Have a great idea but not sure how to get started? Or looking for an idea that makes you leap out of bed in the morning?
Do you want to start your own business or build a passive revenue stream that contributes to your well being? Don’t build it and they hope they will come. Have your prospective customers help you build your solution. How? Talk to the people who you think will buy your solution.
I learned entrepreneurship from people who bootstrapped companies before the world wide web was a thing. Yeah, OK I’m a bit older than many digital mavens. They always recommended to get a customer or client who wanted your product or service and have them pay for you to build it. Then you could go out a sell it again to another client. Brilliant! Let’s put this principle to work for you.
“Life is too short to build something that nobody wants.” – Steve Blank
Before you invest countless hours and dollars building something, figure out if your idea is valid.
Here are the 7 steps to go from great idea to successful business:
- Come up with a Business Idea
- Validate Your Idea
- Sign up Customers
- Build Your Product/Service
- Tell the World
- Listen to Your Community
- Adjust Product/Service
In this four-week Quick Start program, we are going to work on the first three steps that most people get stuck in:
1) What is Your Great Idea?
A great idea is one that gets you jumping out of bed in the morning eager to work on it. A great idea connects your work with your values. A great idea is an extension of who you are. A great idea solves a personal problem you are or have experienced. A great idea is simple and serves a small niche.
2) Validate Your Idea by Building a Mini Community
To validate your idea, you need to go to connect with and talk the people that you are trying to help.
- What is their pain?
- What do they need?
- How are they getting this need met currently?
Interviews, surveys, landing pages, polls, will all give you excellent information on who is looking for products and services like yours and what specifically they want. We will then create empathy maps for all of your potential customer segments.
3) Build a Mini Product/Service and Sign Up Customers
Create your mini version of your product to show potential customers. What is the smallest effort that you can put it to test your idea? A webpage describing your product/service? Screen shots of a mock-up? A tab on a Facebook page? Share this with potential customers and see if you can get them to buy it. Kickstarter is also a great platform for selling MVPs. Some innovative fashion designers will post a prototype of a piece of clothing and, if they get enough orders, they will make it. That is brilliant! Do you know how much waste there is in the clothing industry? It is appalling!
Don’t build anything until you know that you can sell it. You want your business to work for you, not you to work for your business. Sure, you are going to work hard. But plan for your wild success. If you don’t plan for success, you are planning for failure. Make it as easy as possible for someone to buy from you. One click. One call. Make it easy!
Listen to Your Community. They will tell you what they like, don’t like, and what they need. Make it as easy as possible for them to communicate with you. Open up all the channels.