Validating Your Business Idea
Some tips to help you assess if your idea is worth the time and effort
Turning ideas into reality is risky business. Most ideas die on the drawing board because many entrepreneurs get overwhelmed with the process of getting them into market. Here are some things to consider when validating your own business idea.
1. Ask yourself the question, “Will I want to buy this product in the future?”
Sure, your business idea might sound cool, but is it practical for consumers, like yourself? Step into your customer's' shoes and honestly ask yourself if you are inclined to buy your own product. After all, the product you're planning to develop should be something you'd want to use in the future, too.
2. Do your own research.
Before you get too excited about your business idea, do a thorough research first. Chances are, someone may have already developed the product you're planning to create. If the product already exists, learn more about its existing features. In this case, you can focus on improving it and addressing customer pain points instead of starting everything from scratch.
3. Ask others' opinion and welcome constructive criticism.
Try to seek feedback from others before you proceed further. You can try conducting surveys using cloud-based polling platforms such as SurveyMonkey and send the link to trusted professionals, former colleagues, students, family and friends. Majority of those in your circle should honestly think your business idea is worth pursuing. You might have to reevaluate your decision if you're the only one who thinks it's great.
4. Create a simple working prototype.
Before you invest time and money into getting your product out there, check how feasible it is by developing a working prototype first.
Try to run tests and get others to experiment on it, too. The aim is to create the minimum viable product while keeping costs at a minimum to generate user feedback. If your working prototype doesn't turn out to be something you and your test subjects might actually want to use after several tests, the business idea should probably just stay on the drawing board.
Similarly, you can run smoke tests to assess your market's interest. Maybe you can place a simple ad about your products and services, and see if people reach out to you. It's a cheap way to get feedback from your market. You can also set up a landing page or a simple website using WordPress, and use Google Analytics to monitor how many people actually reached your website through your ads.
You can also use a crowdfunding platform to pre-sell your product. Check if people in the platform are actually willing to invest in your business idea. If the results are encouraging, it only means that your business idea has great potential.
Connect with people who can actually help turn your business idea into reality. Find a good mentor or advisor who can guide you in the process. Focus on building a solid network of contacts, especially in the industry you're planning to target. Having contacts in the industry can help you assess how you can actually serve your market better.
6. Develop a plan to acquire clients.
The success of any business largely depends on the quality and quantity of customer accounts. As such, you should start devising a comprehensive customer acquisition plan as early as the planning stage. Investors, especially venture capitalists, place high regard on scalability when evaluating a startup's potential. If you're keen on seeking their help in funding, be prepared to explain your strategy for acquiring new customers and growing your client base.