Getting a great idea for a new business venture is such an exciting feeling. Finally – you have something that might have legs but you’re still on the fence about what to do with it. It’s such a risk, but can you imagine the life that you might have – the flexibility of being your own boss and hopefully some financial rewards too? If you already run your own business, a new idea may allow you to grow your revenue and allow you to serve more customers.
For some people, ideas are relatively easy to come by; for others, they struggle with coming up with just one. However, it’s the ones that require you to build a web platform or mobile app that I’m interested in.
There are many businesses that people can start and all of them have their complexities – if you want to design and make your own clothes, you’ll have to source fabric and manufacturing. If you want to sell other people’s goods, you’ll need to find those suppliers. If you want to be a consultant or service provider, you’ll have to decide what you want to offer and how you’ll deliver it.
What makes developing an app particularly troublesome is the cost to build it. Also, compared to physical goods, it's not as easy to see a “sample” of your app before you put in the big order, which makes it difficult to know what you're getting.
What should you do?
If you’ve never been involved in an IT project before, an obvious question once you get your idea is – what do I do next? It’s a very smart question to ask! Before you quit your day job or bet the house on your new venture, let’s take a look at what your next steps should be.
If you read my first article on product and software development – you’ll know the answer to this question!
After you’ve come up with an idea, you need to analyse or validate it. This is the process of making sure that the idea is the right one to pursue. Making your idea a reality is going to require some investment from you – and it’s not only going to include your time. More importantly, it’s going to include your money. Therefore, you need to take some time to research your idea to make sure the investment is worth it.
Idea validation is a necessary step for most businesses, large and small – and it should be no different for you. The last thing you want to do is to spend money on an idea that no one wants. A structured approach to evaluating your idea is key.
So, what exactly are you looking for?
To get you started, we’ve put together five ways you can validate your idea:
- Talk to potential users - use your social media platforms to see if anyone knows anyone who has experienced the situation that you want to solve for, then ask them about their experiences and find out what their issues were. Determine if your product could solve their problems. Alternatively, start with a survey via SurveyMonkey or Typeform to get some feedback about your idea and then interview some of the people that responded.
- Look at your potential competition - use a search engine to see if there are any other companies currently doing what you want to do. Determine if what you could offer is at least as good, if not better, than what they do now. Also look at companies that solve the same problem but in a different way. Would you be able to stand out from the competition?
- Look at potential environmental factors that may affect the viability of your business – are there new laws or regulations being proposed? Are there changes in technology? Are people behaving or thinking differently? A lot of new product successes are about timing rather than the product itself – if the world isn’t ready for it, it will be a lot harder to be successful regardless of how good the product is.
- Determine the potential size of your market – look for statistics that can give you an indication of the number of people that might experience the problem that you want to solve. What percentage of those people might buy your product?
- Think about how much you might charge for your product – would the price be one- off or recurring? Would there be an upsell or downsell? How could you get your customers to buy more from you? How many products would you have to sell to achieve your desired goals?
What happens next?
The above will give you an initial view of whether your idea is a good one. Sometimes this is enough for you to make a decision, but more often than not, you’ll have to dig a little deeper to gain the confidence that you need to go ahead with building your app.
There are lots of things to look at when validating an idea! If you work for a large organisation, think about all of the processes that they put in place for spending money on new things. People have to justify to the company why the idea is the right one to pursue.
It's important to remember that you can't take the risk out of every investment, but you do want to get enough information to make an informed decision about your idea. After all, building an app could have a very big impact on your life – good or bad. So, the obvious is question it – why wouldn't you take the time to validate your idea first?!
There are many different things to look at when validating an idea and different ways to do it. If you’ve gone through this process before, please feel free to share what you’ve done in the comments below.
Want a blueprint for validating your idea?
My Validation Course will walk you through some key tasks and activities to make sure your idea is worth pursuing
It’s available now for only $47.