How to Validate your Next Business Idea

Are you guilty of running away with a dream before really validating business ideas? Here are a few tips to get you on track.

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Are you an aspiring business owner with a head full of amazing ideas? Do you find yourself constantly daydreaming about your next big venture? Well, the road to success begins with knowing how to validate your business ideas – and we’re here to help!

Yet, as businesses have been constantly pivoting and shifting in the last few years, new ideas need to be vetted more carefully than ever. This is why I am taking the new and exciting venture and going extra slow with it.

I am letting it simmer, I am asking hundreds of people what they think and whether it could be something of use for them. I am asking uncomfortable questions, challenging myself to get answers I do not want to hear.

Being too attached to your idea could be the death of your business dream. In the best case scenario, you have it all figured out, in the worst case scenario, nobody is truly interested (or ready) for it.

Most times though, you just need to loosen the grip and adapt your idea to what your audience needs and wants. Seriously, checking your ego at the door is the best way to produce something truly spectacular.

Using the jobs-to-be-done framework for idea validation

The jobs-to-be-done framework may sound like a silly game or a magic spell, but this method can actually help businesses come up with better ideas.

The premise is simple: when customers buy a product or service, they are essentially “hiring” it to do a job. By understanding the job they want done, businesses can better tailor their offerings to meet customer needs. Here are a few ways the jobs-to-be-done framework can help generate better business ideas:

  • Identify gaps in the market: By assessing the jobs customers need done but can’t seem to find a product or service that does it adequately, businesses can find a niche and capitalise on it.
  • Create more effective marketing messages: Knowing the job customers want done can help businesses speak directly to their needs and goals, making them more likely to buy.
  • Innovate on existing products: By understanding the job customers want done, businesses can improve upon existing products to better fulfil their needs.
  • Expand target demographics: By understanding the jobs multiple customer groups need done, businesses can expand their reach and target new markets.

All in all, the jobs-to-be-done framework is a powerful tool that can help businesses create products and services that truly meet customer needs.

Four unconventional ways for validating your business ideas

Who says validating your business idea has to be boring? While traditional methods like market research and surveys can be effective, there are plenty of fun and creative ways to test the waters too.

Here are four unconventional methods you can use to validate your next big idea:

  • Practice review mining: Analyse customer reviews of similar products or services to see what people like and dislike about them. You can use this information to improve upon existing products or services and make your offering even more attractive to potential customers.
  • Run a crowdfunding campaign: Put your idea on a crowdfunding platform like Kickstarter and see if people are willing to put their money where their mouth is. If you can successfully raise funds, you’ll not only have validation of your idea, but also some startup capital to get going.
  • Host a launch party: Invite potential customers to a launch party and let them try out your product or service in person. You’ll get valuable face-to-face feedback and potentially make some early sales.
  • Build a landing page: Create a simple landing page that explains your idea and how it works. Run ads to drive traffic to the page and see if people are willing to sign up or provide their email addresses to learn more.

Let’s take the crowdfunding campaign, for example, as a way to validate business ideas.

While many people fear a failed crowdfunding campaign, the smart cookie (that is you, right?) knows it’s a much better alternative to investing thousands of dollars of money, and months or years of time, into a business or project upfront, only to have it fail.

A successful campaign gives you the confidence that there’s a market for your product or service BEFORE you run off and create it and better still, it will harness a group of passionate supporters who believe in your vision and will cheer you along every step of the way.

Do not want to invest time in crowdfunding? Doing some market research on campaigns with similar USPs could provide a lot of insights as well!

How do you validate business ideas: ask the right questions

Regardless of whether you are looking to refine a current product, validate a new project or simplify your overall strategy, asking the right questions (to yourself) and your customers is a game changer.

I was working with a client on creating a strategy to launch a series a live class on the topic of public speaking.

We needed to decide on a time that would work for her classes.  We headed to Facebook groups as well as two dedicated Instagram polls to find out the best time for her audience.

  • Together we chose a platform that had enough people that fit the target market we were focusing on
  • By running one-question polls we were able to get a better understanding of their preferred options

Four ways to validate products with questions

Truth is, not all questions were created equal. Hopefully, by implementing these questions, you can become a better listener for the people you are trying to serve.

Here are four things you need to bear in mind when asking questions:

  1. Understand your audience: who are you trying to help? This is the best time to clarifying demographics and understanding habits of your potential customers.
  2. Understand demand: Highlighting needs and problems will help you analysing patterns and user behaviours. You will be able to see what is the biggest problem you are trying to solve.
  3. Understanding the product: this is where your potential customers can truly guide you. How can you create the product that will fit your audience’s needs? When yo truly think about it, your customers will interact with the product far more than yourself.
  4. Tackling objections: this is the perfect time to clarify objections. By highlighting struggles you can figure out why a product like yours is not in the market yet or how you can stand out from the crowd. This will also help you mapping support system.

Are you looking for help with what kind of questions you should ask? Platforms like Typeform have a selection of templates you can use to help you creating powerful questionnaires.

When in doubt, fail fast and adapt accordingly

Now that you’re armed with the knowledge of how to validate your next business idea, it’s time to put your thinking hat on and get to work.

Use the jobs-to-be-done framework to understand your customers’ needs, and don’t be afraid to try some unconventional methods for validation such as testing through social media or throwing a launch party.

Just make sure you’re asking the right questions and really listening to the answers.

With these tools in your arsenal, you’re well on your way to creating something truly special that will stand the test of time. Go forth and conquer – the world is waiting for your great idea!

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