Its my first discussion post in the great Rodinhood community & I feel excited as well as a little anxious.
I’ve always believed I had a good gut, a good intuition. That I could go with what I felt was right and it would lead me to make good decisions.
Sometimes it did. Sometimes not so much.
Over time, I’ve learned that I can listen to my gut, my intuition, and I can go with what feels right but I still have to back up every idea, every revelation, every new dream or strategy with data, with metrics & facts.
I have collated 7 different best practices to validate your startup idea without spending a fortune
1. Use Facebook to test your market size. Google keywords & Twitter to understand sentiment
Say you wanted to start an online venture supplying Bluetooth sets to Cars in Bangalore, but you aren’t sure of how to see what the size for interested people is?
I used the ad manager to select people in Bangalore who are interested in Car accessories between the ages of 25-60.
(If you want to know more about using Facebook ads, Keyword analysis , Social Media landscape analysis then I’d recommend taking an online course. I’m a fan of paying for the information that will help me run a successful business.)
2. Have you ripped your idea up and it survived?
You are most likely going to love your idea. Once you put some legs on it, and it gets going in your head, it’s difficult to shut it down. But you can’t afford to be married to your idea right away. You have to rip it to shreds by talking to as many people as you can, people with vested interest like investors, early adopters & potential cofounders and then if it survives, proceed.
Ideas are meant to be attacked, torn apart, and put back together again. You may well want to shield your idea from the harsh sunlight at first, but by the time it’s ready to meet the world, it should also be ready for rain or shine.
3. Hire an (expert) brain to pick
Find an expert in the area in which you hope to build your business. Want to make handmade grass skirts? Want to launch an online business?
Hire a strategist to give you honest feedback, rip your idea apart and look for any holes you do not see yet.
It will hurt, but it will be worth it. Hire a brain to pick.
4. Hold a focus group survey using various validation questionnaire ( 100$ test, ATAR, Kano, etc)
A focus group is a group of people who would likely be your potential customers. You can find them any place you connect with people. (Social Media, small groups, business networks, etc.)
Do not use your friends or family for this unless they are people who would be in your potential customer base (and even then, use them sparingly) It’s impossible for your friends and family to give unbiased feedback.
5. Float the concept or idea on Social networks to see if you get a response?
Test it in a Linkedin group, see if your post gets any likes on Facebook or Twitter, concept videos in Youtube
Quora is my favorite Social Network because it is built around ideas vs.relationships. You can follow topics and learn from experts.
See what experts say about your ideas in Quora and you will have a great start.
Maybe you’re saying, “But Rajiv, I don’t want to put my idea out there. Someone might steal it!” Well, I never worry about putting my ideas out there, nothing is new under the sun. Its not the idea, it’s the execution of the idea & the business model around that idea which matters, no body can steal that from you
Ideas are plentiful, an idea means very little in this world, what matters is testing your hypothesis, executing your business model, building, scaling and persevering.
6. Use Adwords, Facebook ads
Build a quick and easy landing page for your business idea and then buy different versions of keywords from Google Adwords.
Have an email signup box to test how interested the potential customers are in your idea If you get a lot of sign ups, you know you’re on to something. One of the best case studies on this method is AppSumo (finish this post, then come back and click on this link. It’s awesome!)
Check out how Dropbox did it in the beginning using Google Adwords!
7. Try an Idea Validation & Market development platform
With the rise of online businesses, more and more entrepreneurs are using platforms to help them test their ideas.
FHSIdealab platform is built for promising entrepreneurs to Validate Startup ideas. It allows you to connect directly with team member, mentor, investor, early adopter or GTM partner, iterate with them and discuss, develop, innovate and share so that even the smallest idea can evolve into something really, really, big.
Helping entrepreneurs with market development which is mostly ignored during the product development phase
You not only need to validate your startup ideas and stop trusting your gut, it’s your responsibility to do so because a lot of lives depend on you.
How have you validated your business ideas before launching?
Will love to catchup with al of you in the 28th March Open