There’s an old saying that ideas are a dime a dozen. There’s no doubt that you as an entrepreneur love your new business idea and firmly believe that it has the potential to change the world. But, the fact of the matter is, the rest of the world may not agree.
Not every idea was meant to be.
However, that doesn’t mean it’s time to let go of your idea. Instead, you need to validate your tech startup idea by putting it through a series of rigorous tests.
Validating your idea and the market for your product or service is a crucial step that many would-be entrepreneurs forget. Don’t make that same mistake — use this guide on five ways you can test your startup idea.
1. Friends and Family as a Focus Group
The first step in idea testing is to see whether or not it will resonate with future customers. If you’re on a budget and don’t have a strong network with your industry yet, then your friends and family could serve as a great DIY focus group.
Introduce the idea to them. Ask them to be as objective and critical (constructively) as they can. Then, allow them to shoot holes in your idea and give you real feedback.
2. Market Research and Competitive Analysis
Next up is ol’ fashioned market research. See if any companies offering the same thing already exist in your industry. If none exist, then see if any companies have tried it before, then went out of business (this may be a telling sign that it’s time to move on to the next idea).
Another aspect of market research to keep in mind are complementary products and services. See if the industry for those goods that would complement or partner with your idea is strong.
3. Paid Focus Groups
Paid focus groups are a great way to get feedback from real, would-be customers. There are companies out there that facilitate these focus groups for a small fee. You can get direct feedback from people in your market.
4. Give it Free to Customers… Then Charge Them
Another great way to test your tech idea is to build a quick MVP (minimum viable products) then give it to your target customers for free, telling them that in a few months it may upgrade to a paid version.
Then, in a couple of months, start pricing the product at a low rate, then see if the customer still wants to use it. If no, then perhaps the product doesn’t add enough value to your customer’s day to merit the investment.
If yes, then you know you have a winner. Pretty soon, your SOHO phones will be ringing off the work with requests from new customers.
5. Talk to Industry Leaders
Last but not least, talk to leaders in your industry. Remember that these folks have seen many a company grow, succeed, or fail. They’ll have a good handle on what would and would not work in the industry. Use their knowledge to your advantage.
Validate Your Tech Startup Idea
Now that you know five different ways to validate your tech startup idea, all that remains is for you to go out there and implement your chosen one. Let us know in the comments below which one you’re going with!
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