How to validate your business idea

Imagine – you have an incredible idea for a new business. Let’s say, something that is going to solve problems of half of the mankind (or some significant part of it). If you have at least a pinch of instinct of self-preservation, before you start to relentlessly work to make it happen or even invest your money, you’d better try to validate your assumptions. You have to find out who your customers are (if any) and try to sell them your, currently non-existent, ground-breaking solution. However, how to market a product that does not exist yet? In contrast to my previous post, this is the situation in which it is usually worth to trust data rather than your gut feelings – it requires real market research.

So how to find your customers out there?

1. Talk to people. This can be taken in virtually or literally, it depends on what business you want to run. You can ask your friends and family, but they tend to say white lies about how awesome your idea is and how they would pay a fortune for that (because they just want you to be happy). So rather take the hard way and go for strangers. First, define your possible target group and consider the best way to contact them. If you offer a B2B solution, use your network and LinkedIn. If you have B2C, you can go and ‘roam the streets‘. It is always better, particularly at the beginning, to discuss with people. However, to get bigger sample, you may consider using online surveys like SurveyMonkey and share it on social networks, send it to anybody who could help you. But in that case you lose the benefits of conversation.

2. Create a Landing Page – you do not have to be a programmer. You can use a service like QuickMVP (most basic one) or Unbounce (offers more advanced features, however for your initial validation probably not required). Write a nice copy on your landing page that characterizes what you do (do not forget to include ‘call to action’) and give customers opportunity to subscribe for the service or for more information.

3. Create an Ad – it may be Google Adwords campaign or Facebook campaign, leading your customers to your landing page. If they are interested in your product, they will click on your ad and sign-up on your webpage. You will see how it goes. Either you will experience tons of subscriptions (best case) and you are ready to go, or you receive hardly any. That can mean your idea is not as great as expected (in which case you should abandon it or pivot it), or, you can experiment more with your Landing page and Ad’s copy more, but do not stick for too long with an idea that does not work.

Do you have some interesting testing methods to share?

References:

Pozin, Y. (2013) How to Validate Your Start-up Idea. Inc. Accessible from: http://www.inc.com/ilya-pozin/how-to-validate-your-start-up-idea.html [Accessed 10 November]

Srinivasan, A.(2014) How We Did It: 100 entrepreneurs share the story of their struggles and life experiences. CreateSpace

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