You have arrived at the fateful moment to test your business idea against reality. You may realize that in practice, testing her business idea is not so simple…
Fear of rejection is a disincentive to test your business idea.
Nevertheless, you are in danger and you must be on your guard. Your idea can become your precious one as in “Smeagol” and the ring in “Lord of the Rings“, the British work of J.R.R. Tolkien. Your idea is so precious to you that you seek at all costs to protect it from the potential lusts you imagine from the outside world.
Your idea sounds so great that you might almost be afraid to test it. The anxiety of finding out that NO, it’s not great at all is very present. Taking the risk of realizing that your idea sucks tends to make entrepreneurs too slow to get started.
The best will waste only a few weeks, while for others, they will waste months or even years before finally finding an excuse such as the search for a “perfect strategy“.
In addition, successful entrepreneurs are idealized for the wrong reasons. It is easy to say that Steve Jobs had succeeded in conquering his market through sheer force of will.
The truth is that he was simply able to ride the wave that he was able to perceive before anyone else. It is often said of an entrepreneur that he is creative because he has lots of ideas.
Creativity is part of the process where you can test your ideas with few resources
The idea that the entrepreneur must have total and absolute faith, from the outset, in his idea is simply a myth. Like in a poker game, it is difficult to overestimate your chances of winning. Don’t waste too much of your time and money for test your business idea. It’s like going all-in with a simple pair of cards in a poker game. A lot of great ideas start out great and end up in the “graveyard of business“.
You’re probably wondering : Are there people willing to buy my product or service ? The answer to this question will only reveal itself on the day people decide to buy it or NOT. This is the best way for you to test your business idea.
Many people can follow this pattern :
- They create for months in the privacy of their own homes a training course
- They launch their training without an audience
- They end up desperately trying to generate traffic
2 disadvantages in this approach :
- The first disadvantage in this approach is to have done a training while being cut off from potential buyers without knowing if you are really going to help someone.
- The second disadvantage in this way is that it takes several months before you finally realize that :
- You wasted “6 months” creating a training course.
- You wasted another “six months” trying to sell it.
In the end, you have lost 1 year to realize that your idea does not meet its market !
There is another risk that is hanging over your mind, the fear of failure. This is a fairly common emotional aspect for the simple reason that no one likes to fail. A state that can be reinforced by an accumulation of several business ideas that have all failed.
This fear of failure is a signal from your brain going back to prehistoric times that says, “Beware, if you fail, you will be rejected by the tribe for the rest of your life“. Whereas logically, you have everything to gain and nothing to lose.
In practice, the first step is always the most difficult. Association and shortcuts are often the same “Social rejection = isolation = danger of death“.
Click HERE to discover the kaizen method that will help you in small steps to achieve the success of your projects while eliminating stress “The Kaizen method to succeed“
Among the fears, there are also entrepreneurial fears that will paralyze you. In order to cope with them, you can help yourself by answering the following questions :
- Are you going to be ridiculed by your family and friends ?
- Are you going to be so disappointed that no one is interested in your idea ?
- Are you going to lose everything and end up naked on the street ?
The answer should be NO.
Finding your business idea by making a prototype
Unfortunately, even if you have identified and validated the needs of your potential customers in your quest “to find his business idea“, it will probably not be enough !
Click HERE to find out how to lift the veil on a hard-to-identify customer need and turn it into an opportunity “A customer need that is difficult to identify ?“
To test a business idea has its share of luck. Even if you can verify certain information from the internet, you still need to verify your assumptions through practice. Imagine yourself in a game of poker, you can never be 100% sure that you have the best cards in your hand until the round is over. So you have to play based on your experience with the information you have.
To test your business idea, you will try to sell a prototype made with 3 pieces of string to save you months of useless work. In the same way, you shouldn’t have to spend a lot of money before getting started. Start with cheap or free tools. As soon as your idea is proven, you can invest and become more professional.
The prototype model based on the sale of a product has been popularized by participative launch platforms (Kickstarter, Ululle, etc…). Beyond giving money to these platforms to “finance a project“, it is more to pre-purchase a product at a reduced price.
The model of the prototype in participatory platforms :
- On the customer’s side, it is rewarding for him to have access to a product before everyone else and at a reduced price.
- On the entrepreneur’s side, he can quickly validate his idea with less investment on his product.
The pre-sale model has been perfected by the video game industry :
- On the players’ side, can pay a reduced rate, a game playable but still under development. It is rewarding to see their video game evolve according to their and feel listened to.
- On the developers’ side, get feedback from the players as they go along and can know more quickly if a game can meet a demand.
The customer is no longer just a consumer but a key part of the creative process
Instead of generating a peak of excitement on the day of purchase, the customer will be emotionally invested by the novelties over time and on a regular basis.
Based on these models, your launch will take place in 2 phases :
- You’re going to start by finding an audience (most difficult part)
- You are going to create a formation (easiest part)
To do your training, you will work with a small number of your clients. But not with just anyone, those who have shown you their enthusiasm with their payment.
You have 3 advantages to proceed in this way :
- You will avoid wasting months creating your training.
- Your product will be better because it will respond better to the customer’s need.
- You will keep your motivation because you will know that customers will be waiting for it impatiently.
3 motivations will lead a potential customer to buy your training :
- Your product is THE solution to its HARD (Painful, Urgent and Recognized) problem. It will be ready to wait for its release.
- Your customer appreciates you and will be able to support you.
- Your customer is a kind of “early adopter” who has access to the creator of the training and will be able to benefit from it at a better price before anyone else.
In terms of your strategy and the time you devote to your project, you can use 2 different approaches to find your success :
- First approach : Working six months on a project that could have been launched in 3 months will not double your chances of success.
- Second approach : On the other hand, if you chain 2 projects together for 3 months, this can double your chances of success for one of the two projects working.
If you train your entrepreneurial spirit, by dint of testing your business idea, you will be desensitized to failure. Of course, don’t worry, the fear of failure is a human reaction, quite normal. In reality, it never totally disappears but its effects fade with time.
Finding your business idea is selling it
The only way you can tell if your idea will work is to try to convince someone to buy your product or service. At the end to find out his business idea, there are 2 possibilities :
- Either people buy and bravo, your idea works !
- Either no one buys and you have to change it or simply abandon it.
It is always the market that is the sole judge and has the last word.
Click HERE to find out when a product meets a market demand “Product Market Fit : What is it ?“
At first, you must reduce your idea to its simplest version. Testing your business idea can be done by answering these 5 questions beforehand :
- Does my product solve a real problem ?
- Are there people willing to pay to solve this problem ?
- Can I promote my offer to the right people ?
- Can I create the product that will solve my customer’s problem ?
- How big is my market to achieve my goals ?
Your best strategy is to sell a product before you’ve even made it
You can perform a launch in 3 steps :
- Start by building your audience with a mailing list and wait to reach 1000 subscribers before proposing your product.
- Open your pre-sales for 1 week with a goal you’ve set for yourself. A sales threshold at which you can consider your idea valid. Explain to your first customers that they can benefit from a 25% discount on the final price.
- Your sales objective reached, then congratulations and create your training. If you did not reach your goal then you refund those who paid you. You can cancel your training and start again from the second step with a new idea.
The time of presale should allow you to validate your idea
Of course, there will be some potential customers who will be repelled by the unavailability of your product. On the other hand, you will benefit from the enthusiasm and goodwill of your pre-sale customers to help you validate the idea or not.
It’s always better if you give news about the progress of your project :
- For a software, new features, improvements and added functionality can be announced each month.
- For online training, new modules can be added every week. Your pre-sale customers will be happy to see the product improve with their contributions.
Some people may find the approach of selling a product as unethical or even as a scam. This objection is legitimate and to answer it, you have to be honest with your customers :
- Announce that this is a presale: The “why” of your presale is essential, That is :
- Your need to test your idea
- Your need to finance its production
- Your need to obtain customer feedback as your product progresses
- Make sure that the product is delivered within the time frame you have announced. For example, in the case of a 12-module training course, you can start by producing the first 2 modules to determine how long it will take you to get all your modules out.
You understand that you need to be transparent and get your clients behind the scenes. Reassure them about timely delivery. You need to answer these 6 questions :
- What kind of product will he get ?
- When will it be sent to him ?
- Where are you in the project ?
- Have you identified any potential obstacles that may delay delivery ?
- What are the benefits to your customer of supporting you in pre-sales ?
- What will happen if you don’t get enough sales ?
If you are afraid, answer the following questions :
- As a result of your action, what consequences do you think will occur ?
- How can you protect yourself from these consequences ?
- And even if the worst happens, how can you repair the damage or ask for help ?
By completing this exercise, you will be able to list scenarios in which you can minimize disasters. For example, you can, in parallel with your job, start your new project or take a freelance assignment to cover your expenses.
You can also answer these questions that were asked by Tim Ferris :
Click HERE to find out how to get organized and work less to stay effective and be part of the new blessed “Work less to be happy“
- What will be the benefits to you of your success, even if only partially successful ? The answer may be an increase in competence in this or that field.
- If you do nothing, what will your life be like in 1 year or 3 years ?
To summarize, the best way for you to test your business idea is to determine if it’s worthless or has potential :
- Don’t be afraid of failure
- Avoid wasting too much time and money with the prototype
- Test your business idea by pre-selling it, and be amazed at the benefits for you and your customers.
To go further…
Stan Leloup In : Votre empire dans un sac-à-dos: Décodez la psychologie humaine pour trouver une idée de business, vendre sur internet, gagner votre vie depuis votre ordinateur [Online] Paper book format available in french on : < https://amzn.to/3g1cHH7 >