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.
Looking at what is already out there meeting a need whether brick and motor or through the web is critical. Don't choose not to start a business because of the competition but look at the competition to see what you could add, subtract, do differently to be competitive.
One of the best ways to determine if an idea has validity is to see if another business is already in the market and thriving. If there is no other business, then you need to look at how large of a need or how deep of an interest in what you will be offering exists .
Analyze the size of the market opportunity; define your products point of differentiation; determine the value of the market you will be targeting; analyze the scalability of your product/service; margin analysis; make your decision...
I would work for a related business or industry to validate whether or not you really enjoy the business day to day. Use that experience to springboard into your business.
I would suggest finding customers. It's one thing to have people tell you its a great idea and its another to put down money. Go into pre-sale or actually sell your product. This will prove if there is enough demand for you business idea.