Richard Branson once said that business ideas are like buses. There’s always another one coming.
If we analyze what goes on in our mind in one day, assuming we’re creative individuals and entrepreneurs by heart, there will be some solid ideas we’d even decide to turn into reality.
But there’s just not enough time to work on each; give it a try and see where it goes. What’s more, most of these won’t work. Be it because there’s no market for it, isn’t something we’re passionate about that we can dedicate our life to for the next few years or even decade, or because we don’t have the skills, team or preparation to execute something like that.
There are many reasons why an idea might not work. That’s why it’s crucial to validate it long before you start investing time and resources in turning it into a real business.
So the next time a business idea pops up in your head, here’s what you should do first to make sure you’re working on something worthwhile:
1. See if there’s a market for it
Some ideas sound too good to be true, and they probably are. Do research, look around to see if others are making money in the same niche in a similar way. Go on Amazon, YouTube, Udemy, etc. and see what topics people are looking for the most, and whether or not the top products in these categories are making profit and think if you can create something similar.
2. Don’t innovate, solve a problem
Setting the goal of creating the next hot social media network that will be bigger than Facebook and Instagram, is just not realistic. And you don’t need to go that big. The work it takes, the chaos that will bring to your life, the investors, the lack of any free time, the mistakes that might be worth millions of dollars, etc. That means no personal life, no joy found in the work you do, and so on. So leave innovation for the game changes, the ones who already have initial capital and the connections necessary for that. Instead, focus on optimization.
Have a business idea? Great. Ask yourself if it solves a problem enough people share. Every business, every product or service that’s successful, is based on this – there must be a need to meet, a struggle to help people with and make their life easier. Most profitable online businesses do well because they help their customers save time or save/make money. And these are things we all want.
So think it through. Once you find the problem and think your product is the solution, define this as clearly as you can.
That’s how you’ll promote it to potential users one day, and how you’ll explain what your business is about. Make it short and to the point.
3. Reach out to people and ask question
So far, so good. But you need other people to tell you that it’s worth building a product like that. Otherwise, you can’t rely only on your strategy and the encouragement of the people around you. It’s the users you’re making it for, and they have the final say. So ask them in advance. When doing your research to validate your business idea, you must also find out where your target audience spends time online, what they talk about, etc.
Choose a social media channel they like and use a lot, find them through hashtags, groups, or else, and personally reach out to 10 or 20 people for a start to ask them what they think about your product. You can create surveys with Google Forms, Survey Monkey, TypeForm and Facebook
And because you can’t just ask for something without giving anything in return, offer them to be your beta users and give them something free or discounted in exchange. That’s probably one of the best investments you’ll ever make.
4. Build a MVP
That’s the minimum viable product, the very basic version of how your product/service will look like when it’s finished and ready to be distributed. It’s important to keep it simple. Just create something that solves the problem you promised people to help with, don’t add any other features, don’t worry about design, marketing, or else. That happens at a later stage.
Now get this product to your beta users. Let them play with it a little. Then, wait for feedback.
Be sure that they will honestly tell you what sucks about this product, what they like the most and why, and how to make it even better. Listen to their words, take notes, and go make improvements to your product. That’s the simple and beautiful process of going from an idea to something that can become big, help people and grow your business.
So, any business ideas?