As an entrepreneur, ideas should be flowing into your mind so fast that you hardly have the time to write them down. You get ideas while having a shower, jogging or even when you are driving.
Just like many, you believe that those ideas were great and you went on 5th gear; setting up the business from ground up, buying equipment, etc — the whole 9-yard.
There is only one fear you have at the back of your head, the fear of failing. You buckled up and the belief was so deep that it totally blocks off your fear. And you thought it was great as that’s exactly what you need!
Weeks and even months past but you are yet to make the first sale (okay, probably a few but not up to the mark you’ve been hoping for). Sucks right?
So, what really went wrong?
Ladies and gentlemen, my fellow entrepreneurs — the biggest mistake you had done is not validating your business ideas in the first place.
The process of validating business ideas is extremely important, if not compulsory. It allows you to:
- Drill down the targeted market that may purchase your product
- Define the buying power (price that potential customers are willing to buy)
- An estimated profit (or lost) within the first 6 to 12 months after launching the product
And if you have no idea where to start validating your business ideas, you’re at the right spot. Even if you know what to do, carry on reading. You may find a thing (or two) that would be important for your business.
Related post: Top 10 Marketing Tips On A Shoestring Budget
Here are the top 5 smart ways to validate small business ideas as an entrepreneur.
1. Use Google Trends
Google Trends allows you to check on the search trend for the past year and this is important to see the growth (or reduction) in the specific market you are targeting. Plus, the new Google Trends feature also provides forecast which is pretty awesome too!
Here’s how you validate business ideas using Google Trends:
For this, I am taking the search term “entrepreneurship”. Google Trends provides three different type of reports; namely interest over time, regional interest and related searches.
Combining all these data would allow you to determine if there is specific market needs for the startup business you have in mind. For this search term, you can see a consistent level and on yearly basis, it goes down in December.
Google Trends also allows you to check for trends based on custom duration and earliest is dated back to 2004. At the same time, you can also compared various search terms against each other.
2. Amazon Top Sellers
If you are selling an eBook or physical product, you can validate your business ideas using Amazon Top Sellers.
Amazon Top Sellers are awarded based on number of sales and review scores. In most cases, sellers are required to sell hundreds of products daily to achieve the mark.
So, how do you validate small business ideas using Amazon?
Upon visiting Amazon, search for the keyword you are looking for and you will be redirected to the result pages. The top navigation bar (as seen below) would have the ‘Best Seller’ option for selection.
After selecting a list of popular product which related to the keyword search would be visible.
What to do when your business idea is not in Amazon Top Sellers?
- Find related topics which are popular and perform a full research on the topic
- Reserve engineer the current Top Sellers and determine the reasons for their success
What to do when your business idea is in Amazon Top Sellers?
- Understand the success stories of the product (what customers like about it)
- Read the review if there are opportunity gaps to improve the product
3. Get early conversion rate figures with landing pages
The guys behind successful website, Start Up Bros use landing pages to validate their ideas.
Instead of spending thousands of dollars in paid advertising, they use landing pages to determine if the idea they had in mind is worth doing (and if there’s market for it).
Landing pages strategy works in two ways:
- Validating business ideas (see if people actually sign up for the beta testing etc)
- Collecting emails to build your email list and use it to launch your product
While this may be an awesome strategy to validate small business ideas, your number one concern is budget. You are working on a shoestring budget and this form of testing just means spending more money, right?
No, not really.
Most landing pages tools would require monthly commitment and in a long run, it literally burns a hole in your budget.
Well, that’s old school to be honest. Tool such as Thrive Landing Pages allows you to purchase once and no further payment required (unless renewing your license in the future — if needed). You may have heard about Thrive a lot recently.
It is the fastest way to create conversion-optimized landing pages, grow your mailing list and build beautiful (and fast loading) marketing pages from scratch.
Here are some examples of landing pages you can build with Thrive:
4. Asking questions and offline validating business ideas
Here’s what I love about the power of asking: You get immediate answers and minus the marketing cost.
You probably have at least a few hundred friends or followers on social media. Pop the question not once but a couple of times throughout the week and use excel sheet to jot down the answers given.
Trust me, you’ll be surprised with the amount of engagement you will get just by asking.
There are two ways to validate small business ideas by asking:
- Asking questions in a long form (approximately 50 to 100 words)
- Asking questions with a shorter version (anywhere from a line of word to a couple)
Here’s a general question I asked recently on Facebook:
5. Imagine yourself as a buyer or potential customer
You have a full list of business ideas to work on. So, what’s next?
Take the time to become a customer yourself. Walk through the buyer’s persona and ask yourself questions such as:
- Why should you buy the product?
- What makes the product better than others?
- Is the product a need or a want? (providing a solution to solve a problem is always better than a product that compliments another)
- Is the path way to buy the product tough?
The trick here is simple. Ask tough questions and no leeway should be given.
Going down the buyer’s persona pathway is important because it helps entrepreneurs (you) to:
- Create proper marketing strategies
- Develop common language about the buyers
- Validate business ideas (duh!)
from 5 Smart Ways To Validate Small Business Ideas http://ift.tt/1FdE89Q contributed by Reginald Chan