Testing Your Startups New Business Idea

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Who is Jacob Aldridge, Business Coach?

“The smart and quirky advisor who gets sh!t done in business.” Back independent since 2019.

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.

That’s me.

Learn more here. Or Let’s chat.


Good day, Jacob here again. At businessDEPOT, we’re privileged to work the number of start-up businesses. And while a lot of them are looking for our accounting support to make sure that they get structured the best way from day one, several of them do still want to have a catch-up or a coffee or even engage with us in an advisory space to make sure that their business is going from start-up to scale-up as rapidly as possible. There’s one question I get up sometimes but frankly I don’t get asked often enough, and that’s whether this idea for a business a good idea is.

Now 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, but 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 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. 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.

Number two is to write down what you understand they’re paying 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.

The third step is you want to go an 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.

You will get one or 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 approved, how you could better understand their pain to solve their problem better.

The worst response you can get is yes. If somebody telling you yes this is a great business, 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 because you may invest on a lot of yeses 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 until you start getting is 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, don’t 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 they don’t know why because they failed to do this one simple step.  

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