Idea Validation: From Idea to Paying Customer in One Day

Learn how to test your business and product ideas online quickly, cheaply, and easily. Make sales before you launch.
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8,120 students enrolled
Instructed by Evan Kimbrell Business / Strategy
$95
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  • Lectures 50
  • Contents Video: 5.5 hours
    Other: 3 hours
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
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About This Course

Published 3/2015 English

Course Description

Why did your last business or product idea fail? Maybe you think it's because you didn't have enough money, a good enough team, or you lost favor with the money gods. You're wrong. I know exactly why it failed. It failed because you didn't validate it beforehand. That's it. You're welcome.

It's not because you're not a code ninja or a marketing guru or the next Steve Jobs, it's because you screwed up and didn't pre-validate it. You did everything right but your idea was awful and you didn't even know it. So stop picking bad ideas.

This Idea Validation course has taught 1200+ students to dodge bad business ideas like bullets in The Matrix. It's packed with 8 hours of a proven techniques used by the pros and guarded by the super-secret club of business people who are better than you.

At the end of this course you'll know the deepest, darkest secrets of business validation:

  • Running qualitative feedback trials
  • Knowing your competition better than their mother (creepy)
  • Rocking lean, mean online pitch experiments
  • Some of the best free tools only the pros know about
  • The magic price that makes you the most money
  • Why you're no good at knowing if your idea is any good…even if you've built products before

Why do you need the power of "business validation"? It should be obvious, but fine:

  • Because the next time you fail a product launch or pitch a dumb idea your boss is going to hate you. Instead pitch a rockstar idea along with data that says, “I'm right and you know I'm right". Watch your boss get weak in the knees.
  • Because you want to get out of your cubicle and start living the entrepreneurial dream but, "I just have too many ideas so which one do I choose?" Validate your stuff, cut the fat, and you'll be on the beach sipping pina coladas in no time.
  • Because you want to sell new products without stabbing around in the dark until you get a winner.
  • Because you want those pro skills. Yeah, it's time to up your game.
  • Because you want to be an awesome entrepreneur that everyone is jealous of.

Nine out of ten new businesses are dead on arrival and deflate like a punctured moon bounce. Don't be a moon bounce. 

What are the requirements?

  • No pre-requisite knowledge is required.
  • Knowledge of basic online research techniques will be helpful but not necessary.

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Develop product and idea hypotheses
  • Run effective qualitative assessments with potential customers
  • Confirm the existence of consumer problems and validate their potential worth
  • Run cycled experiments to quickly find the best variation of a product idea
  • Validate ideas with basic email techniques
  • Validate popular response from online and niche groups
  • Create and run your first ad campaign, for free, on Google and Facebook
  • Use Launchrock to create an interest page in less than 30 minutes
  • Use Unbounce to more comprehensively assess the feasibility of pitch experiments
  • Add payment buttons to Unbounce and email
  • Get your first product sale without even building it
  • Access advertising metrics to decide if the idea is commercially viable

What is the target audience?

  • Entrepreneurs looking for a better way to gauge the popularity of their product before launch.
  • Product Managers who want to test internal products or features but don't want to commit without evidence of demand.
  • Small business owners who want to productize their business but test feasibility before spending upfront.
  • Marketers looking to test new products or create new sales funnels without monetary commitment upfront.
  • Anyone who wants to be able to test online product ideas from the comfort of wherever they are with minimal commitment.

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.

Curriculum

Section 1: Welcome to the course (12 minutes)
05:16

Meet the instructor for your course!

An introduction to my background running a web agency and running 100's of real-life validation experiments.

04:59

Let's talk about the individual sections of the course and set expectations for what you are going to learn.

In this lecture, we'll talk about how you should follow along and the best way to get the most out of the course.

01:20

The more engaged you are, the more useful this course will be. Don't be shy, get used to reaching out for help or to talk about ideas.

"Getting your priorities straight" (Worksheet)
4 pages
Section 1 Review Material
12 pages
Section 2: Establishing the problem (44 minutes)
11:25

In this lecture we're going to cover the basics of how Lean Validation works. After this course you'll understand how to structure your ideas, how to position them for testing, and ultimately help you understand the process by which lean practitioners rapidly validate ideas. We'll also talk a little bit about the abstract value of "untested ideas" and how to improve them.

We'll cover:

- What is a product hypothesis and how would I construct one?

- What's a pitch experiment, how do I set one up, and how do I now when it has failed or succeeded?

- What's a pivot and how does that work into this framework?

- How do I set my Minimum Criteria for Success? What should I mainly look for?

We'll cover the examples of both Costco (large US based retailer) and Facebook (the #1 social network) to help you grasp these definitions and apply your knowledge.

03:19

Theory-only is boring! In this lecture, we're going to create a hypothetical idea so we can follow along with a real-life idea. I'll show you how to implement the theory and techniques from each section.

14:08

Who's going to use your idea? Who benefits from it? Who has a problem that your idea solves?

In this lecture, we're going to tackle how to answer these questions through customer segmentation.

We'll cover:

- How to identify the value your idea is delivering. How to identify potential problems your idea could be addressing

- How to define potential customer groups. How to identify the areas that divide them.

- How to identify key demographics for your target groups and determine which ones are relevant.

- How to build customer profiles when you have a two-sided marketplace idea.

At the end of the lecture, you'll understand how to build a rudimentary profile for your target market, how to rank them, and ultimately how to target them.

We'll go through the entire process of building customer profiles with our example idea.

14:59

Let's start testing our assumptions and getting real user feedback.

In this lecture, we're going to cover running Qualitative Assessments from potential customers. This is the first step in the road to validating your idea and the first time we introduce it to someone other than yourself.

Why is it called a "Qualitative assessment"? Well, because we are going to collect qualitative information. Soft info that can give us a positive feel for our idea before we spend more time on it.

We'll cover:

- How do you find potential customers to run an assessment with?

- What are easy ways of getting people to agree to talk?

- How to frame your questions and get the crucial "problem based" feedback you need

- Who are the "innovators" and why do we want to target them?

This is the first step in testing your idea and the easiest way to get out there and getting a feel for it.

Three practice ideas (Worksheet)
5 pages
9 questions

Welcome to the first quiz of the course. The idea behind this is to make sure that you retain the core concepts we've covered in Section 2. Don't worry, the score doesn't matter and you'll infinite attempts to complete it.

We're going to cover the main concepts from this section. Do you understand the Idea Validation framework well enough? If I said I needed to make a pivot after my qualitative assessment proved my hypothesis wrong - what do I mean? Who are the "innovators"?

Have fun ;)

Section 2 Review Material
24 pages
Section 3: Scope out the competition (30 minutes)
13:35

What's the easiest way of figuring out whether or not your idea is original?

In this lecture, we'll go over competition, how you should feel about it, and how you can sniff it out if it exists. Too often people do not properly search for competitors before launching their idea, and this severely limits their chance of success.

We'll cover:

- How should you feel about competition, if it exists?

- How do you know if your competitors kill your idea or make it stronger?

- Using Google tools and tricks to cut through the noise of search results.

- How to use alternative search engines to find more competitors.

- How to think critically about where you are going to find your real competitors.

We'll run through these lectures with the example idea we're using.

16:48

We've found some competitors. Now let's start tearing them apart.

How do you tell if a competitor is a real threat or just a minor hiccup? In this lecture, we're going to talk about what qualifies your competitors as threats, what to look for in their websites, and how to take these analyses and use them to make your idea better. 

The goal of this lecture is to give you the tools and priorities to evaluate your competitors. By the end you should have a decent idea of whether or not your competitors are worth being concerned about.

We'll cover:

- How to compare your relative capabilities to your competitors'

- How to compare your idea's features to your competitors'

- How to sniff out your competitor's budget. Are they well-funded or still in someone's garage?

- How to stalk your competitors advertising efforts using SEMrush

- How to use keyword clusters to find even more competitors

- How to build a basic narrative of your competitor based off of articles and traffic stats

- How to use SimilarWeb to track your competitor's success in app stores

Finding competitors (Worksheet)
5 pages
Section 3 Quiz - Competitors
5 questions
Section 3 Review Material
13 pages
Section 4: Getting your first customer feedback (56 minutes)
15:58

In this lecture, we're going to cover one of the coolest and least well-known sites around: the five-second test.

The concept is simple. You get five seconds to make a judgement about a design or idea. When constricted to such a short time frame, users have to give you their gut reaction and that's exactly what we want.

We'll cover:

- How to use five-second test's system in an unorthodox way to get idea feedback.

- Easy ways to get your contest up and running in less than five minutes.

- How to gather feedback, what to ignore, and what to look for.

08:35

Sometimes a more robust option for user feedback is in order. Gathering unbiased information from potential users can be difficult; luckily there's a service that's designed for the task.

For those of you with a budget (or just interested in the information you receive) we're going to explore Proved.co and see what insights we get from their platform.


12:40

What's the cheapest and easiest way of getting feedback? Email!

Since everyone has an email address and presumably you're already invested into validating your idea, email validation is a logical place to start. It really is quite simple, yet it escapes so many entrepreneurs.

We're going to talk about all the ways you can get feedback from your own network, employees, and even by cold emailing target customers.

We'll cover:

- How to tap into your own network and what to say

- What to expect from different groups

- How to use publicly available information to create a "hit list" for cold emailing

- How to increase the likelihood of getting your email read and responded to

- The number of responses that should leave you be satisfied 


18:41

In this lecture we're going to cover online communities that are useful for receiving feedback. The internet has forums and groups for all different topics and reasons. With a little bit of skill (and sincerity), we can easily select a group that has the interests or experiences we need and poll them.

Exposing your idea to these specific groups is a free, easy way to get a group reaction and immediate feedback. However, if you want to get honest feedback and not invoke ire you need to tread carefully.

We'll cover how to word your idea and request for feedback in a way that comes off as the most non "spammy" and solicits the best feedback.

Resources: Free forums and groups to use for feedback
Article
Recap your results (Worksheet)
5 pages
Section 4 Quiz
3 questions
Section 4 Review Material
17 pages
Section 5: Creating your pitch experiment (124 minutes)
18:52

Let's get introduced to landing pages!

In this lecture, we're going to get acquainted with a site called Launchrock. What is Launchrock? Launchrock first started off as a free service for letting startups create pages that announced they had "launched" (hence the name). Now it offers quite a bit more, but as a fundamental service it still operates the same.

Why do we use Launchrock? Because Launchrock's setup is designed for simply announcing something. It's perfect for making a pitch experiment without spending too much time upfront. With Launchrock, we'll only display a couple sentences of text and insert images into pre-defined places. We're going to practice refining our message down to the bare minimum and test it on the fly.

We'll cover:

- Getting set up with Launchrock

- Choosing templates that best fit your idea

- How to customize your page beyond the template. Adding sharing abilities, custom images, confirmation emails, custom domains, etc.

- How to determine what your "call to action" is going to be

12:39

Now that we've covered the bare minimum, it's time to upgrade to the marketer's favorite tool: Unbounce.

What is Unbounce? Unbounce is a platform built specifically for building out and rapidly modifying landing pages. With Unbounce we're going to open up a whole new world of functionality. We're going to go beyond testing one general pitch page at a time. We'll use richer templates, we'll test individual words against each in real-time, and we'll make multiple tweaks per iteration to really figure out what customers respond to.

In this lecture we're going to get acquainted with Unbounce and look at how we can tailor this system to meet our needs.

We'll cover:

  • How to get up-and-running with Unbounce for free
  • How to pick a high-converting template to save time
  • The three types of landing page templates : Lead generation, Call-to-action, Announcement
  • Making your landing page responsive to mobile and tablet resolutions
  • How to use the main features on the Unbounce creation page
  • Working with elements, buttons, and forms
Making the Unbounce page fit your idea
13:46
Adding conversion goals and dynamic text
07:28
Setting up A/B tests for your Unbounce page
16:59
Adding a payment button to your page
11:04
Extra: Using a payment button in email
05:11
Extra: Using templates for extra wow
13:29
Extra: Getting a logo for free
08:01
Extra: Getting a better logo for $5
06:50
Extra: Getting domain names
09:59
Bad landing page analysis (Worksheet)
8 pages
Section 5 Quiz
4 questions
Section 5 Review Material
44 pages
Section 6: Testing your idea in the wild (39 minutes)
Google
16:20
Facebook
15:51
RESOURCES: Further reading Facebook ads and "interest targeting"
Article
Getting free coupons for Google, Facebook, Bing
07:02
RESOURCES: "Conversion scent" and how it can ruin your experiment
Article
Section 6 Review Material
16 pages
Section 7: Evaluating results (18 minutes)
Looking over the results
06:20
To repeat or not
06:40
Let me have your feedback
Article
02:43

Note: "Launch Your Idea" had a name change. It's now called, "The Non-Technical Person's Guide to Building Products & Apps."

Section 7 Review Material
10 pages
Section 8: Follow along section - videoinabox.co (6 minutes)
How this section works
01:51
The idea is born
Preview
03:40
Read me - About this section
Article
Section 8 Review Material
9 pages

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Instructor Biography

Evan Kimbrell, Founder of Sprintkick | Ex-VC | Ex-startup founder

Hi, I'm Evan Kimbrell. Thanks for checking out my course.

Currently, I'm the Founder, Director of Sprintkick, a referral based full service digital agency based out of San Francisco. Over the last 4 years, I've overseen the development and launch of over 100 web and mobile apps. Clients range from 1-2 man team startups bootstrapping their initial idea, to multibillion dollar Fortune 100s like Wal-Mart, Dick's Sporting Goods, & GNC.

Previous to Sprintkick, I worked as a VC for a brand new firm called Juvo Capital, based out of L.A. I spearheaded the firms expansion into Silicon Valley deal flow and into Consumer Web tech category.

Previous to working for Juvo, in the long long ago, I was a co-founder for a educational software startup called ScholarPRO that raised a ton of money and then spectacularly blew up (in the bad way). Before it exploded like the Death Star, I went through 5 tech incubators (yes 5) with Tech Stars, Excelerate Labs, MassChallenge, Babson Venture Program, and Sparkseed.

I'm an avid AirBNB host for the Fishermans Wharf district of San Francisco. My space has the #1 search ranking for my area, has hosted over 200+ people, and is currently booking out 18 months in advance :) Over the last year I've helped multiple other hosts get their properties listed and maximize their price per night. Results range from an extra +50% in price for established hosts, and +400% for brand new hosts.

Hope you enjoy my courses!

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