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How to Start Your Business - 10 Week Challenge

Week 2 Challenge: Validate your idea and find if people will pay for your idea

One of the biggest mistakes new entrepreneurs make is building a product which no one wants to buy. If you have an idea, you tend to get blinded by the potential of it. You dream of people all over the world using the product and singing praises about your business.

Several entrepreneurs start with similar dreams only to fail. As much as you love your idea, you must try to validate it's potential before you spend all your time, energy and money on it.

Many entrepreneurs are worried that someone will steal their idea if they try to get feedback on it. Well, ideas are a dime a dozen. No matter how good your idea is, it remains an idea without great execution. So stop worrying people will build your product secretly behind your back faster than you do. The truth is the exact opposite. You will have trouble convincing another person to trust the potential of your idea and join you as a partner.

How to validate your idea?

Unfortunately, validating your idea can turn tricky depending on what you're trying. Some can be easily tested while some require a leap of faith. But here is a general direction to check for signs on how your business would do.

Firstly, is your idea solving a problem?

  • If yes, you are off to a good start.
  • If not, it doesn't necessarily mean your idea is bad. You might have to consider how your business makes money. For example, Instagram does not solve any problem directly but still runs as a successful business.

Other ways to validate your idea

Build a MVP(Minimum Viable Product)

Whenever possible try to build your business on a small scale before you dive all in. For example, if you are building a software product, launch with a small set of features to check how the market reacts. If you want to start a fitness gym, try a free beach workout to find out the feedback.

But not always can you build a MVP. For example, if you intend to start a restaurant, you cannot start with 10% of the restaurant. You have to think of other ideas like starting in a smaller outlet or fewer cuisines.

Are people paying for a business similar to yours?

Irrespective of your passion for the idea, you need people paying you to be successful. In some cases, like a restaurant, the answer is obvious. If you serve good food, people will pay for it. But in some other cases, the answer may not be easy to figure out.

For example, if you intend to build a tool that helps in making Instagram photos more likable, you do not know for certain if people will pay for it. Maybe people would, maybe people wouldn't.

Here are a few questions to help you gain some clarity:

  • Would you pay to use your product? As surprising as this seems, so many entrepreneurs build products which they themselves would never spend money on using.
  • Would your friends pay for the product?
  • Would the people who need the product be willing to pay money and use it? If yes, do you believe enough people will buy the product to make your business successful?

Do market research

The smartest way to validate your product is to do a real study. You can create polls on social media, ask questions on Quora/Reddit.

Before you even start building your business, ask 10-50 potential customers if they would use your product or service. If yes, try to find out how much would they pay for it. Do not talk to known people like friends and family because they might lie to make you feel better.

Please Note: Just because people tell you they will buy the product does not mean they will pay for it. Your actual confirmation comes only when a customer pays for it. But the feedback still helps you validate your idea because if people tell you that they won't use it or pay for it, you know what people think about your business.

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