Making decisions is hard. We, human beings, find it so incredibly difficult to decide on certain things. But what if you could find out beforehand that your decision is a really good one? Wouldn’t you feel much more comfortable deciding? Finding out our chances of survival even before launching a start-up is what we, entrepreneurs, strive for. Big shocker: It’s possible and it’s no rocket science, it’s validation!
An assumption is something we believe is true, but we have no evidence to prove it. We simply don’t question the correctitude.
Every innovation starts here, so I recommend drawing up as many assumptions as possible, even before developing a product strategy. It allows you to base your strategy on your (tested) assumptions, not the other way around. This is how you avoid spending time and money on something that would not have worked in the first place. The next step is to categorize all your assumptions into three basic categories: Assumptions regarding the problem, the solution for that problem, and the implementation of it.
As an entrepreneur, your goal is to save time and money by validating your idea and that is why you will be testing your riskiest assumptions first. This assumption is not about you being able to build X, it is about your customer’s behaviour, or whether they will buy X. For example, you assume people want to eat healthy but they don’t know how. You think you can help them by developing an application they can use during grocery shopping. Will they use it and will they pay for it? Your biggest risk here is making something no one wants. If your riskiest assumption appears to be right, you can go on with the second riskiest one, and so on and so on…
Since an assumption is not testable, you will have to transfer it into a hypothesis, which is measurable. You are always seeking facts and hard data to make evidence-based decision-making possible in this phase. A hypothesis answers the question ‘What do I believe and how will I know if I am right?’ For example, I believe that my target customer will solve their ‘healthy food problem’ mentioned above by using an application that helps them detect healthy food when grocery shopping. Now identify the experiment method that is best for this hypothesis, which could be a landing page, the Wizard of Oz, interviews to collect deep insights in the customer’s mind… All this depends on what you want to learn from your experiment.
See? Now, decision-making is not about what you think anymore, it is about what you know, thanks to hard data collected by testing your riskiest assumptions through experimentation.