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 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.
Before you spend a ton of money on your idea, here are few tips to gauge interest:
- Test consumer interest with industry meet ups and 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 about your business idea.
- Think 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.
- Test and measure demand with surveys and research – Create a short survey via Google Forms, Survey Monkey and ask for feedback. Conduct a Facebook or Twitter poll and ask your followers about their interest in an idea such as a course, ebook, webinar, podcast. etc. Research Q& A forums, Facebook and LinkedIn groups.
- Buy a domain name, website 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.
- Invest in a Facebook, Instagram or Twitter Ad – When it comes to advertising, where you invest your money depends on where your audience hangouts 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.
Note: Parts of this article was originally published for BlackEnterprise.com.