What's the best way to validate a business idea before getting started?
I've done some reading on the lean startup method and would like to get feedback on my business idea before getting started. A lot of what I have read pertains to tech startups and creating web landing pages. How should I go about getting feedback for a 'brick and mortar' business? I thought about a survey, but I'm concerned that what people say and do are very different.
You have already defined the only way to do this by talking about carrying out a survey. I am not sure who your target would be but if you would plan to be pro-active once you start your business then simply be pro-active to the same channels BEFORE you start it.
The issue of people saying one thing and doing another is true to a certain degree, but if you are looking for guarantees on success before you start you will not find any.
Select a small number of target individuals or businesses on an 'exclusive' basis to see if they are interested then simply increase the next campaign to a larger number until you are confident that the concept you have is workable, then just go for it.
Validating your business idea is crucial before you shell out thousands of dollars into building a product, setting up the business and hiring people. The best thing about the time period that we're living in is that technology has enabled entrepreneurs to able to validate their idea at a nominal cost. It has never been cheaper to start an internet business.
Here's how I would validate it:
1) Set up a landing page. Before you go out and shell out thousands of dollars on hiring a developer, just see if people would even be into the idea by creating a very clear and concise landing page. The landing page should describe what the product is, how it works (3 clear steps) and a sign up button where someone can submit their name to be added to the wait list. Take a look at http://quickmvp.com you can literally set up a landing page in five minutes that contains a clear call to action. You can even test interest levels based on different price points to see if customers would be willing to pay for your service. This is a great tool to help validate your idea and you get great analytics to see how engaged people are with your idea.
2) Find out who's interested and bring people towards your landing page to see if people would sign up. If you're getting a lot of signups your steps closer to validating your idea. With Quickvp you could spend $30 on Google ads. I also like this one tool called Http://flutter-app. I use this all the time to test out new features for LawTrades. You can follow accounts that contain your ideal customers very quickly with a few clicks. For instance, if I was opening up a new taco shop, I can use Flutter-app to follow people that follow Chipotle, or Taco bell since my ideal customers are probably following those accounts. Doing this manually would take forever, but you can do this with Flutter very quickly. Make sure your Twitter bio has a link to your landing page so people know what to click on. If a few days go by and your landing page is getting traffic but no signups then tweak the landing page.
3) Make sure you're going to Meetup Events and meeting new people face to face to talk to them about the idea! If you're shy, then you MUST come out of your comfort zone. Just find out where your target customers are hanging out and what Meetup Events are they apart of and go there to ask for feedback on your idea. If they like it then have them sign up. Build up the hype! If they sign up, these are going to be the people that your in communication with as your building out your platform, leave an awesome impression so they come back when your platform/service is ready.
4) After you have some signups, I would interview them and talk to them about the idea. See what they like about it and why they want to use it. Make sure you also ask them about their feedback about various price points that you have in mind. Interviewing is key because you'll get the feedback you need to build it out. Once you talk to potential users you can fine tune your elevator pitch and really be able to figure out the actual problems that your customers care about.
All of these things can help you gauge user interest for what you're doing and I've seen some pretty successful entrepreneurs implement these strategies. You should also visit http://Leanstartupmachine.com they host awesome weekend workshops to help you validate your business idea.
I'd love to hear about all the new ideas that are on this question. Feel free to message me!
I would go with these steps:
1. Identify the business segment you are entering
2. Identify people who know this particular segment
3. Discuss with them about your business idea
4. Sketch pros and cons from the discussions you have had and try to summarize what you learned in models such as business model canvas.
To discuss your idea with them, it must be clear who is going to be your client, how you are going to add value to them, how you are going to make money and why you are the right person to do that.
I hope this helps!
All the best,
Since you are entering the art market, your success will most likely be destined by the authors you are representing, so good choice of authors, possibility to represent them exclusively could well define your success or failure. I would suggest that you do that as a "side job" or a personal project along with current paying job as, as you know being a curator, values vary and what might be valuable in your eyes might be a flop on the market.
Try teaming and supporting new artists that are aspiring, the involvment will cost your time but not the so much money. And stick to the art fields you are an expert in, or team with other experts.
Have friends in art business, it is a tough business to break.
So I would actually suggest not to go into actual brick and mortar phase immediately (only if you were born with money, and you have something to play) but rather start online, then move to renting/sharing galleries for exhibitions, and move forward to actual brick and mortar location when you are already "established".
First up, best dressed ! But , good idea is not direct ticket to success. In theory gives you advantage but in practice it means that you need to invest more time and more money than second or third one. It is because you are that one who makes strategy, finding way to get costumers and in the end capitalizing you idea. Copy past is most effective (cheaper ) because needs less energy (money) So, if you have any similar "product" all you need to do is getting idea how to. Otherwise you can not find objective feedback , especially if your idea is totally different. One tip: find few potential investors, banks and try to get money from them. That guys have sixth sens for investing (not spendig ) their money.
I think this is the best way to launch a Web page and explore your business opportunity thru internet. This will give you some idea, before investing into real business.
Set up a website and see if you get any hits or inquiries.
Use social media e.g facebook,linkedin, myedge...and design qquestioner according to your work and hopes then analyze it...
I had a look at your profile and it seems you're opening an art gallery.
For me, the starting point would be "what sort of gallery?"
Are you looking to appeal to a broadly "art-loving" customer or will you be aiming at specific segments?
For example, are you seeking to promote new talent or more established artists?
Are you aiming at the more serious collector or people who just want "something nice for my dining room"?
I ask because you will need to understand that in order to have a solid staring point for your research.
Then I suggest you go and look at other galleries in and around your area.
That way you will be able to form an idea of what's popular (and selling) and what isn't.
I would also be very informative to find out how long they've been around. The longer established ones will have discovered their particular market and will understand how best to serve it. I doubt that the owners would tell you how they did it, but casually chatting to their customers might be useful. Or, if you don't want to be seen checking them out, get some trusted friends to do it for you.
I hope this helps, but do please ask if you think I can be of any further help.
I have an interest in startups as I'm co-authoring a practical workbook that aims to help people just like you.