Testing Your Startups News Business Idea. In Blackboad Fridays Episode 25, Jacob talks about Growth Planning and Brand Promise. Need this implemented into your business? Talk to the international business advisor who can do exactly that – Contact Jacob, Learn More, or Subscribe for Updates.
This is a question I wish more new businesses and startups would ask: do I actually have a good idea?
Because all too often I see businesses fail because they built a solution in search of a problem, and when their Product didn’t fit the Market … they blamed the Market instead of taking responsibility.
Testing your startup’s new business idea is simple, but not necessarily easy. You need to commit to these 3 steps … and truly listen to the response.
1) Clearly define your Target Customers
2) Document your understanding of Their Pain
3) Go and interview at least 10 (and preferably more) of these target clients and ask them whether they believe you have a good business idea.
You’ll get 3 possible responses to that question. And you might be surprised to learn that the worst possible response is “Yes, that’s a great idea”.
Enjoy this week’s #BlackboardFridays video.
Who is Jacob Aldridge, Business Coach?
“The smart and quirky advisor who gets sh!t done in business.”
Since April 2006, I’ve been an international business advisor providing bespoke solutions for privately-owned businesses with 12-96 employees.
At this stage you have proven your business model, but you’re struggling to turn aspirations into day-to-day reality. You are still responsible for all 28 areas of your business, but you don’t have the time or budget to hire 28 different experts.
You need 1 person you can trust who can show you how everything in your business is connected, and which areas to prioritise first.
Good day, Jacob here again. While they form a minority of my bespoke business coaching clients, through my relationship with companies like Key Person of Influence and businessDEPOT I’ve been privileged to work with a number of start-up businesses.
As I wrote in my Start-up Business Guide, most of these new business owners need accountants and mentors far more than a ridiculously good looking international business coach. But I’m always happy to have a catch-up or a coffee or even engage in an advisory space with those founders who want to make sure that their business is going from start-up to scale-up as rapidly as possible.
There’s one question I get asked sometimes, but frankly I don’t get asked often enough: Is this actually a good idea for a business?
Important for Scale Up, Step Up, and Sell Up Businesses Too
Even if you’re not in start-up, this is going to be relevant because if you’ve ever had a good idea for a new product line or new market channel, this process can help you with that as well.
This is the process that I recommend people go through when they have a business idea. In my experience, there are far too many business owners who have an idea and act on the idea before they take a chance to understand what the market is looking for.
I call them “a solution in search of a problem“. And if that’s how you’re building your business it’s going to be a lot harder than if you get that product-market fit perfect from day one.
So, here’s the process I recommend.
How to Test your Start-Up’s New Business Idea
One, who are the target customers for this business idea that you have?
Now at this point, you don’t need to go into the detail of brand archetypes or customer personas. You don’t need that level of detail, just a good idea of the industry the size of business who it is that this idea is going to help.
Two, write down what you understand their pain to be.
You really must get yourself into their shoes because if you don’t articulate their pain and how you can solve it, then your business idea is never going to gain traction in the marketplace.
Three, you want to go and interview at least ten of these target customers and have a conversation about their pain and about how you can solve that problem.
Ideally, you talk to at least twenty-five potential customers, and this is very much an interview process. You’re asking questions, you’re looking to learn, you are not under any circumstances to sell them anything in this conversation. What you want to ask, having talked about their pain and your solution, is whether they feel this is a good business idea.
The 3 Responses (1 is way worse than the others)
You will get one of three responses.
The first response you will get is yes, ‘Yes I think this is a good business idea’.
The second response you’ll get is no, ‘No I don’t think this is a good business idea’.
Here’s the thing, most first-time start-up business owners that I talk to think “No” is the worst possible answer they could get. It’s not. “No” sparks the conversations for how it could be improved, how you could better understand their pain to solve their problem better.
The worst response you can get is “Yes”, somebody telling you “yes this is a great business idea”. Because much like those horrible outfits we all wore to our Prom where our mum said we look fantastic, there’s a lot of people out there who will say yes just to be nice. Because they don’t want to hurt your feelings. Because maybe don’t even know how they can give constructive criticism.
So, you’ll hear a lot of people saying “yes” … and that does not help you with your business. You may invest on product development based on a lot of “yes” responses that never actually turn into reality when you need people to buy, when you need the money.
The only answer you want to hear, and the answer you need a keep going through this process, is the third response: “Shut up and take my money.”
You want to be talking to target customers about their pain and your solution, and the only response that tells you you’ve got a good business idea is when they get to the end of the conversation and say, ‘Can I buy this now? How much does this cost? Where can I send my money?’.
Because that means they’re committed, they are truly interested. They’re not just saying yes to be nice to your feelings.
Business is not about being nice. Business is about truly solving pain and adding value.
So, if you think you’ve got a great idea, don’t be afraid to find those target customers, have those interviews and ask that question.
Listen for the real answer.
Because if you do that, you’ll be head and shoulders about so many other start-ups I see that are struggling and they don’t know why, because they failed to do this one simple step.
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