Validating your business idea? Make it MOM proof!

Entrepreneurs, designers, start-ups, we are constantly talking to people. Be it in person or digitally through landing pages or surveys on the world wide web. First we talk to them to find customers, after that we talk to them to validate our business ideas, then we want to sell them our business ideas or we want them to invest in us.

As an entrepreneur and ideation trainer educating other (future) entrepreneurs and young professionals, I recognized a concerning pattern.  With pitching seemingly being the holy grail of entrepreneurship, we naturally slide into the mode of selling our business ideas and asking persuasive questions when talking to people. But is this always the way to go? Even if we are in the stage of validating our idea?


We have been so intensively trained to pitch that we tend to forget that there are better ways to get what we want. Guess what! In the stage of validating our ideas, it is actually the worst approach to use!

Panic! Now what? How do we then validate our business ideas? Well … Tech-entrepreneur Rob Fitzpatrick comes to our rescue. (The discussion about the importance of validating business ideas goes beyond this post. I limit myself by stating that validation is the key to reducing risks, shortening time to the market and securing paying customers.) Now let’s get back to Rob Fitzpatrick’s findings about the best ways how to validate our business idea.


Rob Fitzpatrick founded several enterprises and discovered the greatest formula to validate his business ideas. It comes down to this: DON’T MENTION THE BUSINESS IDEA! Why? Because people lie! People are pleasers, especially once we showed them how passionate we are about our business idea. That is why he developed the MOM-test, making a validation process so solid that even our mom couldn’t lie to us.

This test is based on the following principles:

  • Talk less, listen more
  • Talk about their lives, not our business idea
  • Ask about specifics in the past, not about future maybe’s

The MOM-test shows us that when we don’t mention our business idea and ask people about their current lives and struggles, they give us valuable information for our validation process. But, this means, like … a completely different approach! Yes, I know, it does. We need to step away from being the blunt pitcher, a.k.a. the seller, and become the tactful listener.

I noticed something while talking to (future) entrepreneurs and young professionals who attend my trainings, such as last November at INHolland University in Delft. People kept expressing their struggle to become the tactful listener. Formulating the right questions? Orchestrating the conversation without revealing our true motivation? It seems easier said than done.

That is why I developed a training that gives us entrepreneurs and young professionals a validation process that is solid as a rock. So here comes the giveaway of some golden elements which I incorporated in my training. To get a solid validation process we should master the following elements:

  • Find relevant conversation starters without mentioning our business idea
  • Formulate MOM-proof questions we want answered
  • Recognize the useless answers we get

Do you want help with optimizing your validation process or are you interested to learn more about the training? Just send me (Sanne Mylonas) an email via

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