7 Ways to Confirm If You Have a Great Business Idea10:39 AM
By now, you’ve discovered a potentially great business idea and you’ve thought about exactly what it...
By now, you’ve discovered a potentially great business idea and you’ve thought about exactly what it is you’re going to offer people and why it has value. Next, you need to get out there and start talking to your potential customers. Given that you already know how to talk to people about your business idea, this is going to be easy! The goal here is to learn as much as possible about the problem you’re trying to solve from the customers point of view and to get as much feedback as possible before you spend too much time or money on it.
WHERE TO FIND YOUR IDEAL CUSTOMER?Actually finding the people who represent your ideal customer can be a challenge for every business, but here are three tips to get you started:
- Use your target customer group’s shared interests, hobbies, or values, to look for Meetup groups or online communities on Google +, for example.
- Visit the shops or locations of existing companies in the industry you want to enter, and chat with people to find out why they go there.
- Talk to friends and family who already buy products/services similar to yours to see what they like and why they like it.
WHY YOU NEED TO HAVE THESE CONVERSATIONSIt is crucial to confirm that the thing you’re planning to offer is something this group feels they need. To get the most of these conversations, try to:
- Confirm that the problem you hope to solve with your business is a problem they actually have.
- Determine the extent of the problem: Is the problem a minor inconvenience or something that really has a negative impact on their lives? By solving a major problem for people you will be able to create real value.
- Listen. People may mention details or bring a different perspective to the problem that you hadn’t thought about and these things matter! They may also mention other problems they need solved which can spark additional business or product ideas.
- Find out if they would be interested in helping you test your idea as it progresses.
7 WAYS TO CONFIRM YOU HAVE A GOOD BUSINESS IDEATo confirm whether or not you have a potentially good business idea, try these seven things:
- Again, talk to people: The more people who can confirm that there is a problem to be solved and that your business idea can solve it, the better.
- Find business or startup events that let people pitch their business ideas for feedback: This group may not be your target customer, but can offer different perspectives on how to approach solving the problem you want to solve and objective feedback on how you can improve your idea.
- Use social media to talk directly to your ideal customer: Join communities on Google+ and begin discussions about the problem, follow and start conversations with people who fit your customer profile via Twitter, post questions to people or communities on Facebook. Again, you’re trying to confirm there is a problem and the extent of it.
- Schedule interviews: Ask people who fit your customer profile if you can interview them at another time. Prepare specific questions that will help you discover more about the problem you want to solve and their ideas for how to solve it. Another option is to do this online using Google Hangouts.
- Conduct surveys: There are plenty of free online tools out there such as Survey Monkey, Zoho Survey, and Google Forms that allow you to send customized surveys to confirm your customer demographic information, for example. If you want to do in-depth qualitative research, Google has a tool for that too.
- Prototyping: Some ideas require a prototype, or a really stripped down, basic model or example of the finished product that people can see it, use it, and test it to confirm that it has the potential to solve the problem at hand and give you feedback on how to make it even better. The idea is to make this as quickly and cheaply as you can giving people just enough to get a sense of how it works. You may have to do this many times.
- Try a crowdfunding campaign: This requires more work, and is better suited to those who are further along in the development process. The idea here is that you create a mini-campaign for your business on a crowdfunding platform, like Kick-starter for example, and let people use their dollars to let you know what they think of your idea. At the end of the campaign, however, you have to be in a position where you can deliver a finished product to the people who contributed.
With these tips and tricks, you should now have plenty of ideas for how to confirm or validate your business idea and get the feedback you need to make it even better.