How I tested my startup idea for 0$.
Have you ever had an idea that you thought could change the world? If you answered yes, you are probably a human being. Everyone has had a brilliant moment, where he thought: “This will change the world.”.
Before you invest hundreds, if not thousands of your own money into a product, you should find out if people want it. That is a process that can take a lot of time, effort, and money if not done correctly.
That’s why I decided to share with you the methods I used to test my startup idea within 2 weeks, and for absolutely 0$
What is Market Validation?
According to ProductPlan: “Market validation is the process of presenting a concept for a product to its target market and learn from those prospective buyers whether or not the idea is worth pursuing.
This process typically takes place early-on in the conception stage, before any significant investment has been made in developing the product.
The two most common approaches to market validation are:
- Interview people in the target market, such as the buyer and user personas.
- Send out surveys to these personas.
The key is that market validation research must include direct contact and feedback from people in the product’s intended market.”
Why is it important?
At its heart, market validation is the process of finding out — before you spend money and time on the business — whether the market has any space for your idea. If there is space, if your idea is solving a real problem, and is neither ahead of its time nor behind, then is it worth the time, effort, and heartburn that are all-natural parts of the entrepreneurial journey.
That is why experts count market validation as an important first step of any entrepreneurial journey.
What are the traditional ways to validate an idea?
There are multiple ways to see if a business will be viable, the most popular are:
Launching on Kickstarter can be incredibly easy and straight-forward. Take a few photos, or make a few mockups, write a good description of the product, set a price and you are ready for customers. The single drawback that its method has, is the fact that you have to be invested in the product in multiple ways. You still have to design the product and then get feedback, the only cost-savings are in manufacturing.
2. Shopify/Landing Page
This method is similar to Kickstarter, the only difference being, you are not on a platform. This way, you get much more customizability, and you are able to build the website however you like. There are actually two disadvantages of using this method. The first one being, the fact that you have to drive your own traffic. This means, having your own marketing sources, either organic or paid. The second one is the same as Kickstarter, having to be invested heavily in the product, in order to be able to launch the website for customers. This can be a great choice for SaaS businesses, which don’t necessarily have to have a product to show, instead, they can just describe it.
3. Brick and Mortar
The good ol’ fashioned way of talking to retailers will never grow out of fashion. This method is the hardest one yet, but it can be insightful as the retailers, usually, know what the public wants, and what’s selling. However, this method is also the hardest one, as it requires you to have a product, ready for production, at the very least.
What if you don’t have enough money? What if you don’t want to invest in a product before you validate it? What if you just have an idea, that doesn’t yet have a shape or form?
That’s when you can follow my method.
How to validate ideas the right way?
Having a product ready for production, or at least a mockup is great! But what if you don’t? Then, you can find an audience, who might be interested in your product and interact with them. How? It’s simple! You use social media.
What to do if you don’t have a following?
The easiest way to validate an idea if you don’t have an audience on social media is Reddit. First of all, you have to define your target audience. After that, you can find related subreddits by searching on the website. All you have to do now is make a post asking people if they have the problem that you are trying to solve. From there, you can see the comments.
If you want more insights from your audience, you can send privates messages to the people who comment, to get some more information about what they want.
What to do if you have a following?
If you have a sizeable following on any social media platform, it’s very easy to find out if your idea is a hit. You can post a post or a story asking your audience what they think and if they have any recommendations. The only thing to consider when following this method is if your audience is relevant enough to accept and give insightful feedback for the product. I would suggest that if your following is not relevant enough, it’s better not to post because you will get discouraged, even though it might be a product that will work, your audience might not be the right one for it.
What are the drawbacks of following this way?
There are two drawbacks to using this method.
The first one being the fact that the people who give feedback are not paying customers nor are they engaged with the product in any way, like signing up for a waitlist or a preorder. This means that people may like the product, but wouldn’t pay for it. To combat this, you should pay close attention to the reactions of the people in the replies. If you see people really excited about the product, or if someone asks, “Where do I sign up?” or “How do I buy this?”, then that’s a good sign that there is a market for your product.
Also, if you are not a well-known influencer or brand, the audience that you will base your decisions on is very small. This can be a problem because you don’t get enough data to work with. That’s why you’re only supposed to use it just for the first few steps, only to see if people like or dislike your idea. It requires zero investment and offers great insight.
I don’t think you need a summary of a 5-minute article, but I am going to offer one nonetheless.
- Use social media to get an initial overview of the public’s reaction to your product.
- You can use this with either a fully developed idea or just a rough concept.
- It requires zero initial investment.
- You can do this every day of the week if you wanted to, to see what does well and what doesn’t.
- This is not a process to validate a business idea, just a way to see if it’s worth even doing that.
This is the end, I hope you gained something from this article and you will apply this technique in your daily life.