design the layout, create brand imagery, and so on.

Since Balazs and his team at Wozify have been helping startup companies build and create MVPs and other software for them, he also developed a keen eye to spot issues with the topics mentioned above. In his own words, he can spot the teams that skipped or missed these lessons from a mile away. Hopefully, this article will be helpful for next year’s participants, to make sure they validated their project properly.

In case you need some support with creating your MVP, do not hesitate to reach out to Balazs and his crew at https://wozify.com/ and book a 45 min consultation for free, with no strings attached 🙂