Dear Professor Investor, I have an idea for a product and my friends and family tell me it is a great idea, but how do I know they aren't simply being nice? Shelly from Sutton.
Great question, one I wish more founders would ask. It isn't that a founder's friends and family lie, but that they often see you through a very favorable lens, one sometimes not shared by arms' length investors.
The best way to find objective validation is to get out of the building with your idea and ask people. Get out of where you are developing this product and talk to people, ask them if they would use the product and what they would pay for the product. With sites like Product Hunt you can even now do this digitally. Keeping your idea to yourself to avoid it being stolen is an old way of thinking because there are probably already people out there building the same product. The only way you are going to get validation is to find someone who would potentially use your product. Instead, entrepreneurs today spend a lot of time putting out a so called minimum viable product (A prototype with only the main feature included). By doing this, founders get their product out to the people who would use their product and get their feedback on what to change; spending less money for a better product market fit.
The truth is, you don't know how good or bad your product is, until you are out in the real world and people are giving you their honest unbiased opinions and more importantly their money.
Questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or to @SeanWise. Please be sure to include "Dear Professor" in the subject line. For more startup wisdom check out Dr. Wise's new book: STARTUP OPPORTUNITIES: know when to quit your day job: http://amzn.com/1941018009