(This was my answer to a question on Quora)
In a focus group, for evaluating the potential of an idea, your goal should be to test all the assumptions that you have for your venture. Apart from the concept itself, there will be several assumptions on the ‘business’ around that idea that you will need to validate (e.g. pricing, availability, brand personality, etc.)
- How deeply does the consumer/customer feel about the problem that your idea is solving : The more pressing the problem, the more relevant your idea is likely to be for consumers.
- The concept – the power of the idea itself: Do the consumers/customers see the value proposition in what you offer?
- Do people like the way your idea delivers the solution: I.e. does the product work for the consumers/customers as you had expected it to?
- Look for insights: Listen to what people are telling you about the problem that your idea is solving. See if your product does a good job or a great job at delivering the solution. See if the response is a ‘nice’ or a ‘wow’ as these subtle differences will determine factors like conversion rates, adoption rates, usage patterns, etc.
- The business model: A business model is about ‘who will pay how much and to whom’. Each element of this should be tested in the concept test. i.e. are the consumers/customers seeing the value proposition as you meant it to be, how much are they willing to pay – is there price sensitivity, and if so, how much. (In the case of fremium products, this may not be relevant.)