After months of careful planning and a nerve-wracking technological learning curve. You are finally ready to launch your dream business. Once you click “publish” and send out that email … the world (and your life) will ever be the same again
So… you load up that email to all 50 people on your mailing list… and press send…
Sound familiar? If it does, either you’ve moved past what my mentor calls the “Dream Up Stage” and have discovered what I’m about to tell you – or you are still stuck. If you are trying to get your business launched and it isn’t getting off the ground… you need to read this post.
Your business will never make it past the start-up stage without one simple thing.
And, that is market research. Most new business owners are excited to start building so they skip the foundational step of talking with their clients and learning about their needs and problems.
Taking the time to talk to potential customers before putting your offer out there is HARD. I’ve done it. I’ve put a ton of time and effort into several launches for my own business without really stepping back to take the time to see what my audience needs.
My first big launch was a huge 12 week class called Tame the Internet Monster. I covered a different aspect of Internet Marketing each week. One week was autoresponders, the next e-commerce, then social media. The pace was exhausting. I didn’t have many students and the ones I did have didn’t make it to the end of the class . The class was something I would have liked to have taken – but my clients aren’t me. If I had truly taken the time to ask and listen I would have learned that quick bites would serve them (and therefore sell much better). I would have saved a lot of time and money. And, served my students better to boot.
How to Validate Your Product Idea
So, you are sold on trying to do some market research to make sure that your idea is valid before spending too much time marketing it. But, you don’t want to spend a lot of time messing around with validation when you want to be making money now. The good news is the time you spend in this stage is an investment that will pay dividends throughout the life of your business.
The other good news is you can usually validate your business idea pretty quickly without investing a lot of time or money.
Here are 3 steps you can take to make sure that your idea will sell:
- Get out there and talk to your potential customers. Yes, that means you actually have to have a conversation. One live conversation is worth a dozen survey answers – so this is a great use of your time. Ask your potential clients about their business, their struggles, what keeps them up at night. Who have the worked with that they’ve loved – what annoys them the most about your competitors. If you make it clear that you are not selling anything. People are often very willing to help you.
- Create an opt-in page for a quick checklist or report addressing the problem your product or service will solve. If money is an issue, post the opt-in to social media, send it to your list, ask your friends to tell their friends about it. If you can afford it, run some Facebook or Google ads to an audience made up of your potential clients and see how many opt-ins you get. Keep tweaking your opt-in page and message until you are satisfied that you are reaching your audience effectively.
- Create a Minimum Viable Product and Sell It. Don’t put a lot of effort (like I did) into creating a huge unwieldy class. Start very small with something that does not require a lot to create. Instead of a big class, offer a small e-book or even a paid one on one session covering your topic area. Instead of a huge membership site, start with a Facebook group. When you get your first paying customers, you know that you are on to something.
Are you past the “dream up” stage? Want to know YOUR next steps? Check out this excellent blog post where Todd Herman lays out the perfect steps for you to take at every stage of your business.
Need help implementing your next steps? There is a wealth of expertise available to you for free as part of the Time Traders Club – a time and expertise exchange for solopreneurs. Check out Time Traders here.