Humankind Design

How Early Validation Can Save a Startup

Validating ideas

Table of Contents

Why Validation is Crucial

Achieving product-market fit for startups is not just about having a brilliant idea; it’s about validating that idea rigorously. Failing to do so can lead to the creation of a product that no one wants or needs. Even worse, startups might invest heavily in a market that isn’t ready for their offering. Early validation serves as a safeguard against such costly missteps.

Achieving Product-Market Fit

For a startup, validating an idea is the pathway to achieving product-market fit. This should be their sole focus, especially in the early stages. This stage often comes after the startup has validated the problem statement. Sometimes it’s an iterative process, where they go back and forth between the problem and the solution.

Hypotheses Startups Should Work On

When validating an idea, startups should keep in mind these key variables:

  1. Problem Statement: Understanding the problem they are trying to solve is the first step. It’s not just about identifying a problem but understanding its nuances and how it affects their target audience.
  2. Target Audience: Knowing who has the problem and who feels the most pain from it helps in tailoring the solution. Conducting market research, surveys, and interviews can help pinpoint the target audience.
  3. Value Proposition: The value proposition sets the startup apart. It’s the unique solution they offer to solve the problem and should be compelling enough to attract customers.

First, Build the MVP

To test an idea, startups need to build an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and present it to their target audience.

According to Productize written by Eisha Armstrong, there are three types of MVPs that can be built quickly and affordably:

  1. Sell-then-Build: Validate demand by selling the concept before actually building it. This approach minimizes risk and upfront costs. Honestly, we won’t recommend Kickstarter at the start because it is time-consuming and may be costly to execute. Go with your landing page and use your network to reach your first 100 target audience.
  2. Wizard of Oz: Present a manual process as if it’s automated to test its efficacy. This helps in understanding user interaction without building the full product.
  3. Concierge: Offer a high-touch, manual service with plans to automate it later. This provides valuable insights into customer needs and behavior.

Second, Measure and Translate

What does success look like at this stage? Startups need to capture insights and translate them into business metrics.

Capturing Insights

  1. Quantitative: Metrics that offer numerical insights.
    • Sign-ups
    • Engagement with pricing information
    • Click-through rates
    • Payment rates
  2. Qualitative: Metrics that offer descriptive insights.
    • Customer testimonials
    • User engagement levels
    • Feedback and suggestions

Insights to Traction

  1. Quantitative: Metrics that indicate growth and customer satisfaction.
  2. Qualitative: Metrics that offer insights into market perception.
    • Word of mouth
    • Media or industry analyst interest
    • Market size
    • Pricing and profitability

Useful MVP Tools for Building Landing Pages

These tools are well optimized for idea validation and often come with in-built e-commerce, easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface, funneling, A/B testing, and analytics features. 

Feature Leadpages SwipePages
Price Starts at 49 USD/month Starts at 29 USD/month
User-friendliness Easy-to-use interface with some practice needed Relatively easy interface, but with some bugs
Templates A wide selection of pre-built templates Similarly, a wide selection of pre-built templates
Integrations More integrations, including Zapier Fewer official integrations
A/B split testing Upgrade to Pro plan required Included in base plan


Here’s a step-by-step guide for startups:

  1. Translate Your Problem into a Value Proposition: Identifying the problem is just the first step; translating it into a value proposition ensures you capture pain points and offer painkiller solutions.
  2. Prototype Your MVP: Before investing heavily, create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to test your concept. This allows you to validate your idea with minimal resources.
  3. Talk to Customers and Gather Feedback: Direct interaction with your target audience provides invaluable insights. Use surveys, interviews, or usability tests to understand what your customers really want.
  4. Measure Using the Tools Mentioned: Utilize analytics tools like Hotjar or Google Analytics to measure user engagement, click-through rates, and other key metrics. This data will serve as the basis for your next steps.
  5. Review Your Insights: Take a deep dive into the data you’ve collected. Look for patterns, anomalies, or any indicators that can inform your next move.
  6. Iterate or Pivot Based on the Analysis: Based on your insights, decide whether to iterate on your current model or make a more drastic change. Either way, the decision should be data-driven for achieving product-market fit.


Startups should prioritize insights and make trade-offs in other areas in their pursuit of achieving product-market fit. Focus on Quality, not Quantity. The more nuanced their understanding, the better their decision-making will be.

Do things that don’t scale” By Paul Graham, Co-founder Y combinator

How Humankind Design Can Help

Humankind Design accelerates the startup process in three key areas:

    1. Learn: We guide startups on where to focus their learning efforts.

    1. Act: We handle design execution, translating vision into tangible assets, quickly and effectively.

    1. Iterate: We offer a step-by-step guide to help startups navigate through iterations.

We’re not here to sell you a dream, but we can make your dream easier to achieve.

Accelerate - Your Startup Kit. Essential strategies and brand touchpoints to launch and validate your business, fast!

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