3 Ways To Validate Your Ideas Before You Start A Business
Why you shouldn't focus on starting a business first
I personally believe, as an entrepreneur, the last thing you should worry about is starting a business. That's not your job in the beginning. You've got one job and that is to figure out if you have a good idea. And that's just it. Many of these entrepreneurs start a business without dong the most important thing: validating their idea. I'm glad you believe in yourself and your idea - but until you can validate your idea you should not think about starting a business.
It happens more often than you think. There are many reasons why businesses fail, but most of the time it's primarily due to the face that thee business does not solve any real problems. And most entrepreneurs take their idea, without validating it, and turn it into a business. It's very important to note that before you announce to the world that you have a business, you should probably make sure people actually want what you have to offer.
How to know if you have a great idea for a business:
1. Solve a problem
Will your service or product solve a problem many people are facing? How many ideas do you hear from other people and you're unsure if it actually solves a problem. That same questioning you have about their idea is the same method you should have for yours. You may not see your blind spots because you're so in love with your idea.. I mean you came up with it all by yourself. But remember, If nobody has the problem that you have the solution for, nobody’s going to come looking for it
Think about companies that are solving pain points for their audience. Google made search better. Amazon simplified online buying and selling. Netflix solved on-demand streaming media. Uber is trying to make on-demand car service better. If you have been able to identify a crucial problem that you can effectively execute and deliver to market, you will be able to create a real business that matters.
2. Create an early feedback group
Just because you think your idea is incredible means very little when you're starting a business. In fact, it doesn't mean much. An idea turns into a business when you can validate it against the potential target or audience. An early feedback group is one way of validation. Essentially, you're making sure to get input early on around whether your idea is actually needed or not, as well as, what you can do to improve it.
Before you ask people for feedback about your idea and asking them to join a feedback group, you'll need to be able to explain very clearly what your idea is about and what problem you're seeking to address. You can start building an early feedback group by gathering contacts you already have such as friends, family, co-workers, classmates, etc. Once you've identified that list then you need to identify who they know and out of all your contacts if your attended audience is present.
3. Build a proof of concept
After the feedback stage, you should begin thinking about developing your idea. No, do not tell people you have a business yet or should you begin registering for an LLC. Simply put, validate your idea outside of your feedback group. If I wanted to self publish a book, I would first see if people care about the topic I want to write about to see If I'm adding any new value. Once I recieve feedback on my idea, I'm ready to test it. So I'll begin by setting a goal of pre-selling 20 books (yes before even writing the book). If I'm able to get 20 pre-orders, I know that 20 people want to buy my book, therefore I should go ahead and begin creating it. It's important to note that you'll need to justify what that number is or validation.
Here are three outputs you should try to validate:
- Does your solution solves the problem you're attempting to address?
- Is your solution is valued by your future customers?
- Will people pay for your solution?
You don't want to start a business that may not survive. Do your homework, validate your idea and make sure you have a real market for your idea. Don't just start another business, solve a real problem people actually have to increase your chances of success.