If you have a business idea, will you ask your Mom, if it is a good idea?
The important thing is: based on that answer, will you make any key decisions?
You might know that it is a bad idea.
No, talking to your Mom is a very good idea.
Talking to your Mom about your business is also a very good idea. But telling about a business idea and asking your mom, if it is a good one, is a very bad idea.
Not only your Mom, anyone else too.
When you build a product and want to know more about the customers and customers needs, we all want to talk to customers. This is a great idea, but we all make some fundamental mistakes while talking to the customers.
This is the central theme of the book, Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick. Rob goes beyond this and explains how to talk to customers. More importantly, he says how not to talk to customers. Here is an excerpt from it.
Let's say you have an idea, "digital cookbooks for the iPad".
Here is an example of how not to talk to your Mom about this (commentary in the brackets):
Son: “Mom, mom, I have an idea for a business — can I run it by you?” (I am about to expose my ego — please don’t hurt my feelings.)
Mom: “Of course, dear.” (You are my only son and I am ready to lie to protect you.)
Son: “You like your iPad, right? You use it a lot?”
Mom: “Yes.” (You led me to this answer, so here you go.)
Son: “Okay, so would you ever buy an app which was like a cookbook for your iPad?” (I am optimistically asking a hypothetical question and you know what I want you to say.)
Mom: “Hmmm.” (As if I need another cookbook at my age.)
Son: “And it only costs $40 — that’s cheaper than those hardcovers on your shelf.” (I’m going to skip that lukewarm signal and tell you more about my great idea.)
Mom: “Well...” Aren’t apps supposed to cost a dollar?
Son: “And you can share recipes with your friends, and there’s an iPhone app which is your shopping list. And videos of that celebrity chef you love.” Please just say “yes.” I will not leave you alone until you do.
Mom: “Oh, well yes honey, that sounds amazing. And you’re right, $40 is a good deal. Will it have pictures of the recipes?” I have rationalised the price outside of a real purchase decision, made a non-committal compliment, and offered a feature request to appear engaged.
Son: “Yes, definitely. Thanks, mom — love you!” (I have completely misinterpreted this conversation and taken it as validation.)
Mom: “Won’t you have some lasagna?” (I am concerned that you won’t be able to afford food soon. Please eat something)