Before you start putting in the hard work (and money!) setting up and launching your business, take a moment to research whether your business idea is viable.
1. Is your business idea original?
Using a search engine and social media sites to search for your idea can show you whether your business is original, but remember to look beyond the first results page.
Researching your competitors is essential if you are validating your business. If there are similar products or services on the market already, having competitors isn’t necessarily a problem, it just means there is a demand for your product or service. By identifying your competition; it will help you to recognise what differentiates your business.
If you have a unique selling point, you will be able to win and maintain a higher share in the market. You can also learn from other business’s mistakes and successes by understanding how they promote themselves and who they target. Google Trends can also be useful for validating whether you are going into a stable or growing market.
2. Can you validate the demand?
You can reduce the risk of selling something that nobody will buy by validating the demand for your product or service and its market. Compiling a list of potential customers will also help to reduce the risk of low traffic in your initial few months.
A way to find out if customers would be willing to pay for your product or service is to set up a free landing page. Useful sites for free landing pages are Strikingly and Launchrock. Strikingly uses no code and you do not need any design experience to build a page. Launchrock is also easy to use with a block-based builder and custom HTML blocks.
Landing pages will usually feature a short snippet about your product or service with ‘coming soon’ or ‘in development’. The key is to make your landing page attractive to capture the email addresses of visitors. You can see how many people are visiting your site by using an analytical tool such as Google Analytics, or by creating a sign-up form using sites such as Wufoo. This sign-up form will ask people to leave their email address if they would like more information on your idea or your launch. If lots of people visit the site, you will know people are interested in your idea.
Another way to validate your business is to send out surveys. By using tools such as SurveyMonkey, you can send it out to all your contacts and share on social media. It’s important to ask the right questions so you can gather as much information about your idea as possible, for example;
- Would they buy the product or service?
- Do they like the name of the product/business?
- How much would they pay?
The answers to these questions can help shape the final launch of your idea and give an indication of how successful the idea can be in comparison to how many people are engaged.
3. Have you produced a business plan?
A business plan is a document that allows you to turn your thoughts and ideas into a business. It may seem like an intimidating task but it is a valuable document outlining your business strategies and makes you think about every aspect of the business to understand it thoroughly.
As your business progresses, your time working on the business will become more limited as you spend more time in the business. Consulting your business plan can allow you to make more informed and effective decisions and ensure you are keeping on track.
Also, a business plan is vital for anyone seeking or thinking of seeking finance, now or in the future. Banks, investors and other lenders will expect to see a Business Plan and will not provide capital without one. It provides them with an overall understanding of the business and the likely returns.
Keep you business plan active so you’re able to refer back to it and keep your progression on track.
4. Are you asking for help?
There is nothing wrong with asking for help when you’re starting a business. There are numerous services to provide you with the support and guidance you might need. Industry experts can help you understand how to make the most of opportunities and further identify the needs of your target market. A mentor is a valuable asset to anyone starting a business and this avenue shouldn’t be overlooked. A mentor can also give you one-on-one support and provide you with dedicated advice and guidance.
Need help with your business plan? If you’re unsure where to start with writing your business plan, or you want to make sure your plan is investment ready, book a place on one of our popular business planning workshops and our experts will guide you to success. View dates.