Seven Ways to Validate Your Business Idea
It All Starts With a Great Idea
Since you landed on this article, you are likely acquainted with the thrill of conceiving a great business idea. Whether it came to you as an epiphany or you have been brainstorming ideas for years, you recognize the surge of energy you experience when you land on an idea you are sure will change the world. You’re ready to dive in head first, right?
Although it can be tempting to jump immediately into realizing your vision by transforming it into a business, we recommend validating your idea before launching your business. Consider using your momentum to test your theories and gather evidence to make an informed conclusion about the chances of success for your new business. No one has unlimited money (except for Jeff Bezos, of course), so think about making a smaller investment towards testing the potential of your idea before building it into an entire business.
By taking a few (or all) of these steps towards validating your business idea, you will verify whether there is a need for your product or service, thus increasing your chances of success when your official launch date finally arrives.
1. Define the Problem You Want to Solve
It can prove challenging to convince someone to change their behaviors, so understanding exactly what problem you’re solving and the best solution to solve it will help your chances of product or service adoption, traction and success. How do you figure this out, you ask? Talk to strangers.
2. Talk to Strangers
Find folks who you believe may be experiencing the problem you defined in step #1. Strangers can give you great feedback. They are not emotionally invested in you and can be totally honest in their feedback in comparison to friends and family. Ask strangers what their biggest challenge is when dealing with (insert problem here). Find out if they have a solution to this problem, what specific solutions they have tried and how the solution could be better. Maybe you find out the people who you thought were experiencing a particular problem actually aren’t. Perhaps you find out they are experiencing a problem that is different, or much bigger than you imagined.
Send out surveys (Surveymonkey, Typeform and Google Forms are great resources), set up a Zoom or Google Meet call, post a question on Reddit, or approach folks in a parking lot where you think they might shop. Regardless of how — just talk to them.
3. Find Out Who Your Competitors Are
Are there already big players in the game? If so, you may still be able to tap into the market, but you will want to consider how your company is better or unique. Have you found few or no competitors? This could be an incredible opportunity to tap into the market early, but there may also be a good reason why a similar solution doesn’t yet exist. If you are unable to find out who your competitors are by searching the internet, you may get some unexpected tips when you ask people what specific solutions they’ve tried to solve their problem.
4. Look Into Google Trends
You can find out if search terms related to your business idea are popular, when they reached peak popularity and which variation of the term is searched for most often. You may be surprised by what you find when researching slight variations of the same thing. For example, if you are interested in learning how often people have researched “coworking” from June 1, 2020 to June 1, 2021, you will find that the word “coworking” is generally a more popular search than “coworking space”. Such insights into how your target audience uses Google may help guide your journey towards launching the business that your customers want.
5. Create A Landing Page
Whether you’re interested in launching a software application or a brick and mortar storefront, a simple landing page is a fantastic way to help you gauge interest in your idea. When you create a landing page, include your company name, a brief explanation of what you’re offering, and a way for potential clients to provide their contact information. You can test whether there is interest based on how many contacts you receive. Even better, if you allow your potential customers to prepay for your product or service and money starts rolling in, you know you’ve got an idea. One of the best measures of success for a new company is when people willingly open their wallets and pay.
Here are just a few of the many resources available to make an easy and affordable landing page:
6. Get Funded
Pitch your idea to investors — if the idea sticks and you get funded, this is a surefire validation of your ideas potential. Another way to obtain investment money is to launch a Kickstarter or GoFundMe. Not only can you receive crowdsourced funding this way, gauging interest with every dollar, but you can also start to build up your customer base, “kickstarting” your launch with eager customers from day one.
7. Design a Prototype
Building a smaller, more simplified, or single version of your product gives folks an opportunity to interact and give feedback. This is particularly valuable if you are considering additional iterations before launching at scale. When it comes to software application development, you can even decide to create an “investor-ready” prototype or a “production/development-ready” prototype, depending on your budget.
Validation is Key
By experimenting with these seven simple steps, you will be able to determine whether your business idea has true potential, increasing your chances of success in the long run.
A big part of our job as a software development company is to speak with hundreds of people every year about their business ideas. We can turn these ideas into a quality product no matter how great (or bad) the idea, but even with a state-of-the-art web or mobile application to support it, there must be a market for the product or service in order to succeed.
Interested in learning more about validating your business idea and the behind-the-scenes work that goes into creating a successful mobile application? Check out the Lithios Mobile App Roadmap or contact us directly to schedule a meeting!
Kassidy Jezierski leads business development at Lithios. She works to clearly communicate the capabilities and optimal engagement opportunities between Lithios and its clients. In her free time, she enjoys fingerpainting pictures of lambs and docile sheep.