How do I validate my business idea?
I have built a free website for animal rescue. So far it has all the features for different admins and organizations to join the website and run/manage pet rescue. I want to continue building the site out and need to come up with a way to make revenue. My idea is to offer paid advertising. I've done a lot of research on Google and saw that pay per click costs less. My idea is to approach dog food companies and veterinarian clinics about renting ad space. Will this idea work?
Hi Vasmi, I think that is an excellent idea. I would think that both dog food companies and veterinarians would be excellent advertising targets on your website. People who are passionate about animal rescue are the ideal target audience for the service/product providers. It also would indicate to the animal lovers that the advertisers also understand the importance of animal rescue, so it is a win/win for both groups.
Approaching people directly will probably be your best way to generate revenue for this from the get go. Part of the company I was involved with for 20 years was a college entertainment magazine and people are not searching online for places to advertise (i.e. Google Ad Words/PPC will not work for this). However, if you develop a social marketing plan that puts out good info (educational/emotional/value add like best places to take you animals to eat etc...) then people will eventually come to you. But getting started will definitely require some outreach for a brand new website looking to generate ad dollars.
Is it possible to put together a simple survey and post it on bulletin boards or other locations where people that are rescuing animals hang out. Also who is a strong supporter or influencer for animal rescue. Perhaps interviewing them and others that are in a position to understand the industry would yield some great ideas of how to successfully implement your idea. Go to the source for what would help them.
Had it been me, I would have already talked to some potential sponsors to get their opinion pre-development, or to actually get pre-golive commits. Generally, the reason advertisers want to be on a site is traffic. Until you have traffic, you don't get advertisers. Perhaps a free ad offer until traffic hits a certain level would be an alternative.
I think so, Yes. I have some contacts that may be able to help or be interested. Connect via LinkedIn if interested. I like to see how things progress.
The only way to determine the viability of the concept is to try obtain advertisers or sponsors. A sponsor is someone who pays a flat fee for an acknowledgement and link to their website as opposed to a click through number. You have to beta test it so to speak. You might offer free advertising to a few local service providers such as a pet store or a vet and see how the advertising works for them. Once you have determined the success of it, you can determine your charges going forward for others.
I suggest you work to have a quick conversation with at least 4 local vets to show them what you've done so far. This give you an opportunity to collect impressions and feedback on what these potential sponsors might feel is missing. You need to build a base of support and these people can help. I also suggest you ask if any of them know sales reps from the food or medicine companies. Getting their names, contact info and an OK to drop the vets name will make it easier to get a response from these people. Meet them for coffee and present the same info to them with the idea that you want their feedback. Don't try and sell them on the idea of advertising or sponsoring at that time get their feedback and ideas first. Build support.
Once you have made these connections and some of the people you want to work with have had a chance to see your website you can add a few changes and then ask for their financial participation. I recommend that any money you receive be invested back into building your audience. Advertisers and sponsors are not spending their money out of the goodness of their heart. They are buying exposure with a goal of finding new customers. You'll need to to also find local media people who can help you get your message out so people find the site.
REMEMBER: This is a business, not a job or project. All the parts have to be present. For more information and ideas visit our resource site at Mature-Entrepreneur.com
OK, given that you apparently started with little to no research, market experience, business model, and a suspect goal, it is not impossible to start now building a business that will fulfill your needs within your resources (that would be the plan, not necessarily successful business). As you may have inferred, is that you need to do some real research into:
market (needs, revenue and expense, regulations, the profile of who would be in the rescues you would target - what they think they need AND be willing to pay for).
competitors If you are the first (doubtful based on my pet industry knowledge) then you would have to educate then sell, after all there is nothing like you for them to consider.
business model how you get paid and how much it costs, and what life cycle you see, as well as organization and type of ownership, as well as governance.
resources what can you bring in before it is launched, what will you need when it is launched
schedule (only part of the plan)
your goals - if you want this for more than a charitable or even low cost hobby then you ought to do what you feel like doing within the planned budget; if you want a sustainable or even transient business than I suggest you approach with that intent. You may want a mentor or advisor (paid or not) so you may have discussions about alternatives, approaches and methods to advance.
Having consulted to and done rescues in the pet industry, it is a business!!!! minimum of 300M pet households in North America - collectively some $40-50B/year (in USA) and growing - it is competitive and rivaling other multi-billion industries in sophistication and technology
Vamsi, you need to define your Business Model (the way a business makes money). You need to do two things: 1) validate your idea (value proposition) 2) define a winning Business Model.
I can help you with both.
Hope this answer helps you.
When established companies look to advertise on other complimentary websites, they do it for one reason. They are hoping that the traffic and visibility you have generated with provide exposure and sales for their products. You can make advertising revenue from your site if you do an extraordinary job of marketing your site first.
Once you've identified the purpose of your site and been able to get other organizations to participate by sharing or collaborating with you to promote the purpose of your site, it's mostly a matter of who and how many people come to your site. Is your site viewed as an authoritative site, an interactive site or an e-commerce site? You can eventually have a combination of all three but getting known for something specific is the first step.
Once your site has the viewers and reputation you want, and you can provide some metrics that advertisers look for, you will be able to attract companies who will pay to promote on your site.
I'd suggest you work the organizational use side first. Get as many pet rescue organizations as possible to sign up and start using your site. They in turn can promote your site to their lists.
Richard Stern-Suggest creating a Marketing Kit and an explanation of the Web Site and its features. Then go to your target market and get reactions to your idea.
You may have a tough time with big companies. Check out small businesses as they most likely are recently starter and need business for what they sell. Ask consumers as to your idea. You may get great feedback for what you want to do and you may get other information to help you in your revenue efforts.
You are in stiff competition with the already available sites/organizations that provide that service. What seems to be gaining traction is a rescue for a specific breed, including mixed of that breed, disabled of that breed, abandoned of that breed. Once someone has a positive experience with a particular type of dog or cat they tend to seek out another very similar. I have seen this over and over. I have volunteered with animal rescues and unfortunately had my own precious dog lost or stolen leading me to utilize every service imaginable. There were tons and many for free. They rely on donations or fundraising more than advertising.
Determine the value you offer as a rescue. Then promote through high profile activities. This should not be a revenue generator to put money in your pocket but a higher cause that will hopefully run in the black so you can continue the reason you started this.
When companies such as veterinarians, dog food stores, pet stores, and animal shelters invest, in most cases, they want to see what their return of investment would look like.
One of the ways to make your sight attractive is to add quality content, build up your audience, and track the engagement to your website.
Once you have a considerable engagement and feed back you will be able to show how your website will add value and benefit your target audience for advertisement.
One of the most less expensive ways to building your viewers to show engagement and audience is to join social media groups that have the same interest and share your content and website link daily.
Finally, every idea can lead to success if it is planned and implemented strategically.
Enjoy the journey.
You have a great idea and also going to the dog food companies and veterinarian Clinics would be great.The only thing which I feel would be more fruitful to you would be to have a consortium of companies ,clinics and government buy this idea beforehand and make them sponsor the whole arrangement including your expected returns and rewards with a patent and copyrights in your favour of the idea and website.
The reason I am saying this is because I foresee a lot of offshoot benefits of the arrangement specially to the dog food companies and Clinics like database of pet experiences on various occasions ,pet safety guidance which can be a good advertising tool etc.
Moving forward even the database could be a good tool for the administrative structure of the country to guide the government in various matters.
This can be a major contribution to the pet welfare accross the globe if I have understood the idea correctly.
Wish you all the best.
You can validate your business Idea at any time by re-forming details by changing some of your details or shape or color what ever is the quality , validating needs to be done according to your business type , market is developing fast so changes are taking place fast too .
The Word I am going to use is Community: You want to build out a Community and the best way to do that is to ensure that you are part of it. You need to focus on Your Business at is Core Level - what you do, and then how you would benefit, Sponors and Users. The approach is correct in terms of who to approach, I would also look at the Community you serve. If and see what housing or living areas you serve. In 2015 - It Is All About Community - Brick and Mortar and Virtual. The More Angles you Address, the Better!
Sounds like a great idea bringing a whole community together and finding a revenue model.