The mom test featured image

Have you ever heard of “The Mom Test”?

There are two ways to sell your product or service. Either there is a market available and you study that market, or you create a market. Usually, this comes with extensive market research. “The Mom Test” points out two essential things. First, avoid working on a project that did not run through any validation by the market. Second, do your market research but do not get lost in it.

I just do it as Apple did it, no questions asked or did they?

Apple is one of the popular corporations that did not only listen to their market and delivered what the market claimed. Apple, on top of that, listened to their (potential) customers and told them what they are going to want in the future. While this is definitely an approach, it is not the easiest one for a newly founded business.

You might ask yourself is it worth it to invest all this time (and time is money) into market research. You can see yourself already working on your idea. It is just such a great idea and people will love it. It’s exciting! Where should you even start first? In your mind, all the next steps fall into part like in a time-lapse movie. Awesome! It will be magic.

Fast forward. One year passed, your hair got grayish. At least you are not bold yet. What happened? Well, to put in in easy words, it simply does not help to have the best lasagne bolognese recipe if you are serving vegans. Most likely it won’t be the best recipe anyway at first. You are not Apple. You cannot just market and sell lasagne bolognese to vegans. Yes, Apple would probably do some magic and they could. But you are not there (yet).

Go online, go offline, go to colleagues, friends or to the bar and do one thing: talk to people!

If you have an idea, always test the market first. You do not need to run extensive market research for each new idea. I know it costs time and money. But talk and listen to the people. Talk and listen to your potential customers. On top of that, talk and listen to everyone else. At least for some time. Use social media and post your idea or parts of it. Do you want to keep it anonymous for the beginning? Sign up for a new account at Reddit. Talk to people!

This informal market research can be hurtful. Perhaps your idea is not so great. Perhaps there will be questions you did not think of at all. Perhaps nobody even cares about your idea at all. It can also be that you talked to the wrong people. You know what, then get out and talk to the right people.

Honesty can hurt, investing a lot of time and money into something useless hurts more

If you have an idea it needs the courage to put it out. Someone could just stamp on it and destroy your dream. That hurts. But it hurts even more if you put one year of work into it to learn that nobody cares about it.

Have you ever heard about “The Mom Test”? It’s basically about asking the right questions to validate your business idea. No matter how much a person loves you. If you ask the right questions and listen attentively – you will get your answers.

The Mom Test – YouTube

Rob Fitz – The Mom Test