Before we begin, from that long title we hope we made it clear that if this is your main gig – we wouldn’t recommend ‘going lean’ on any of these steps. 

We want to help entrepreneurs that put off launching their idea because they are time-poor and are putting off taking the leap – as the saying goes “the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks”. 

That doesn’t mean we recommend jumping in blind, which is why we should get to what this article is about – LEAN MARKET VALIDATION

First, let’s do the basics of defining:

  • The customer
  • The problem being solved
  • How it solves the problem (the simpler the better – no long paragraphs!)
  • Key features (the simpler the better, you’ll notice we said “key” not “all of the features”)

Decision time – cull the ‘meh’

When you work on the basics you’re likely to end up with a long list of customers, problems, ways to solve them and features. It’s time to get simple. Cull your list to only a few points. Try to focus on one product, a couple of core customer types, a few ways you solve the problem and a couple of key features.

If you’re already time-poor enough to be interested in lean market validation you can’t handle everything you first put on your list when you define your product.

Testing time!

The best way to do this is to start talking and engaging. Go to meetups, find people on the street, go to events/conferences, even build a landing page to register interest and launch some social PPC campaigns using your customer demographics. If people click and register then you have some good indications that you are onto something.


It will be easier to start with your network, either the one you created during testing, or your existing friends/family/professional network. It’s time to get those qualitative answers. Ask open questions, follow up statements with a ‘why’. 

Why did they want a new car? Was it because they got a promotion and could afford more? Were they embarrassed by driving an older vehicle? Did they feel it was time to upgrade from their first car? Had they been thinking about it for a while and finally they were in the financial position to do it? Dig deep, look for those irrational reasons as well. Sometimes people don’t want to admit it, but they wanted that new car because their colleague got a new car and they were a little jealous.

Define your Value Proposition.

Why do your customers value your product? What makes them choose you over someone else? This can be hard, it takes feedback. I’ve spoken to business owners that have thought their customers chose them due to a certain feature, and after feedback, it turns out they were choosing them as they were the easiest to understand, they had the simplest processes, or it was another feature they didn’t expect.

Listen to your feedback, it gives you insights to your real value proposition.

That’s it. It’s time to take the leap and to get that side-hustle into gear.

Jessica Ford

Jessica Ford

Head of Sales and Marketing at ColorElephant. I've had a long career in marketing in sales, with large corporates, small startups and agencies. You'll find me to be an advocate of transparent and honourable marketing practices. We build a community, we act with integrity, and above all else we are human.

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