Fail fast you can see as learn fast, as you learn from your failures. To make the lessons learned not only based on feeling, it is good to validate them. If you introduce a new products, for example as a startup, the best method is to validate your learning with Customer Development to investigate if you want to solve the right problem. It is the base to create your fist Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

Actually for your first “MVP” you do not need to build anything. Anybody who is motivated can do it.

FailFast

Below 4 suggestions to fail fast with MVP you don’t have to build:

1. Really “Get out of the building”.
If your target customers are consumers, the fastest to discover and validate the problem (and sometimes the solution) is to go on the street. Find locations where you expect to meet the target group. Interview them smart, let the interviewee talk, talk and talk. Only direct the interview. Interview minimal 30 people.

Metrics:
Number of interviewees: minimal 30
Validation: 30% of interviewees has the problem (or likes the solution)
Delivery term: 1 day

2. Post articles
If you would like to validate a problem in a niche market of experts that are hard to find on “the street”. Post the problem on blogs and social where experts discuss simular problems. In practice it is not so easy because it is hard to find the real experts.

Post articles where you describe the problem. Ask for feedback from “experts”. The big risk is that you get feedback from people who think they are an expert but they are not. You need to filter them out first.

Metrics:
Number of experts that responded filtered by real experts (this is subjective): minimal 10 responses
Validation: 30% of responses of experts agrees with your problem (or likes the solution)
Delivery term: minimal 1 week

3. Make an interview with people you know.

If there are many people you know within your target group, you know from network. You can email and call them and try to make an appointment for a problem interview. Although it will be very hard, try to avoid your proposed solution till after the interview. People know you already, will not like to disappoint you so as soon as you mention the solution, you will get positive feedback about the solution and you can not talk about the problem anymore.

Alternative is to interview people by phone. It is less valuable but in some cases it is not possible or too expensive and time consuming.

Metrics:
Number of interviewees: minimal 10
Validation: 30% of interviewees has the problem (or likes the solution)
Delivery term: minimal 1 week

4. Cold calling
The most tough way to validate is cold calling with a focus on the problem. I expect you can only do this for B2B problems as it will be hard to find private phone numbers. You need to look for people (for example on LinkedIn) that may have the problem you would like to validate. Then you need to find their phone number and preferable their email address. You can try to call and get them on the phone, if the rate of getting the right person on the phone is low, you can try to combine it with sending an email first. Myself I did many cold calling for a solution, so I don’t know how it will work for only a problem discussion. I expect it works better as you can introduce with: I am working on a new product/startup and do some research if the problem……

Metrics:
Number of cold-called interviewees: minimal 20, number of total approached minimal 50
Validation:: 50% of interviewees has the problem (in general people who don’t have the problem will refuse your call faster, that is validation is 50% in stead of 30%.
Delivery term: minimal 1 week

In all 4 MVP’s counts that besides of validation of the problem you will discover sub problems and you will get many ideas for a solution. Your initial solution may change already, so your first pivot.

More MVP’s to validate fast, but not as fast as in the MVP’s described above, you can find on scalemybusiness.com.

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