If you’re reading this then you probably have had some good ideas that perhaps you want to put into action. And that’s great! Becoming an idea machine takes consistent practice and patience. If you’re like me, you are constantly trying to come up with different business ideas. Whether it’s a physical product or a service that you want to offer, it’s crucial to read the rest of this post to save yourself a lot of time and money.
Validating your ideas is one of the most important things you can do. It is crucial that this step in the process comes before you ever buy a website or product supply. Validating your ideas means that you gauge the interest of your product to your customers. If you have a product in mind but don’t know who the customers are, then that product might as well be worth nothing because you don’t have a clear idea of who is going to buy it. That’s why it is always important to think of the customers first, then come up with an idea that solves that group’s problem. If there are no customers and no problem, then there is no solution to solve or sell. This is the most fundamental step of creating a business around a product.
How can we validate our ideas? There are a few ways to do this. One of my favorite ways is to use Reddit groups or Facebook groups to see if anyone would buy your product. Keep in mind, this is before there even is any product to sell. You may need a picture of the product and maybe even a demonstration to display what it looks like and what it does. But, there is no need to pay for a website or product yet because you don’t know if people even want it yet. Let’s say you have an idea for a massage product for weightlifters. After you work out the kinks of the idea and develop what specific problem you are trying to solve, then it’s time to validate. There are countless fitness Reddit pages and Facebook groups you can join to gauge their interest. If you don’t know what groups to follow or join, then your product is too wide and it won’t work. It’s important to stay narrow when starting out. You can get as specific as you’d like when looking up groups on social media to poll around in. In fact, the more specific the better. For instance, if you happen to come across a page titled “weightlifting massage therapy”, then you are in luck. The more niche the better and the better the response rate will be. Once you join these groups, search around for people complaining about the problem you are solving. The more recent, the better. Then go ahead and either post a response or send a private message to that person. In this response, try and be casual and don’t come off as a desperate salesman. You want to show that you have access to this product that solves their problem. Show them the pictures and how it’s used and the benefits that you’ve seen by using it. Then offer to sell them one. The price doesn’t matter at this point. If you are too stuck on choosing a price, just use $10. You can change that later on. For now, you want to prove that people will actually exchange money for your idea. If they choose not to buy it or there’s no response, then move on to the next person or page. If they do actually want it, then you just made your first sale and you are officially an entrepreneur. It’s important to note that only an exchange of money counts as a validation. Lots of people say they would buy something but when you actually ask for the money they change their mind. Only count it as a win if the money is exchanged. More importantly, you have proven that your product has demand. You aren’t necessarily ready to start buying a website or product supply, but it is a good start. More validation is needed before you buy anything. Keep doing this method for about a week. If you have enough validation where you feel it’s time to start taking it to the next level, then great. However, if you are finding it difficult to validate or aren’t getting anyone to buy, then the idea needs work. Go back to the drawing board and adjust. Perhaps you can ask the people you reached out to why they didn’t buy the product and you can take that into consideration when adjusting the idea.
Doing this method all over the internet is great at validating your ideas. Another way to validate is to post on Craigslist or Ebay. Make a post of your product exactly how it’d look if you were actually selling it right now. Put up pictures, maybe even a video of how it’s used, and describe the product and the problem it is solving in the post. If you get someone that wants to buy your product. Boom. Validated. Although you can’t rely on just one person wanting to buy, it is a great start so keep validating until you’re comfortable making the next step. Take your time with validating and do not rush. It’s better to over validate and take a while than it is to under-validate and buy a bunch of supply only to realize not many people are buying it. When in doubt, validate.
There are also other basic ways to validate like asking friends, family, and colleagues. This is a good method but keep in mind they are most likely looking out for your best interest and may sugar coat their reactions to you. Make sure to ask them to put their money where their mouth is and buy your product. No money transaction, no validation.
You may be thinking what if I get validation and the customers actually give me money even though I don’t have any real product to sell them. This is easy. Mention to them that your stock ran out fast and you don’t have any more currently, but you are expecting another supply shipment in soon. Then give them the option of either returning their money or holding onto it, promising them the product when you get supply.
Once your idea is validated and you are confident about the interest of your idea, then it’s time to find a supplier. At this point, it still isn’t crucial for a website seeing how you just made multiple sales without one. For now focus on supply. When you start to get more orders, then set up your website and maybe even your social media. I recommend paying a professional to build your website for you. They will do a much better job than you unless you have experience building websites.
You may think your idea is a winner even before going through any validation process. We’ve all had that feeling. Then the next day or so goes by and that feeling fades. It’s important to understand that no one cares if you think it’s a good idea. It only matters if your customers think it’s a good idea. If you are in the validation stage of your ideas then these are exciting times. This is when you’ll get immediate feedback over something you created in your brain. Validation is a key way to avoid wasting time and money and to make sure people actually want your idea before you risk any money or time for it. And remember, it’s always better to over-validate. Best of luck!