Today, entrepreneurs have a wealth of information at their fingertips to help them get started. There are online classes and local workshops for those ready to start a business, local state and community mentoring programs, you can hire a coach or consultant to help you get started. I hear from soon to be entrepreneurs “How do I know if my business idea will work?”  This is part 2 of a 3-part series. (Read Part 1.)

Second, test your idea. 

If you have a physical product get one made. I’m not talking about making it look like your kids’ elementary school science product, but get it made by someone in that industry.  I.E. if it is a garment, then locate a garment factory that will make a prototype for you. If it’s a mechanical part, maybe find someone with a 3-D printer and fabricate the part.  Just get a good working sample. Buy your future (because you have not gone to market yet) competitors’ products.  This way you can physically show people the difference from the top products in your market to your product and showcase how your product can BENEFIT them.

If you are creating a type of service, offer to test your service to people you know that may benefit from your service and they are not using what you have to offer. Start developing your system for when clients do start purchasing your product. 

The testing step is to get feedback from users of your product or service. Ask lots of questions to get detailed feedback on why they liked or disliked your product or service. Be prepared to make all necessary adjustments.  ou should get a large sample pool of feedback. The more people that test your product or service and give you feedback the better. You made a better product or have a unique service – WHY?  What benefit will the end user get from your product or service that they cannot get from someone else’s product or service? This should have been discovered in step one.

Some exceptions to the testing phase.

There will always be some exceptions to everything and this is no different. You must be the one to determine how to test your product or service and if it viable to create a prototype depending on what it is. I.E. you want to open a restaurant. You are not going to put $100’s of thousands of dollars into testing your idea (unless you really want to-not recommended). You may want to conduct deep demographic research of a part of town you would like to open a specific type of restaurant in. See how many of the same type of restaurants there are in that area, then visit each one and take notes.

By visit, I mean physically go to the restaurant and order a variety of meals. If they ask you why your ordering 5 entrees and you are the only diner, tell them you’re are a food blogger and they will leave you alone and you may get better service. I recommend going with a group of people and everyone order a different appetizer, entrée, a side item and dessert. This way you can take a picture of all the dishes, taste all them all and take notes. Take notes of the ambiance, they type of service, the menu offerings etc. Possibly talk to the owner about their business (Note: do not tell them you are going to open up a similar restaurant near them and be their competition- they will not roll out the red carpet for you but chase you with pitchforks. This is you market research in a test facility.)

Test your idea to make sure the market will purchase your product or service.

This is part 2 of a 3-part series.

Read part 1

A SCORE mentor can guide you in your business planning process for free! Click here to schedule a mentoring session.

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