BUSINESS IDEA TESTING SERIES – PART 3
We’ve reached the final part of our three-day Business Idea Testing Series with Start-up Business Coach Katie Wyatt, of The Wellness Entrepreneur . Throughout the series, Katie will share some generous tips on how and why you should test your brilliant business idea and what you need to ask yourself before you start. If you missed the first two articles, you can catch up on part one and part two.
3 QUICK (AND CHEAP) TECHNIQUES TO TEST YOUR BUSINESS IDEA
Your Mum said she loves it. Your best friend said she’d buy it. Your dog gave you her credit card (or was it her leash?)
Does this mean your business idea is a winner and it’s time to throw in the day job and launch? Perhaps, but if you’d like a little more evidence, I thought I would share a couple of my favourite quick and easy tools to get some social proof that your idea might have legs!
You can do this by going to a large marketplace — such as amazon.com or udemy.com — where people are selling their services and products. On Amazon, you want to search the Kindle Store for books on a topic that is similar to the service you are wanting to sell. Then you want to look at the book’s bestseller rank. If its rank number is less than 150,000, it sells quite frequently. Find a few books on the same topic with ranks like this and you have found a potentially profitable topic.
(If you want more step-by-step tips on this brilliant way of easily researching and testing your idea listen to this podcast by Amy Porterfield)
Create a landing page and see if you’ve got a little somethin’-somethin’ that converts
Don’t retreat from this post with your hands up in surrender, mumbling “I can’t build web pages.” You are looking at the most non-techy person on the planet — yet I have managed to do this!
If you haven’t created your business or website yet, but you want to know if it’s something people might be interested in buying, here is a cool, simple trick. It does require a little bit of spend, but less than $100 will give you good data.
Use a platform to create a sales or landing page (unbounce.com has a good free trial period and a free membership and is what I am using at the moment). Follow their instructions to create a landing page. I recently did this to find out how many people would be interested in purchasing a new product I am in the planning stages of developing. I wrote the sales page using a gorgeous stock photo, describe features and benefits of the product, claimed it was ‘launching soon’ and asked people to sign up with their email address to be the first to know.
At this point you don’t even need an email provider, because Unbounce stores all the email addresses for you. You can export them to Excel and upload them into your chosen provider later.
I then drove traffic to the sales page using a couple of Facebook ads targeting audiences I thought would be most likely to be interested in my topic: Australian, female, interested in health and wellness. Over the course of a week, I had more than 100 people click and look at the page, with 13% of them signing up.
It’s impossible to tell you what number indicates a ‘good’ conversion rate — it really depends. For me, I thought around 10% or more was a good enough sign for me to continue pursuing my idea.
Go old school
Old-fashioned tools for market research and testing are still some of the best. Hours on Google can bring you a range of interesting data on competitors, the industry and market size. My idea I mentioned above is in a relatively new market, yet through some clever Google searching I was able to identify the current customer numbers of my leading competitors, startup investment amounts and key success metrics. This stuff is gold and took only a few hours of my time.
Surveys are easier than ever before with tools such as surveymonkey.com providing access to free online survey builders. You can even target audiences in Survey Monkey. A word of caution with surveys, is that the phrasing of your questions is key to getting trustworthy data. Customer Development Labs http://customerdevlabs.com has some great simple tools and advice on building your survey questions.
Interviews are still gold standard when it comes to getting great qualitative feedback on your business idea. The things you get from interviews that you don’t get in sales pages, surveys or anywhere else, are the ability to engage in a conversation, explore unexpected tangents and read body language.
In the first technique, you’re looking for evidence that others are already successfully making money in the area. In the second, you’re looking for an indication that what you’re offering is interesting enough for someone to hand over their email address (no small feat these days). The third is to really dig into understanding your dream customer’s problems, pains and frustrations and whether what you can provide will be something your customer will pay for.
You need to work out the right plan to test for you and the point at which your data is telling you to give it up or move forward. If you need more help with working out what and how you’re going to test key aspects of your business idea, I developed a free testing plan template for The Daily Guru tribe.
Click below to get yours!
Thanks for reading
I’m building an empire, I’m on the journey. I’m sharing the journey and digging into the empire building stories of those who have made a business out of their personal brand. We talk to entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, authors, coaches and technical experts to help you, inspire you and guide you on your business building journey