We currently run an existing B2B services business, so have theoretically built up both sides of a 'marketplace' over 8 years. And now were thinking about changing our business model to a marketplace model.
Given that's in place and we can see marketplaces in closely related markets operating, how much validation should we do?
Validation is really important when starting any tech project. However it's also imperative that you stay lean where possible.
The short answer without knowing the fine details about your project, I would suggest that the best way to validate your idea is to somehow create a low cost and lean MVP of your product idea (preferably without spending huge amounts of money on web or software dev). Then bring a small sample of your user base onto said platform to perform beta testing. I'd choose past clients that have loyalty to your brand and are willing to give feedback.
The long answer is that this is something that we would usually workshop. We have created frameworks for various situations, including launching a new tech product, where we guide our clients through the various different types of validation, from conceptual to ideas for a lean beta. For us its really important to get to know the project before jumping in and giving specific advice.
You can find some info on our workshops here: https://www.devwiz.com.au/build-your-idea-workshop/
Also if you want some tips on how to validate your idea in house, you can check out this article: https://www.devwiz.com.au/2019/09/04/validating-your-app-idea/
If you want some more specific advice, please feel free to book a call back through our website.
Cheers and good luck!
The following article focuses on importance of validating your marketplace idea and enlists a few steps to validate your marketplace idea.
Hi Entrepreneurs! In an earlier article, we discussed different ways to generate online marketplace ideas. By this point, I believe, you have already finalized on your big marketplace idea. But before we can go ahead and build the marketplace, let’s answer a simple question.
Why do 90% of startups fail?
Industry experts attribute the failure to a lot of varied reasons. I have mentioned a related article towards the end of this article. One of the major factors is lack of validation of the marketplace idea. Validation of ideas is vital to all businesses alike; an online marketplace is no different. But it is easier said than done. Everybody thinks their idea is genius. Let’s call it The Entrepreneur Syndrome. So how do you overcome the hurdle? Let’s take a quick walk through some questions which would help you understand the steps to validate your marketplace idea.
1) Is Your Online Marketplace Solving A Problem?
This is the first of the steps to validate your marketplace idea; probably the only question that you need to keep asking yourself. Unless you are solving a problem, it makes no sense in going ahead on the journey of creating an online marketplace. A lot of online marketplaces (about 40% ) close down in the first 6 months of operation because they did not solve any problem. In some cases, there was no problem to be solved.
Steps To Validate Marketplace Idea
To get an honest answer to this question:
1) List down all your assumptions pertaining to the problem. Every Single One.
2) Interview a few people, the more the better, if they are facing a similar issue.
3) Ask them how are they tackling the issue at the moment.
4) Look online if there are any existing solutions in your target market.
If not, check if your solution solves every issue. And if there exists, check if your solution offers any additional value.
Do Not Reinvent The Wheel
2) Is There A Market For The Online Marketplace?
Before launching any product, you must analyse if there is a market for your solution. A key metric is to calculate the total addressable market (TAM). In simple words, it is the total revenue you will make if all the users of your product in your target market would use your product. The more niche your marketplace, the smaller the TAM. Once you have the TAM, it becomes easier to qualify your marketplace idea.
Since a marketplace is a two-sided market, you have to look at both sets of consumers. If there is a market for only one of them, the marketplace is bound to fail. One way to find out if there exists a market is talking to people. Interviewing your potential customers would help you understand if there is a market for your solution.
Steps To Validate Marketplace Idea
Rob Infantino, the CEO of OpenBay, a marketplace for the discovery of local services, said “After formulating the idea for this online marketplace, I got out of the building and spoke to potential users of the service. The idea needed validation by real users. Since I was planning to build a two-sided marketplace, I had to speak to vehicle owners and automotive service providers, both of whom consistently offered valuable feedback about their challenges, their needs and what they’d want to see. “
Creating A Market For Your Product Is Like Creating A Car For The Wheel.
3) Are People Looking For Solutions?
Often in the entrepreneurial zeal, we forget to analyze if people are actually looking for solutions. There might be an existing problem in your market but unless people feel it is causing enough inconvenience to look for solutions, it will never work out.
One way of understanding if people are looking for solutions is looking for search engine searches in your target market. Search Engines like Google offer platforms to analyse search queries. Once you have a comprehensive list of users looking for solutions, you can ascertain that there will be a demand for your marketplace. Another way, a more traditional approach, is to interview people.
Alex Brola, co-founder of CheckMaid.com, that runs an online on-demand cleaning service said ” We actually validated [the idea] without having any cleaners to do the cleanings. We threw up a site, a booking form, a phone number, and ran some ads through Google and Bing, and saw what the conversion rate would be had we actually had cleaners.”
Nobody Pays For A Great Idea, People Pay For Solutions
4) Would People Pay For The Online Marketplace Solution?
One of the last steps to validate is to actually understand if people will pay for the online marketplace. Most people, especially friends and family, think every idea is great. But ask them if they would pay for the solution and most would say No. The online marketplace would only make business sense if you have a set of customers adding transactional value to it. To understand different revenue models in a marketplace, read a related article.
Steps To Validate Marketplace Idea
Mike Matousek, Founder of Flashnotes.com, that offers a marketplace for study guides and class notes said “I started creating these detailed study guides for our exams and sold my final exam guides for $10 a piece. Not only did they sell, I was literally hunted down on campus by more and more of my classmates — easily making over $1,000. After this initial interest, I knew I was onto something and had my friends test out the idea of selling study material in their own classes.”
These were just 4 questions, the answers to which would help you understand the steps to validate your marketplace idea. The list may not be exhaustive but paints a pretty broad picture of the process of validating your marketplace idea. There are many other viewpoints on the same topic which would help you in validating your marketplace idea. Here is one of them.
There are many reasons besides lack of validation that result in failure of marketplaces. Here is an article by 500 highlighting some of the major ones.
If there is something that I have missed, please do leave a comment.