Congratulations! You’ve come up with an exceptional business idea.
You know it can positively impact people’s lives and dramatically improve the world we live in. You’re keen for it to be validated ASAP. After all, why wait another second to turn your idea into reality and start making sales?
Hang on for just one moment. There are a few things to consider here.
First and foremost, unless you’re already an established entrepreneur, people aren’t going to know or trust you enough to care about your exceptional idea… even though it could help them achieve their desired results faster or solve their problems.
Secondly, there may be another person out there offering a very similar product or service to yours. That’s good in some ways – it means your idea already has a market. But it also means that you’ve got some serious competition, and that your idea could end up being ignored or rejected.
Thirdly, the people who have been telling you that your idea is brilliant and a game-changer may jump ship once you actually launch the pilot or full version of it. These false positive responses are dangerous – they can lead you to believe you’ve made money before you actually have.
Now, I’m not trying to be a Debbie Downer here, or make you give up on your dreams. I’m just letting you know that successfully validating a business idea is complex.
That’s because the ways in which we communicate and connect with people in our target markets are complex as well.
British/American author, motivational speaker and marketing consultant Simon Sinek once said, “Your ability to make an impact is not dependent on your efforts alone – it’s dependent on how many people you can inspire to join you.”
So are you ready to hear about the best three-step approach to validating your brilliant business idea successfully?
Great, I thought so! Let’s get into it.
Step #1: Find your WHY
There’s a reason why Sinek titled his bestselling book Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. He believes you should know why you get up in the morning, why your organisation exists, and why you feel compelled to do what you do.
You can enhance your business idea’s appeal with this type of conceptual clarity. When you are able to identify and articulate the why driving your business idea, you’ll attract people who relate to your purpose and want to be part of your community. Knowing your why inspires action.
Here are some simple questions to help you find your why.
- What do you believe is lacking in the world that you can change through your business idea?
- Why are you more qualified to help your target audience and customers than any other person or company?
- Why are you driven to carry through this idea – and why will you persist despite facing obstacles and contingencies?
- What belief, value or tenet will help get you through your darkest professional moments?
- Imagine the message you leave on your deathbed – what was your life’s main purpose?
- During which part of your childhood or adolescence did you discover your love or talent for what you currently do?
You might also want to complete this example statement: “The why for my business idea is to [insert verb + your unique contribution] so that [state the impact that it has for your target audience].“
Feel free to adjust the wording until the statement perfectly matches what you believe brings fulfilment to your business’s existence.
The long and short of it is, if you truly believe your why, you’ll think, act and manifest your belief through your business.
Step #2: Invite people to join your validation journey
Target people who have proven themselves to be innovators and early adopters of new products and services. These are the 10% of your target market who are already ready for your services. They share the same values as you or believe what you believe.
Invite them to join your validation journey: from idea to plan. Ryan Robinson included his online audience in his Lean Startup journey. He attributed his 30-day business idea validation success to investing interest from a group of target market members.
Highlight how your business idea is special and explain your unique value proposition (UVP). In other words, how you’ll offer your product or service in a different way to others on the market. Send a personalized written invite to the innovators and early adopters you have identified to follow your progress. Offer them the chance to actively participate in a feedback group or stay in touch via auto-emails.
Openly share your ongoing progress and setbacks, inviting feedback and encouraging conversation to strengthen audience engagement. Focus on providing a positive experience for your innovators and early adopters. They’ll inspire future users through reviews, testimonials, referrals and case studies. Make it so that they can picture their life with your product or service in it.
Staying open-minded is essential to idea validation so find out which products and services related to your idea they’re willing to purchase. You may unexpectedly receive tips, suggestions and beneficial opportunities from your target group.
Step #3. Use storytelling techniques to share what’s inspiring about your business idea
People process information better when they can watch and engage with it, so consider weaving the benefits of your business idea into a compelling video story to facilitate their comprehension and engagement.
Create a character-based story about you and your journey. Include the details of your inspiring why to intrigue viewers and add an emotional dimension to the content. Limit your video’s length to 2-3 minutes, and ensure you conclude by emphasising the end result you’re striving for in the marketplace.
Include any simplified prototypes or visuals representing your products and services, and narrate your story from a rough script to keep yourself from going off track. Add in sound bites of you talking in a conversational tone. You could answer a commonly asked question, or explain a key idea component.
Image Source: The VJ
Invite viewers to share any positive or negative thoughts or feedback. Even absent responses can communicate a message about how effective your storytelling style is.
Because making a video that you appear in takes getting outside your comfort zone, it may get you bonus points with viewers.
Cheryl Conner, a PR expert, mentions sharing a video as one of 7 Ways to Generate PR for Your Crowdfunding Campaign so think seriously about this option. Your compelling video story could extend your reach to your target audience. It could even lead to positive pitch impressions for getting PR.
No one starts a business venture thinking it’s going to fail. Not when you know your genius idea could provide solutions for serious problems, help people achieve their dream goals and make a difference in the word.
But it’s a very real possibility that your business idea will fail unless you validate it using the above methods first. They will help you find better ways to communicate about your idea, create ongoing collaboration with innovators and business adopters, and strengthen your storytelling skills – preventing costly mistakes and rejections.
It takes tremendous courage to talk about your idea, but realizing that you’ll improve it faster with feedback rewards your bravery. Openly sharing your ongoing progress, including mistakes and setbacks, entices your audience to care about you and your idea. Strengthening connections socially rewards your vulnerability.
The more people become interested in you and your idea – the more they’ll offer to help and remain connected. Let your audience know you appreciate compassion when sharing feedback. It makes receiving constructive feedback easier on your self-esteem.
Before turning your idea into a pilot program, creating a real prototype or pitching for PR or funds… remember to invite your audience to join your journey. An experience that could impact their lives.
Over to you… what successful methods have you found for validating your ideas?
Guest Author: Keri Vandongen empowers entrepreneurs to get their voices and stories heard. She shares her communication, marketing, and video storytelling talents so people really listen and care. Download (no sign-up required) her 10 Tips for Creating Your Compelling Video Story.