Starting your own business is a scary thing. Often it means venturing into the unknown and risking a lot. It requires a lot of hard work and in many cases, a large investment that can take years to see a return on. Is there a way you can test out an idea before fully committing?
In theory, yes. There are various ways you can test out an idea without actually jumping into starting your business fully. Which method you’d use depends on what kind of idea you have.
Your best friend will be social media. As sad as that is, it’s true. Social media gives you the opportunity to interact with people from all over the world. How you use it is up to you. If you already have a following, you can simply put up a poll to gauge people’s reactions to your idea. See how many people would be interested, see what suggestions they have.
All businesses go through a test phase where they do market research so similarly, you can conduct your own and the brilliant thing is, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to do so. Take for example you have an idea about a product or a service, you can set up a brand new Instagram account, engage with similar content and produce some of your own so that it’s not an entirely empty profile. Then, you can message people. You can message your followers, people who are engaging with the posts you too are engaging with. In those messages, be clear, you aren’t trying to sell to them but would appreciate their feedback. Be cautious though that they can’t steal your idea.
If you have a product idea, you can do mock-ups virtually. Again, there are a lot of free software programs that you can use to generate an idea of what you are going to create. You may not want to invest in creating an actual prototype but you can create a virtual one to see what people think, whether its a 2D sketch or a 3D model, it’s up to you.
You can test out an idea in person as well but usually that takes more investment. For example, you would need to have permits to use a public space and then you would need something engaging in order to get people to stop. Ideally, you’d also want to gift something for free. It’s a great way to create buzz about a business but it does require a larger financial investment than using social media.
Ultimately though, the only way to truly test a business idea is to go for it. People may be happy about an idea but when they actually have to pay for it, they may not be so willing. That’s not to say that you have to drop everything to start your business but try to see how you could incorporate it in the life you already leave. Perhaps work a couple of hours after your regular job or use weekends to focus on setting up your business. It may take longer to get your business off the ground, but you’ll get a good idea of what’s popular and what’s not. The best part is, you will still have a regular income so everything does not depend on the success of your business idea.
Everyone wants some kind of guarantee but in life, there are none. Even something that you think is secure might turn out not to be. All we can do in life is try our best and remember that some things will work out and some things won’t. Your initial business idea may not generate much interest but with some modification, it could be the start of something very successful.