Whether you’re planning on launching a cupcake store in downtown LA, a tech startup in London, or the best IT support services Melbourne has ever seen, you’re probably convinced that you have an original and valuable idea that will transform the industry.
The problem is that if you run with this before doing your due diligence, you could end up launching into a saturated market that doesn’t need yet another cupcake store. Even if your idea is novel, without proper research and a well-devised strategy, you could fail to convince people of its value.
To help you avoid such costly catastrophes, here are five ways to determine whether your business idea will work.
1. Create a prototype
Whether you’re offering a product or service, it’s crucial to test it out first. What’s even more important is that you test it on people other than your close friends and family. Your kids and best friends may clamor for your homemade chocolates, but that doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a market for them. The first step in getting your trial up and running is to create a prototype you can offer to your test group.
2. Test it out
One great way to have a proper trial of your products or service is to offer a limited run of free trials in relevant social media groups. If you’ve created a baby product, for example, you could look for parenting groups on Facebook. Not only will these strangers give you honest feedback, but if they love it, this is also a great way to start building hype for your brand before you’ve even launched.
3. Adapt to feedback
It’s possible that your test group will love your product or service just as it is and praise you as a genius. However, it’s far more likely that they’ll have mixed reactions, with some praise and some constructive feedback. It’s crucial that you’re open to constructive criticism, as this is the tool you need to hone your idea and make it truly viable. So, be willing to adapt your business idea to account for the feedback offered.
4. Organize discussion groups
If things seem to be going well and your test group has mostly positive things to say, it’s worth seeing if you can get them together for a discussion group. You can host this in person or online via platforms like Zoom. The idea here is to cross-reference the feedback to ensure you don’t end up chasing your tail.
For example, one person may think the product is too large while another thinks it’s too small. In a discussion group, you can find consensus among the participants that will give you guidance on what to do. It may be that only one person thought it was too big, so the smaller version is the way to go. Or, you may decide to release your product in a range of sizes.
5. Test and test again before launching
Many entrepreneurs rush to launch before they’ve really honed their idea. This can lead to a lukewarm or negative response from the market, and it’s far harder to undo a bad reputation than it is to build a good one from scratch. So, keep repeating the testing process until your product or service truly shines.
As you work through these steps, maintain an open mind and be prepared to let go of your idea if it’s not as brilliant as you thought. The good news is that by following the above steps, even a shaky idea can be honed into something genuinely novel (and profitable).