New Business Idea? 3 Ways to Validate It Before Spending a Fortune

These tips can help you determine if you've struck gold ... or a rock

home-based
(Image: iStock.com/Squaredpixels)
(Image: ThinkStock)

 

If you can’t stop thinking about an idea, then it may be time to test the entrepreneurial waters to make sure you have a viable product or service. In a nutshell, viability is about your business’s potential to make a profit. Testing your business idea involves: identifying a problem you can solve or a need to fill with a specific audience, analyzing competitors and potential customers to determine demand, and developing a prototype if needed. Here are a few tips to gauge interest in your business idea:

Online tactics

 

  • Buy a domain name and set up a landing page—a home page typically used to offer a product or service with an option for the website visitor to submit their name and email address to receive more information. Examples of landing pages include a free trial, notification of a product launch, consultation, webinar, etc.
  • Survey your current audience – Create a short survey via Google Forms, SurveyMonkey, Twitter, or Facebook Survey, etc., and ask for feedback.
  • Invest in a Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter Ad – When it comes to advertising, where you invest your money depends on where your audience hangs out at online. With Facebook, you can buy an ad for as little $1 per day.
  • Create a crowdfunding campaign using Indiegogo or Kickstarter. Crowdfunding allows you to test market viability while raising money.

Offline tactics

 

  • Test consumer interest with pop-up shops. You can also showcase your product at a local farmer’s market or industry trade shows.
  • Enter a business pitch competition. Beyond winning money for your business, pitch competitions are a great way to gain exposure and feedback from investors and potential customers.
  • Think and test local. Can a business or organization in your town benefit from your service? For instance, let’s say you want to launch a transportation service for the elderly population. Can you offer a complementary service to a local organization—every Saturday for 30 days? That way you can test your idea and get testimonials about your service.