It really pains me to see someone come up to me and say… “I have this great idea, and just need funding. Can you help me.” The answer is no… and here’s why, because a) you haven’t validated your idea and b) you need to learn what bootstrapping is.
Let’s try to address a) you haven’t validated your idea…
What’s the best way to know if your idea is valid? 1) someone opens their wallet and pays you and 2) they give you their real email address.
What saddens me, is not the stupid ideas, but that so many wannapreneurs don’t know what a landing page is and how they can validate their idea.
These guys like to play “company”, not business – here’s the normal stuff they do, after assigning designations, they spend thousands of bucks – print business cards, incorporate a WLL or LLC, open bank account, buy cool furniture, set up social media accounts and live in lala land about when their product hits the market and how it’s going to be a HUGE (Donald Trump style) success.
Validating a product idea: an all-important step to take to avoid wasting time and money building a product nobody wants.
Here are 3 things you can do before any of the above…
Step 1: Setup a Landing Page – what’s that you say? Ahh… you’re about to find out. A landing page is a single page, with a single focus, no distractions. It consists of a headline, a value proposition, a call-to-action and possibly an offer. It’s not a coming soon page. You can use LeadPages, InstaPage, Unbounce (and if you’re a bit more technically included ThrivePages). This is point and click software – so easy, your grandmother could do it! And guess what… you can open a free account for less than $50 a month and it should take you less than 1 hour to do.
Step 2: Promote that Landing Page – advertise, market, share on social media – get everyone to see it. Advertise through Facebook Ads, Google Ads, or even Linkedin Ads and get as much traffic to that place. You don’t need just these advertising platforms – you can go to the forums where your target hangout and taken an ad there. Or search for some online database of targeted users – a newsletter or publication of some sort. Spend $100 on doing this – it should take a couple of hours to have your banner ready (get it done on Fiverr for $5 or even better – go to Canva and do it yourself for free). Tweet, share – tell everyone about this landing page. See how many people actually sign up. Keep testing and tweaking (aka A/B Testing to the geeks) your landing page till you reach a fairly decent conversion of 20%.
Step 3: Sell to your audience like hell! Just kiddin. Start asking intelligent, open ended questions to those leads – you’ve captivated their interest, now tell them about what you’re planning to do and gather feedback. Learn to understand more about them, their needs, their frustrations, their pain points – know more about them than they do! Chat with them, ask them what they’d like to see as a solution. In the old days, we called this market research, or focus group – today’s it’s just easier with technology.
Billion Dollar Bonus: Ok, here’s where the bonus comes in. In step 3, if you can convince your leads to hand over their hard earned money – you really have a good chance of success! Just collecting emails and asking questions is not going to help you. The only sure way to validate what you’re doing is by making the sale. No matter what the amount, are they pulling out their credit card to pay for your product / service. If people really want your product, they will pay you with “thank-you notes” (even if it has the image of a dead president on the front). Yes, this is pre-selling or selling before you build.
Do this my beloved wannapreneur… you’re life will be easier.