Entrepreneurs frequently think they’ve stumbled upon the next “big idea,” and then soak thousands of cash into it only to discover it was a flop. To avoid this entrepreneurial money pit, use these four resources to test your business idea.
Facebook/Linkedin Groups – Social media is often overlooked as a useful tool for planning and organizing business ventures. Join some industry-related groups and you can find a wealth of knowledge from people who have years of experience. If you are worried about revealing too much and having someone steal your ideas, then break it up. Share just a small portion of your idea with one group and see how it is received, then share another small nugget with another group. If the overall consensus is that the idea is solid, you have got a strong case for moving ahead. If your idea really can’t be segmented, build a relationship with a few people in your groups and ask them to sign a nondisclosure agreement.
Google Keyword Tool – After you start to move forward with your idea, you will need a website to share information. This website will need to be search engine optimized, and you’ll also want to be aware of your competition. If these terms seem like a foreign language to you, don’t close up shop just yet. You can have someone who specializes in online business and website optimization do all the dirty work for you. However, doing a little research on the front end can tell you a lot about the viability of your business idea without taking money out of your pocket. Think about the kind of keywords that people might use to search for the product or service.
Amazon Kindle Search – Professional eBook writers often use Google’s Keyword Tool to generate book ideas. They find which niches are currently popular, then conduct research and write books related to these topics. If using the keyword tool is just a little too intimidating for you, or if you would like to verify your findings, you can piggyback on their research by searching through the Kindle books currently available on Amazon.
Crowd-sourcing – You can get feedback for your business idea by using a crowd-sourcing platform like Kick-starter. While this method is the most labor-intensive on our list, it also provides the most useful feedback and could even put some money in your pocket to help you develop your product. There are several crowd-sourcing platforms out there, but Kick-starter is one of the most widely recognized and has one of the largest audiences. To put your product or service on Kick-starter, create a free account and gather some information relating to your future business. Kick-starter loves video presentations, so if you can create a short video that explains your idea, it will be more likely to be accepted.