Before you commit to pursuing a business opportunity, it is good to validate the idea to see how viable it is. At this stage you can also discover possible roadblocks. You can also get an useful advice on how to develop this business opportunity and find partners and allies who can help with the execution. This stage usually includes a some kind of market research or market fit analysis. There are situations when you can get a feedback fast, but sometimes you need to spend time and build a prototype or create a presentation to explain your idea. Below are a some popular approaches that can help you with this.
- Ask friends and family. This is the first and the easiest way to test your business idea is to get a feedback from friends and family. Be careful though, as their opinion can be biased. Further on, in case of tech startups, friends and family is also the first steps to promote your project and find first users.
- Develop an MVP. According to numerous startup guides it is recommended to start with an MVP and provide something to the potential clients as soon as possible without significant upfront time and money investments. It is true, but on a flip side it usually takes time to build a product and get traction. There is a chance that you get scared away after your MVP doesn’t get enough attention. It may took years before you create and refine the final product which will finally became super popular. The truth is that you need to have some trust in your idea and guts to invest into it for relatively long period time before you get a real feedback. Overall, an MVP would help align your product with customer feedback but it is better to be driven by some long term goals and vision.
- Test it on small group of people. If you are going to pursue a business opportunity in sales or import-export, you can sell a few items first to verify market opportunity. Once you feel the demand, you can optimize it and start working with bigger batches. There is a famous rule applicable in this and similar situations “Double-down on what works”
- Ask for feedback on online discussion forums. Asking for a feedback on online discussion forums such as reddit or warriorforum is a good way to see if there is an interest to this idea. If your post something and it goes viral or lots of people respond with their comments, then you are really on something. There is even a phenomena when people try to start business around viral posts on reddit. Don’t be scared that somebody can copy your idea. There are a lot of good ideas are in the air but there are some other factors which are matter such as timing, dedication and execution.
- Survey/Poll. You can create a survey (e.g. SurveyMonkey poll) and ask people to fill it out, for example, you LinkedIn contacts. If there are lots of responses and large number of them are positive, then this is a good sign to continue. If most of the feedback is negative, you should think about possible roadblocks and analyze your idea.
- Offer your service online. If this you are planning to provide a service, offer it online on one or few freelancers websites. For example, it can be freelancer.com, fiverr.com or services section in your local classifieds ads. Consider this to be marketing research which will help you test the market and further shape your idea.