So you have a great idea for a product. Amazing! You’re bursting with excitement because you know this is going to be ‘the thing’ that helps your business take off.
Well, let’s pause for a minute.
Coming up with ideas for new products can be both challenging and fun. But before you run to your computer to buy the domain name, you need to complete a very critical step… validating your product idea.
This step is often skipped or overlooked by creative entrepreneurs who are anxious to get started building their ideas. Trust me when I tell you this is a bad idea that can become a very costly mistake.
Why You Should Validate Your Product Idea?
Validating your product idea can save you time and money by helping you to determine whether or not your product is something your audience wants and will pay for. This can help you avoid creating a product no one wants to buy.
You’ll also get a better sense of what your audience wants instead of making assumptions. Never assume. It’s not a business strategy built on success and can lead to lots of wasted resources.
Curb your enthusiasm long enough to complete your product validation and you’ll be that much closer to an idea that your audience can’t wait to buy. Here are 4 ways to validate your product idea.
Find Similar Products That Already Exist
Contrary to what most people believe, you don’t need an untapped market to create a successful product.
Because you can utilize the work that your competition has already done by looking at their existing products. They’ve already put in the time and money to validate those products, now you can build off of them.
This was exactly what I did when I created the Visionary Journal. I knew that people were already interested in planners so I went to Amazon, Target and my local bookstores to check out what types of planners they were selling.
I used my research to come up with a list of features that my competitors were missing and made notes of planner must-haves that I needed to include in the Visionary Journal.
Share The Idea With Your Audience
A really simple way for creatives to validate their ideas is to share them with their audience. You’re already sending newsletters and having conversations with them on social media, why not get their input?
Too many creatives make the mistake of trying to build their products in a silo. You don’t have to do that. As a matter of fact, I think that’s a terrible idea.
Why wouldn’t you want the people who you’ll ultimately try to sell the product to not have a say?
There are lots of ways to gauge interest in an idea:
- You can survey your audience using a tool like SurveyMonkey or Airtable.
- Instagram Stories and Twitter both have a poll feature
- You can create a private Facebook group and invite your MVP audience members
The point is you don’t need to keep your idea so close to your chest, your audience can offer valuable feedback.
Create A Mini Version And Sell It
“If you build it, they will come” doesn’t work in the business world. A better strategy?
Building a mini version and seeing if your audience will pay money for it.
One way to potentially get paid to test your ideas is to create a smaller version of the idea and sell it. Since it’s a beta or test version, you can charge a nominal fee and see how your audience responds.
For example, you can take the outline of your course and create a sales page to share with your audience with the understanding that you’ll build the full course if you make 10 sales.
This isn’t only a way to test an idea but a great way to get early feedback on your idea from actual buyers. Your beta buyers can help you shape the product to what your audience actually wants.
Try To Kick Start It AKA Crowdfunding
One increasingly popular way to validate product ideas is with a crowdfunding campaign. Platforms like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and iFundWomen allow creators to test their ideas by asking their audience to back them financially.
Crowdfunding isn’t free money though. You have to create a campaign with a financial goal and rewards. Then, your audience can back your campaign in exchange for rewards aka preorders. With most of these platforms requiring you to raise 100% of your goal for your funds to be paid out.
I used a Kickstarter campaign to fund the second run of my Visionary Journal. It took me about 30 days to plan my campaign, marketing and shoot my video. But I was able to raise over $15,000 in 30 days.
This isn’t the easiest or fastest way to test but if your idea requires capital it’s a great way to fund it without the use of loans.
Bottom line: take the time to validate your product idea.
It isn’t always the easiest or sexiest thing to do but it can save your most precious resource… time.
Do you have a product idea? How are you planning to validate it? Tell me in the comments.