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NABC - how to test your idea

The NABC model can help you define your idea and think through what really makes the idea valuable to your potential customers. It is also an excellent tool to use when preparing a presentation, or a pitch. The model was developed at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI).

N stands for need, A stands for approach, B stands for benefit, and C stands for competition.

If you do it for the first time, remember that you are not expected to have all of the answers and your NABC will likely change as you progress.

What key need will you meet? Whose key need, specifically? Give examples of companies or individuals. Talk to them!

  • How many such companies or users are there? Where are they?
  • How often do people experience this problem and when?
  • How big is the problem for users or customers, for example in unwanted costs?
  • What will happen if that need is not met?

What is your unique approach to meeting this need? What is your solution, broadly speaking?

  • Do you have any technical issues to solve? What will it cost to produce?
  • How will it reach customers or users? How will it be produced?

What is the customer or user benefit?

  • What is the benefit for the person using it? What is the financial benefit for the person paying, in cash terms? Factor in all types of costs. Will they have to rebuild or reorganise, and at what cost?
  • What will the customer ultimately benefit from this (per year, month or other)?

What are the other solutions to the same problem? What are the alternatives?

  • Check online, interview people in the industry, look in shops, etc.
  • What is the customer or user using instead of your idea?
  • Your biggest competitor will be inertia – it is easier to leave things unchanged than to make even small changes.