Here's how to validate your product idea so you don't waste time on a product that won't sell.
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Unfortunately many entrepreneurs fall victim to not validating their product idea. This is the biggest mistake an entrepreneur can make, because validation will help you know in advance if your product idea will be worth your time and money.

These entrepreneur tips show you how validation can cut back on wasted time, effort and money, and instead work smartly and strategically toward a viable outcome.

This is what Sean Clarke of Shoes.com, Noah Kagan of AppSumo and John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneur on Fire did before they set up their businesses. Now validation is one of their core business practices. And here is how you can start making it part of yours:

1.) Tell the world about your idea

… Maybe not the world, but at least a set of people. When you’re validating your idea, you want to get enough people interested so you know there will be folks ready to take out their wallets and pay for your product.

There are several simple ways you can let people know about your product idea and get some quality feedback.

Write a blog post about your product idea

Let your readers know about the main point or problem your product idea aims to solve, then give them a run down about what you believe would be a good solution.

At the end of your blog post, write a call to action inviting your readers to let you know about what they think about your product idea and if they would be interested in the product. Next, you have to sit back and wait for the comments to roll in.

Share your idea with a couple of friends

Tell your friends about the product idea you have in your mind. You need to be careful here. Some of your friends may not exactly know if your product is a good idea, so it’s best to ask your friends who are most likely to be your potential clients to get a quality feedback.

Ask your email subscribers

This narrows the reach to a smaller and more targeted circle. Send an email to your subscribers giving them details about your product idea and if they would be interested in the product. Make sure you ask them to tell you their reasons why.

Don’t be afraid of negative feedback as this may help you refine your product idea and offer something better.

2.) Check if your product idea already exists

Have your competitors created a similar product? If yes, don’t panic – you’re actually in luck. Having a similar product in the market means that there is an existing demand for your product. It also means competition and that isn’t a bad thing, necessarily. Another bonus is that you get to see what their clients think of the product.

This will help you create a better version of your product. Since you were able to know what people think you can use that information to fix your competitor’s lapses. That could even be your product’s best selling point or star feature.

You can search for your competitor’s feedback from sites like Udemy if your product is a course. Or Amazon Kindle and Createspace, if your product is an eBook or a print back.

3.) Create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) or an entry-level offer

Here’s where you’ll be able to test if there are people who will really pay for your product. Create a mini version or a portion of your product and put it up for sale. You’re still testing at this stage, so you don’t need to create the full product, just the bare minimum relevant to your core idea that can still generate a sale.

If your product idea is a course, sell one module. If it’s a book, sell a chapter. If it’s an audio book, sell a couple of the audio recordings.

"Since you're not creating the full product it won't take you too long to put it together."

Since you’re not creating the full product it won’t take you too long to put it together. Once you’ve created it, sell it to your email list. Do you think every entrepreneur should be creating an email list? That could be a point to make earlier. If you don’t have an audience, set up a landing page and drive traffic to it using ads like Google, Facebook or Bing ads.

Yes, it does require some investment on your part but it is worth it. The feedback you’ll get from your MVP will guide you as you build your full product.

4.) Put your product idea up for a pre-sale

Did you know you can sell your product even before you create it? This is one of the most effective ways to validate your idea and earn money from it in the process. Tell your email subscribers about your product idea and that it’s available for pre-sale.

To make the offer more attractive, you can give your product up for a cheaper early bird price that will end within a specific period. Now since your product doesn’t exist, you need to make sure that you set the launch date a couple of weeks ahead so you’ll have enough time to create and deliver your product.

If you don’t have an audience, you can pay for ads to advertise your pre-sale. What makes pre-orders so effective is that it requires little or no input. You won’t have to spend your time creating something without having ready customers.

If nobody pre-orders, you won’t suffer so much of a loss. However if only one or two buy your product, then you could refund their money and go back to the drawing board to find another idea.

Takeaway

Ideas abound, but money is hard to come by. You need to know exactly which ideas are worth investing in and this means you need to spend real time and resources to validate your product idea before getting too far down the path.

 

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Posted 12.12.2016 - 03:03 pm EDT