How to validate your business idea before you take the big plunge

If this title has perked your interest enough to read further, chances are you know how hard it is to start a business from scratch. It takes discipline, money, faith and trial and error to build something feasible and something that actually makes you enough money to provide for you.

In order to get started (the hardest part, lets be real) you need to figure out if your idea and what you plan to offer has legs and is compelling enough for people that don’t know you to spend their hard earned dollars on your business. Your success hinges on you taking the time to validate your idea before investing too much of your time and money in it.

We’ve been here. Not long ago actually! We have so many start-ups mention that they had been sitting on an idea for years and didn’t know what to do with it because they were scared of failure. So we have compiled a list of several ideas to get the ball rolling on validating your idea.

Establish the problem that you are solving

Your future customers want to know what problem you are solving for them with your product or service. A successful idea usually stems from an offering that enhances their customers lives by eliminating a problem. For example: A noise cancelling headband for the plane or a graphic design service that focusses on illustration. Whatever it may be, if you can establish what problem it solves, you can include this in your communications.

Figure out your audience

What kind of customer do you want to aim to engage with? See if your ideas coincide with the wants and needs of the market you want to enter into.

Stalk your competitors

So don’t “actually” stalk them. That’s illegal and you won’t win any friends. But regardless of your line of work, there is always someone doing something similar to what you do and you need learn about it. Knowing their strengths and weaknesses will give you an opening edge. It could also provide an opportunity to fill a gap in the market.

Conduct a survey

Surveys are a great way (perhaps the most effective) to gauge the needs, interests and gaps in your industry. You could do this face to face, or via email or another online platform. Offering something small or the chance to win something is a great incentive for people to hand over their thoughts.

Engage with a mentor or advisor

A fresh outside perspective from a business point of view could prove very valuable. Sometimes this can cost money or it could just be a matter pf friending someone with knowledge and picking their brain.

Price your product

A great way to do this is to find an online source that gives you access to many people at once and ask the question. For us, this was a facebook group for business people. Ask what they would pay for your product and work out the general consensus. Then you need to work out where it sits with your cost price. This step is important and the more people you get this information from, the better!

Create a landing page

Having a landing page gives potential customers (or investors) an idea of what your product or service is all about. If you are not savvy in the design space, engaging with a professional could be a good idea for this step. Here, you can encourage your audience to subscribe to stay informed which can give you a nice little network to push your business through it in the early days.

Create a crowdfunding campaign

If your business fits the criteria and your concept is unique and compelling, platforms like kickstarter can prove great in validating interest in start up ideas, regardless of whether or not it results in funding or not.

Follow up on feedback

If customers or your subscribers offer feedback in any way, through the trial process, it is so important to listen. Not only could it be very valuable information that could shape your business but it will also gain the trust of your audience and humanise your business in this digital world we live in.

Trust yourself

Half hearted is no approach when entering a journey like this. If you don’t believe in your business then why would anyone else believe in it enough to invest in it by buying your product or paying for your service.

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