Business idea validation is a useful method to help you answer the question
Does this idea have any hope of taking off?
A very sensible question to ask at the beginning of your planning and it will probably save you a lot of time and money and frustration in the long run.
So here is a really simple formula for you to use and you can apply it to any industry.
Take a piece of paper or however you want to document your answers and divide it into 4 sections
You take your idea and apply the business idea validation formula to it.
So let me explain what I mean.
Say your idea is to start a baby clothes business?
Before you even have registered a domain name or bought business cards and absolutely before you purchase any stock you go through the validation formula very quickly.
I would use them in the following order but, you could evaluate in any order you choose as long as you cover all 4 sections.
You are checking to see if your idea has a place in the world, with your stamp on it.
And if you have the right business for the right people, it makes the marketing stage effortless later on.
Ask your network of friends and people you think appropriate to share your idea with, if they think you have a good idea about starting a baby clothes business.
If you are a parent for example, you can ask other parents you know for their opinion to get a ballpark idea.
Aside from the ones, who secretly are jealous or don't want you to do well you could glean a mine of information about baby clothes such as what is missing in the market, what they love about clothes.
Also what they don't love, what their gripes are about quality, price, accessibility to the market, any number of things really.
The feedback you get here could actually make your change your mind, develop your idea entirely differently or just tweak it a bit further.
Your networks have all had hands on experience of babies which is why you are asking them so their feedback is totally invaluable.
Don't be shy about asking, you need this type of information and level of user input to move forward towards a successful venture.
And don't discount people who you think will be "negative" because they may just have information you hadn't given any consideration to and it could be the difference between doing well, and not.
You don’t want to be blindsided by something that is really obvious to others at this crucial early stage.
Idea validation offline means you ask real people BUT outside of your network.
This group is made up of real people, who might use your product or service, so you could survey people as an example outside the school gate, hold a mini focus group of some kind, and find other non-competing baby businesses to chat with and maybe collaborate and so on…
Go to the places you will find your potential buyers and just simply ask them what you would like to know
You are developing and deepening your feedback from step 1. You could end up with identical information or find some revealing new points you hadn’t even thought about.
Check out Amazon, eBay, other websites, online publications, Google your idea and see what other people are doing.
Competition is good; it means there is a space for you because others are doing what you want to do.
You might well ask the question at this stage, but what if my market is saturated.
Well, this why you validate your idea to begin with.
Your research is showing what is out there and you then have the ability to tweak your idea, rather than just unleashing it on the world in the same way everyone else does and potentially falling flat on your face.
So, if you are finding, "everyone has a baby clothes business!" This is your opportunity to put your spin on it...
Pick a theme, a niche, use your own personal experience or problem, have you a complaint or have you experienced any kind of threat in this business field, is there a trend you can see.
If you offer a service, look who is doing it online? And how are they doing it?
Can you do it better, faster, longer, cheaper, more content, leaner content, translate it, use audio or visuals better and so on…
Make a spreadsheet if you like and start documenting who is doing what? And how they are doing it
Where do you sit among this group?
What can you add that is missing or different or both….
This is your opportunity to go out in the world and visit real life shops, markets, malls and so on to see if your product or service is available and who is buying it.
This is idea validation in the raw
You have heard I am sure of paralysis by analysis. You are in danger of talking yourself out of things at this tender stage so getting from behind the keyboard is a good thing.
Sit outside a store if appropriate or go to places baby clothes are sold offline.
Supermarkets, chain stores, discount stores and so on.
You need to see what people are actually buying.
Even if you have a service business you can evaluate if books are written about the topic or see where people advertise in places other than online.
Local publications and even the post office notice board can reveal useful information.
For example, this is where you will often find tutors advertising their services or a cake maker perhaps or someone who offers massage at home or a hairdresser.
Or even a second-hand baby clothes business!
I hope this simple business idea validation process helps you.
In the long run, it will save you launching the wrong product or service to the wrong people.
Starting as an independent is hard enough so you need all the free help you can get?
Applying these simple techniques, to any idea at any time should alert you to potential difficulties or highlight your brilliance.