How To Validate Your Business Ideas Before You Execute Them

It’s simple and it saves you time

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How often did you get a good idea for a business that you never executed? I used to be the master of this. I had ideas for businesses all the time and was convinced it would be a hit. But I never actually validated my ideas.

I just said, “This idea is great!” And just moved on with my life. I never executed my ideas. You know why? I tried several things that didn’t work out. I wasted my time and money. So at some point, I got enough of that.

This is the story of many entrepreneurs. You come up with an idea, you start working on it, no one is interested, and you give up. But entrepreneurship is not something you do; it’s something you are.

In this article, I’ll share how you can easily test the business potential of your ideas. You don’t need to spend money on this process. You just need a drive to succeed. Here are four steps you can apply to test your business ideas.

Step 1: Check if there’s an existing market

There are two possibilities if your idea is non-existent in the world: no one has thought about it (you’re the next Zuckerberg); or the idea simply doesn’t make any money. Or maybe some people even tried it, and failed.

When I started digitalbusiness.school, I only needed to look at which business courses were already successful. Imagine if I simply went ahead and created courses at random — stuff that I assumed would be helpful. I would have spent a lot of time and resources doing something that people may not even be interested in learning!

A successful business shows that there’s existing demand. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying you should just do what everybody else is doing. But it’s important to make sure that your unique solution is solving a general problem.

People love to talk, but that doesn’t mean they do what they say. Just because you see a number of people “demanding” a product on a popular social media post doesn’t mean they will actually buy it. This is cliché, but actions really speak louder than words. And an existing business with paying customers shows that people really want and need that product/service. You don’t need to spend a dime to do this type of research.

Step 2: Soundboard your idea with entrepreneurs

Even for a one-man-one-company business, entrepreneurs still need other people’s input. You want to talk to people who have done something similar in the past; people who have gone through the same problems, and who can now give you practicable insights on what to do and what to avoid.

You will always make mistakes in your business journey, but it helps to avoid the usual errors that others made before you. You can Google things and try to learn everything on your own, but a community can significantly improve your learning curve.

So, where can you find these entrepreneurs to soundboard your idea with? If experienced business people are surrounding you, then you’re lucky. But many of us can only rely on friends and family who may not be as business savvy as needed. This is where online communities can help. You can reach out to forums or social media groups who are in line with your business interests.

Many of the existing online communities don’t really suit me though. So I created The Sounding Board. I wanted someplace where like-minded people can connect with depth and genuine connection.

You can create your own community or reach out to entrepreneurs one-on-one. Just make sure you’re taking advice from people who speak from experience. Just like there are a lot of armchair quarterbacks, there are probably even more armchair entrepreneurs — people who only talk the talk.

Step 3: Create a landing page and get signups

Your business idea has potential. Now, you want to see what your potential customers will do. Will they be interested enough in your product/service to go through the trouble of signing up for your waiting list? To put this step into practice, you need two things:

1. A landing page

Here’s an example of the landing page for my course, digitalbusiness.school. If no one signs up for the waitlist, I know it’s a dud. But if about 10% of the visitors actually sign up for the waitlist, I know I’m heading in the right direction.

2. An email provider

Remember to use the free trials that nearly all software companies offer! Before I started my blog, I tested out a lot of different solutions. I would just sign up for a free trial and tried to test my idea within the 14-day or 30-day trials. It also gives you a sense of urgency. Look, when you’re not generating cash with your business, you want to stay practical. Avoid wasting your money. When you validated your idea, you can always pay for the software.

Step 4: Launch an MVP

I’ve been there many times. I always thought I needed more time to “perfect” the product. Another classic one is, “I need to do more research.”

Nope. You need to launch. Simply create a minimum viable product. Emphasis on minimum — not the most perfect and best product in the world!

You don’t need to create products or features that no one needs from the start. Just work on the customer experience. This may not sound like a very big deal at first, but a page that loads too long or a shopping cart that loops in an error can easily discourage a buyer.

You want everything to be professional and seamless. I use Kajabi to host my courses. But again, all these popular platforms for hosting courses will do. No matter what you do, don’t get hung up on tools. It’s just like smartphones, they all have the same features. Just pick one you like.

Conclusion

Written by

Creator of the Stoic Letter (new letter comes out every Friday) | Author of 7 books and 6 courses at dariusforoux.com

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