As entrepreneurs, we often find ourselves boggled down for time, strapped for cash, and in search of the perfect way to test our ideas. I mean, let’s face it, after committing to a new venture, developing your product or service, finding co-founders, setting up a business plan, and dealing with the daily chaos of starting a new business, the last thing you want to worry about is whether or not what you provide will sell.
Just like playing a strong game of poker, you want to know when it’s worth it to go all in – whether that be seeking startup cash from family and friends, or committing to your new venture part-time while in school. Taking the time to perform some simple market testing can save you time, money, and a considerable amount of sweat & heartache.
Here are 3 ways to test your business idea before going all in.
A great starting point to test most business ideas is the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. This tool allows you to jump in and discover valuable information related to your market, such as the number of searches for the product or service you are offering, the amount advertisers are spending for a top position in Google’s sponsored listings, and a better idea of who your top competitors could be. Thankfully, this process is not too complex at all. You simply enter a few words or a phrase that describes your market and see what information pops up. If you are interested, a detailed explanation of this process can be found here.
If you are at the point where you want some basic “idea feedback” from people around you, a couple of great free resources are SurveyMonkey and Zoomerang. Both offer simple solutions to quickly creating and distributing surveys to all of your contacts. When either tool is combined with the power of Social Media or a post on Craigslist, it is often pretty simple to gather input quickly.
For the non-technically savvy like myself that are ready to all-out test their idea, a great resource to check out is Unbounce. Unbounce allows anyone to quickly create a landing page for a particular product or service and track the stats of the people that go there. You can do everything from embedding forms to gathering customer data, to A/B split testing that compares visitor groups of two webpages. They even give you the option of creating a custom domain / URL. If you are ready to sell a product or service and have found cheap Adwords using the Google Keywords tool, then you might want to consider running an Adwords campaign to get the word out.
While there may not be a crystal ball that will foretell the outcome of your brilliant idea, I hope that these three tools can at least give you a heads up on whether you’ve struck entrepreneurial gold, or simply run across a dud.