How do you Know Your Solution Fills the Need?
You’ve talked to customers to understand the unmet need (right?). Good!
Now you believe that what you envision as a solution will indeed be seen by your customers as a solution. Again, what you believe is a solution is really a hypothesis. How do you know that your customers agree that your solution really does address the unmet need? It’s time to talk to customers again.
Talk to your Customers
As before, it’s best to do face-to-face interviews, because you learn a lot more face to face. The goal: describe your understanding of the need (which is enlightened by all those customer interviews) and describe what you believe is the solution – then start asking questions!
And as with the “need” interviews, do not do a structured “fill in the blank” survey. This is another interactive probing 30 minute interview. Why an interview? Because, again, at the beginning, you need to assume that you don’t know what questions to ask. You’re trying to figure out how the customer thinks about your solution. You’re really trying to get inside the customer’s head (again)!
What is your Differentiated Value?
You also probably believe (i.e., you have more hypotheses) that the solution you envision is different than alternative solutions – and it’s different in a way that will deliver more value to customers (or at least deliver more value to some segment of customers). Be sure to test those hypotheses in in your interviews too. Your prospective customers will usually be happy to tell you what they think of the alternative solutions (including the competing solutions) and, if you ask the right questions, they’ll tell you if the difference in your solution is something they care about.