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To do a good market test for something new, a minimal prototype is needed so that people can understand what you want to do and what your product/service will accomplish. The concept of "minimum viable product" is important here.

What is an MVP (minimum viable product)? This is a minimalist version of your product/service that allows you to test the concept with an audience and measure their reactions, how they will use it, and how easy it will be for them to navigate through the explanations or the ergonomics.

Why not develop a complete product? This option is obviously more expensive because it would contain all the features that the product has. In the start-up phase, what the company wants to avoid is spend too much money and go in a direction that will not be profitable. What happens if the product/service is not well received or has significant changes or additions that need to be made? All the money put on the complete product would be lost.

So, what's the difference between a complete product and an MVP? An MVP will focus on the core functions to bring the experience to customers/testers. The complete product will have accessory functions that are not essential for the main experience.

Once this prototype is built, it must be put in the hands of people who can give their comments.
  • Your existing customers, if you have some, can be a good source of information.
  • Focus groups are another. How do you create a focus group? First of all, you need to understand who your MVP is for. Then you must target these people and invite them to give their opinion. For example, I was approached on the street to offer my comments on a new beer. Social media is another source of possible testers.
  • Having a website that explains the idea, linked to a questionnaire, is another option.
  • Some discussion groups on social media can be a good source of information as well. Choose your groups based on the customer profile that would be interested in your product/service.
  • Finally, crowdfunding platforms are excellent for market tests. In addition, they can make you money. There are several options available to you on these platforms, but one of these is to sell pre-production units. You offer a preferential price and you test your market, your price, and your product/service, all at the same time. This option has the advantage of demonstrating the viability of your market in case you have to go for additional financing.
  • Of course, before doing any of these steps be sure to protect your product/service with the necessary tools: trademark, patent, non-disclosure agreement, and control the information that is publicized to avoid leaks.

    If you have questions or comments, do not hesitate. In the meantime, happy thinking


    Stéphane Elmaleh-Riel, B.Ed., MBA
    Marketing consultant