The best thing about the idea phase of a new product or service is that it is perfect, because there is no one to criticize, and cheap, because it is not built. The shade tree and apple part of your concept is as fun as it is cheap. It’s when the time comes to approach investors or plop down your own cash for a trial run, that things start getting a little more serious. To avoid wasting your or others time and cash in the next phase, here are a few tips for economical testing your great ideas.
Whether you are selling a new hat or a million dollar security software system, buyers have to “get” the benefit of your product in 30 seconds or less. Testing and grading your new idea only on the type of customer that you will be targeting is the key. Many customers who might be in the market for some other product, simply won’t understand.This is a very long and tough process, but critical for future success.
Test prototypes with real customers. While this may feel like more time and effort up front, in the long-term you will avoid many missteps. This will also allow you to do your product research with a less expensive item. There is no need to be talked into ordering a thousand of something before you even know if your targeted people have an interest.
Generally, people want to be kind and encouraging. To avoid any false positive feedback on your idea, make sure there is a value exchange. If you have a valuable product/service, customers will pay you with money or time. And your team, friends, family and start-up buddies likely don’t get to vote. The only people whose opinions matter are those target customers that have a real need for your product.