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How to test a Business Idea

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by Startacus Admin

Whilst many of us ideamay harbour ideas for businesses, not all of us will act on them and it’s often the case that we have an idea, do nothing about it and then months, maybe years later we see someone who has acted on that very idea and created a business. We may get annoyed - have a little rant perhaps - “But I thought of that first..” or even “ Why didn’t I bother doing that..” It’s all well and good with hindsight though isn’t it? Next time you have an idea though, why not actually do something about it. Spend some time determining if the idea itself is any good, if it has potential and then see where it leads you. We’ve highlighted just a few of the basic ways that you can test an idea to see if it’d be worth it in the end.

Do some Market Research
Common sense perhaps but essential nonetheless. Once you have established who would actually use or benefit from your product or service, it’s time to ask them some questions.
The opportunities for doing that are endless. You could do anything from undertaking Vox Pops in the street, through to asking questions on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn or even creating online surveys using free tools like SurveyMonkey. Asking questions and getting direct feedback is essential if you are going to determine the real viability of an idea. After all, establishing that there is a demand is key.

Is it unique?
Not every idea of course has to be unique; however if it has something which truly sets it apart, it stands a better chance of success. Determining what makes your idea different is vital. Identify who else is out there doing the same or similar things. Once you have identified your competition, then set about seeing how you are going to do things differently. Do you have a ‘unique selling point’? Why should someone use or buy your product or service over another. If you can’t find a reason why they should, then it’s back to the drawing board, more than likely.
Undertaking patent and licensing checks are also critical things to do in order to determine a product or service’s uniqueness. Don’t underestimate the importance of these.

Does it have longevity?
Not every idea of course will lead to a business which will be around 100 years from now. However, you still need to determine if your idea will last at least long enough to make a positive impact on you and any users or customers. If you are looking to simply capitalize on something which is a current or passing trend, that’s all well and good, however if you instead want to create something that will be still around when you enter the dreaded ‘pension years’ then you ought to consider a long term plan. What will you be aiming to do to grow your business? Is it a scalable idea? Can you adapt it in the future or even enter new markets? All these things can help determine if an idea is a viable one or not.

Will it be worth it?
This question is pretty much entirely dependent on what you deem important. For example, if your idea entails you following a passion and doing something that you really enjoy, then all the work and effort you put in will be worth it. However, if on the other hand you have lots of commitments, financial or otherwise that mean that you need to ensure all the hours you put in give you real reward in terms of monetary gain, that perhaps is a different story. Projects and ideas can take time to get off the ground and you may need to be prepared to make sacrifices. If you feel that you can’t, then perhaps the idea itself isn’t for you.

One more thing - a little shameless plug by the way. Our collaboration section is going to launch in just a matter of weeks and that is going to be the perfect place for ideas to be tested - you’ll be able to upload your ideas, get feedback from others, give insight and tips to other people on their ideas as well as of course collaborate to get those ideas off the ground. Sounds good doesn’t it? We think so....

Did you know that our business toolkit has hundreds of articles to help you with every aspect of starting a business?

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Published on: 21st November 2012

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