Blog Detail


By Ajay Batra

Validate your idea by talking to actual potential customers

Level Two ensures that ideas for innovative products or services are systematically evaluated for their business potential by enabling the founding team to better understand their potential customers’ context, needs and wants.

A significant portion is devoted to developing customer empathy by “getting out of the building,” immersing in customers’ lives and by shifting their thinking from product/service to customer problems and the proposed benefits. This iterative, non- linear and learning-based approach calls for intense engagement with potential customers. It also seeks to validate assumptions about the intended benefits of the idea before much investment of time and money is made in converting the idea into an actual product or service.

  • Starting the venture with many untested assumptions about customers’ needs
  • Developing a product/service that customers do not care much about
  • Pursuing an opportunity without clear product/service differentiation
  • Having a ‘solution looking for a problem’ approach
  • Targeting a market with few paying customers, or low growth potential
  • Launching the venture in an unfavorable, or even hostile, legal and regulatory environment
  • The founding team is inflexible in its approach, and ignores obvious signals from the market
  • Not identifying focus customer segments, i.e. “Trying to do everything for everybody
  • Not seeking adequate feedback from potential customers on functionality/ features that are important to them
  • The proposed product or service does not solve a significant customer problem
  • Inadequate understanding of how potential customers with find and buy the product or service
  • Lack of clarity on how the venture will generate revenues and make profits
  • High costs of customer acquisition/low customer lifetime value
  • Lack of focus on building a long-term and defensible position
  • The absence of clear strategies for sales and marketing
  • Working with under-developed or un-viable business models
  • Reluctance to seek partners who can add value across the value chain

    1. Gaps in the available resources and capabilities are analyzed and addressed
    2. Mentors or advisors needed for the venture are identified
    3. External stakeholders are identified for their possible engagement with the venture
    4. Categories and segments of potential customers are identified
    5. Competitive market potential of the opportunity is analyzed
    6. Basic profiles of potential customers are created
    7. A strategy for understanding customers’ context and needs is developed
    8. A plan for developing customer empathy is prepared and implemented
    9. Insights related to customers’ context and needs are developed
    10. Insights related to the proposed product or service are developed
    11. Insights related to market and competition are developed
    12. Insights related to differentiated customer benefits are developed
    13. A solution concept representing the product or service is developed
    14. Strategy for validating the solution concept is developed
    15. A plan for validating the solution concept is prepared and implemented
    16. Insights related to the product or service are developed after validation of the solution concept
    17. Insights related to customer and market are developed after solution concept validation
    18. Factors influencing the viability of the venture are identified and analyzed
    19. Risks related to the launch and growth of the venture are identified and managed

    This is an extract from Ajay Batra's book -The Startup Launchbook (, published by Wiley