When starting a business the first people we (usually) jump to for feedback are friends and family.
They are the quickest and most reliable people to get feedback from. Easiest way to get people to try your potential product.
However, I think that this is dangerous. I believe that friends and family are not reliable sources of feedback.
Why? Because they care too much about you personally. They want to see you succeed. They believe you will succeed.
Chances are, if they are a good friend or family member, they will support you even if they don’t like the business itself.
Even if they don’t like the idea they will still say something along the lines of “I don’t like the idea but if you do this I’ll still support and encourage you.”
When you release your product they will be the first ones to buy. When you need advice they will be the first one’s to give it.
When you close up shop however, they will also be the first ones to say, “You know I was always skeptical of if this business would actually work.”
You see, they believe in YOU….not the business itself.
They believe that you will be successful in whatever you do, so if you start a business it too will be successful.
On the other hand, strangers don’t give a shit about you.
They don’t know who you are or why you will be a good person to lead this company.
All they know is whether or not they actually like your idea.
They will usually tell you quite bluntly too. If they try your product and it sucks, they won’t sugar coat it like a family member would.
Strangers are ruthless. When we get feedback on a business, we want that ruthlessness. We want to know whether this idea can survive in the market or not.
Strangers will give you a better sense of this than family and friends will.
Another danger of going to friends for feedback is that they share too common of interests with you.
If all of your friends are interested in beer pong, and you invent something for beer pong, you might get all of your friends interested, and then use this as evidence of validation for your idea.
If you took that same idea to a group of people you didn’t know however, you would get much different results.
Do friends and family have their place in giving feedback and advice? Absolutely. My family members are still some of my most trusted advisors for making business and life decisions.
But if you rely on friends and family for validation it’s a slippery slope. You can end up chasing after false validation.
Go the hard route. Get your validation from strangers and people who don’t care about you. It’s more reliable, and more fun.
No go out there and put your ideas to work!
Also published on Medium.