How Startup Studios Validate/Kill Ideas In 4 Weeks or Less

Stop wasting time on ideas that don’t have potential.

When you’re looking to solve problems rather than starting with a solution, you’ll find it easy to stop wasting time on ideas that don’t have potential. The key to this is identifying a problem and then moving through a specific series of steps to validate or invalidate a potential solution.

Step 1: Prototype (Weeks 0–2)

There are two parts to this step. The first is developing a tangible prototype, the second is developing a hypothesis about what will happen when potential customers come in contact with your prototype. Most often, the prototype takes the form of a landing page or a social media advertising campaign.

Example Landing Page from Instapage

Step 2: Talk to Customers (Week 3)

How to Get Users to Take Your Survey:

My first tip is to be honest rather than “salesy”. If you tell people you’re conducting user research and would greatly appreciate if they would take your 5-minute survey, you’ll likely get a positive response.

Step 3: Conduct Market Analysis (Week 4)

Time, money, and creative energy are resources that are too precious to waste.

My favorite tool for market research is SEMRush. I’ll be transparent and tell you that it’s $99 per month. For a solo founder, this subscription might not make sense but for a Startup Studio, it’s a small price to pay for a fantastic amount of insight and time savings.

This step isn’t all-encompassing and it doesn’t prove there is demand for your product or service, it just helps you listen to the market.

SEMRush helps you figure out how popular your idea is and what the market needs and wants in your industry. So, for example, if you’re looking to start an online fitness program you would type the keyword string “online fitness program” into SEMRush.

  • The top keyword strings searched that match that phrase (best online fitness programs, best online diet and fitness programs…)
  • The average number of monthly searches for that keyword
  • How hard it is to rank for that keyword on search engines

Outcome: Build Beta Product or Kill Idea?

Endlessly curious about the human condition. Founder of Studio Upstart. Chief of Staff @ Untapped Ventures.

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