Things are looking up for IT services industry. Almost, if not all, companies and organizations are taking advantage of technologies and digital transformation to optimize business processes, empower employees, and face new challenges. And as they do, these companies need to manage and secure infostructure efficiently.
As a startup IT service business, it could be overwhelming for you. That is why IT industry experts, like Loading Growth, are here to help you validate who your most important clients are.
In this article, you will learn what customer validation is and why it is important for your startup IT business.
What is Customer Validation
As you know, the IT industry caters to a broad market as it can serve almost all kinds of companies and organizations. As mentioned earlier, companies are always on their toes to take advantage of technologies that will optimize their business processes, ease their workloads, and gain more profits.
As a startup IT business, you might be tempted to cater to all of these companies by offering generic IT services. However, if you want to stand out from competition, you will have to decide on your niche and validate who your most important clients are.
If you have been working on your business roadmap, you might have identified your niche skills and the market segments that you can focus on. These are the top IT niche skills identified in the year 2020:
- Cloud computing
- Software development
- Project management
- Networking and wireless
- IT service management
- Data analytics and data science
- AI and machine learning
If you have not started on your business plan yet, you can avail services of a renowned IT business consultancy or a business strategy consultant, like Loading Growth, to help you establish your niche, validate your customers, and more.
Who are your most important clients? Those who will buy your product. Clients will buy your product or avail your service if they find it fit to solve their problems or address their concerns. You will know this through customer validation.
Customer validation is an essential part of product development. It should be done in the earliest possible time during the product development cycle.
Basically, with customer validation, you assess your assumptions and hypotheses about the target market and the problem you want to address with your proposed IT product, service, or solution. In sum, you focus on three aspects during customer validation: your niche market, the problem you want to solve, and the product or solution you want to offer.
So, do you really need to conduct customer validation? Absolutely!
Why Is Customer Validation Important
As you develop your business roadmap, you will be compelled to do market research and analysis, which includes customer validation.
You can’t just speculate about your target market or the efficiency and effectivity of your product. When you do not validate your assumptions about your customers, you are increasing the risk for your startup business. You might end up developing a “great” product that will not sell because it is not the solution that your target consumers need or want.
Insights gained in customer validation will help you in two ways. First, you can customize your product according to the specific needs of your niche market. This way, your product will have more value for your target customers as it will be the one, they would want and need to address their specific needs. Secondly, you can use results of your customer validation to find the right market of your product or market fit.
Indeed, research is key so you can focus your effort, time, money, and other resources to what matters. A startup business, or any business at any stage of its growth, needs to make informed decisions. Validate who your most important customers are, and you can reduce costs in developing and testing the profitability of your product or service.
When you validate who your most important clients are, you can develop a product that will actually sell. With this, you are well on your way to gaining greater profits.
If you are new in the industry, there are available tools and resources that an IT consultancy business, like Loading Growth, can offer to help you with these first steps towards achieving your business goals.
How To Do Customer Validation
Now that we have presented why it is important to validate who your most important clients are, we will give you tips on how to go on with your validation.
According to experts, these are the steps in customer validation:
- Determine your target consumers or niche market
- Determine your product value and goals
- List down your assumptions
- Assess the target market
- Create a minimum viable product or MVP based on market analysis
- Present the MVP to early-adopter customers
- Solicit feedback from early-adopter customers using survey and interview methods
- Validate assumptions based on the customer insights and feedback
Part of the customer validation process is determining your niche market. A niche market is a smaller segment of the larger market that can be determined with its unique identity, preferences, habits, and other demographics. At the same time, you need to determine your product goals and value and decide if it could fit in your niche market, and vice versa.
Some examples of niche markets in the IT industry are: manufacturing companies, accounting firms, banks, retail businesses, among others. As you know, IT has a broad market, so it is very critical that you decide on which segment you are going to focus on.
After, you will need to document your hypotheses about your target market and your product.
With these hypotheses and assumptions, you can develop a minimum viable product, known as MVP. Your MVP should include all product features based on your assumptions and market analysis.
Then, you can reach out to a few companies within your niche market who may be willing to test your MVP. Let’s refer to them as your participants or partners. Make sure that you will be able to communicate your goals well. Also, be clear and transparent with your participants. You can set a minimum time frame for them to test your product or service, if applicable. If you think it is necessary, ask your participants to sign a non-disclosure agreement.
After a given time frame to use your product, it’s time to solicit their feedback. Do conduct a survey or arrange an interview with the main users of your application or product. You might want to give them an incentive for participating in this process.
Based on the results of your survey and the feedback you get from interviews, validate your assumptions. You might want to tailor-fit your product according to customer insights, OR you can decide if it really is the right market for your product.
A business strategy consultant can help you through this process. Develop your roadmap, hit your targets, and gain profits! You might want to do it slowly but surely, or fast and easy. We have the tools and resources that can help you.
Validate who your most important clients are—they are the ones who will find your product useful and significant, and buy it. This way, you are able to provide a positive experience among your niche market, and attract more target consumers.
Talk to a business strategy consultant today, and start your journey to business success!