Discovery: Validating your business idea with the market

David Daniel

February 13, 2024

So many entrepreneurs fail because they have a great idea yet sprint ahead to launch without validating it first. 

In the discovery stage, you validate your ideas and ensure your offering addresses the core needs of your target audience. In this guide, we’ll dive into why discovery is so important, the key terms and concepts you should know, and what must be true to graduate from this stage.

Critical Path

When it comes to the critical path, it’s essential to understand the audience’s journey for a particular offering.

For example, if you’re selling mini-vans, the critical path elements include a caretaker with people and stuff that must be hauled around. 

It seems simple enough. But by identifying these core elements, you can determine what gaps your offering addresses and where there are still opportunities for improvement.

The actual clarity around the critical path emerges as your identity impact, benefit, value and the guaranteed outcome.

Guaranteed Outcome = Impact + Benefit + Value

This concept involves assessing the impact your deliverables have on your target audience, the benefits they provide, and the value your customers would assign to them.

For example, if your core offering is to help families move, your “move them with manners” impact could be to show love and care to those people. The benefit they experience is to feel safe and less stressed. 

How much is this worth? The value would be the family's well-being as a whole, which seems priceless, especially during a time of change and stress. 

When you clearly understand the impact, benefit, and value of your offering, you can create a Guaranteed Outcome (GO) that delivers consistently.

Your Guaranteed Outcome refers to the confidence you have in consistently delivering the outcome of your impact + benefit + value. What’s that thing you’ll say, “We’ll do this, or you get your money back guaranteed.”

Identify 1st Success Metric

The first success metric is a way of defining the value portion of the outcome. 

What’s a measurable way to describe the initial moment your ideal customer experiences the value your offer provides? For example, if you’re a financial planner, your 1st success metric might be to increase your client's portfolio by 8%. 

By identifying your first success metric, you can create a plan that ensures you work towards your goals.

Validation & Risk-Tolerance

Validation and risk tolerance go hand-in-hand. 

You need to determine how much risk you’re willing to take and what level of validation is necessary to achieve confidence in your solution. 

If you have a high risk tolerance and don’t care about losing millions of dollars, then you may not need much validation to move forward. If you are seriously risk averse, you may be tempted to spend years validating.

Most entrepreneurs are in between. 

So many entrepreneurs fail because they have a great idea yet sprint ahead to launch without validating it first.

The process for validation is often industry-dependent. For example, if you’re launching a new drug, the validation process will be more prescribed than launching a new consultancy.

When you achieve a level of validation that meets and exceeds your risk tolerance, then you are ready to graduate to the next stage.

Action Plan

The discovery phase is critical because it provides both the building blocks for your core marketing work and the confidence to press through the adversity of the future stages. 

By understanding the critical path, impact, benefit, value, guaranteed outcome, and success metrics, you'll better understand what your customers are looking for. This will help you create a marketing campaign that speaks directly to their needs and wants. 

Don’t skimp on the discovery phase, as it will set the foundation for everything that follows in your marketing strategy.


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