Entrepreneurship 101: Validating Ideas


Before a business becomes a business, it's an idea. Ideas with a valid market have the chance to become businesses. But how do you determine if an idea is valid?

The entrepreneurs we talked with advised everything from studying competitors to conducting a formal survey, but they all agreed on one thing: do something to prove your idea is worth the attention of your customers.



Shuey is the co-founder and chief technology officer of Fliphound, an online tool that manages digital billboards and connects marketers, advertisers, billboard managers and more. Shuey considers himself a serial entrepreneur, as he has been a software developer from an early age and is constantly looking at what's next.


Harrison is the founder of Filimin, a unique, wi-fi enabled touch lamp that allows users to communicate across distance with a simple touch to the lamp. Harrison has a background in music and engineering and originally created Filimin as a personal gift to his family before taking it onto Kickstarter.


Frank and Levi were the F and the L in FNL Denim, a premium custom jeans shop and online retailer that recently closed after a little over a year in operation. These entrepreneurs are currently looking for their next adventure.

Photo by Kevin Wildt for We Are Wichita.

Here are a few extra insights from our entrepreneurs on idea validation:

You can put together a widget with a hamster running behind the scenes and go off and validate a product really quickly and very inexpensively and it's the most important thing to do.Brandon Shuey - Fliphound

I think that gut reaction is actually a fairly sophisticated thing where people feel a gut reaction, they don't have words to explain the complexity of how they've come up with how they're feeling so we often dismiss it because of that. But I actually think it can be sometimes a more complex, thought out — if not consciously thought out — way of processing what it is that you're trying to evaluate.John Harrison - Filimin

When we started giving away jeans, obviously we were taking those people's feedback and we were like, 'Okay, this is what we can fix, this is what we can take from that jean.' So we were validating it with every single jean. We were making a pair, bringing it back, fixing it. We were making a pair, bringing it back, fixing it.Levi Fitzmier - FNL Denim


For a simple look at the perception challenge, check out this short video

Dig deeper into the findings and explore James Chung's report

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