4 Hacks for Startup Validation
You’re in your bed, trying to sleep. All of a sudden, a brilliant business idea comes to your mind. Of course, you jump out of your bed to write it down. The adrenaline gets going and it takes you only a couple of hours to finish drafting your business plan. So, what’s next? Stop right there before you end up calling your potential employees and investors in 3 AM.
Before you continue working on your business idea, you need to do validate it to see whether it is profitable enough. Here are several highly effective and yet affordable ways to do so.
1. Use Google Trends
How large is the market you’re planning to enter? Who is your target audience? How many similar products are out there? These are just some questions you need to ask yourself. And, nothing could help you answer them better than Google (Google Trends, to be precise).
- Start by searching for keywords related to your business idea. If you’re not sure what phrases to search for, you could use Google Keyword Planner to find the most popular keywords in your niche.
- Search for industry reports to collect data about your industry. These numbers will tell you whether there is a demand for your business idea, as well as whether there is a difference between what you’re planning to sell and what’s already selling.
- Take a look at your major competitors. This will help you see how many companies similar to yours are out there. Take a look at their sites, find their customers’ reviews, and look them up on social networks to see how people feel about your competitors.
2. Search for Amazon’s Best Sellers
Amazon tells you what’s already selling well. Precisely because of this, it can get you some invaluable insights into what works for the industry you’re planning to enter. For example, you could search for the “best sellers” category, which can:
- tell you whether your product’s category already exists. If it does, is there a healthy number of competing products in this niche? If the answer yes, this simply means that there is a rising demand for your product and that people are willing to spend money on it.
- help you if your product is fairly new. In situations like this, you need to take a closer a look at the best selling products in your niche and ask yourself whether your product could improve or complement them somehow.
3. Ask for Feedback
Before you start working on your business idea, you should ask your potential customers what they think about it. This is a highly effective method, implemented by both large corporations and small businesses. As an entrepreneur, you should go with the practices that won’t empty your pockets. Here are some of them.
When it comes to collecting feedback online, social networks are your safest option. Explain your business idea in a sentence or two and share it with your followers on popular social networks, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. If you have a blog, it wouldn’t hurt to elaborate your ideas in a few articles and share them via these channels to see people’s reactions.
Online surveys give you the opportunity to get your target audience’s feedback directly. Make sure that all your questions are clear, concise, and relevant to the people answering them. Now, apart from sharing your surveys via email and social networks, you can also take advantage of some popular online survey tools like Survey Monkey, Typeform, or Client Heartbeat. To motivate participants to answer the questions honestly, you could even incentivize them by letting them participate in paid surveys online.
You could even go to a few coffee shops and interview random people. Ask them if they buy items from your product category and if they do, why? Name your major competitors and ask them what they love or hate about them. Is there anything frustrating about these products? Finally, describe the most significant features of your product and ask them whether they would invest in it right away.
4. Build a Prelaunch Product Page
By creating a prelaunch product landing page and assessing your conversion rates, you will get a picture of how this all would work in practice. You need to make sure that your page is visually pleasant and that it offers an overview of what you’re selling. To drive people to your page, you should promote it on social networks, as well as harness the power of good-old email marketing. This is a popular strategy that can be used to validate almost any product, as long as your target audience is online.
Back to You
By testing your business idea, you will be able to make data-driven decisions, tailor your products to the market’s needs, and identify and resolve all potential problems on time. Unsurprisingly, the similar process should apply whenever you want to add a new product feature, modify an existing one, or pivot your business idea.
What startup validation techniques did you use?
My name is Alex Williams. I am a journalism graduate, and a rookie blogger trying to find my luck. Blogs are the perfect opportunity for presenting yourself to wider audience, getting the chance to showcase my expertise and receiving recognition. I am a regular contributor at Bizzmark Blog “http://bizzmarkblog.com”.