Have you ever had an idea about a business but got confused about what to do or where to start?
It happens a lot of the time.
There are a thousand and one ideas out there about starting a business, but, most entrepreneurs are usually caught in the thought of the first and most important thing to do.
A lot of people would have launched their business a long time ago but the thought of what to do first is usually the bane of many business ideas.
For example, it’s like a woman who heard about an amazing dish from a friend, she get’s all the recipe for the dish, get’s home to try it out but was confused about what to do first.
What must she add or mix first?
Onions? Oil? Water?
It’s a very frustrating experience.
That’s how may entrepreneurs feel when starting a business.
After getting all the motivations, information and tools needed to launch their business, they struggle with what they must do first to launch a business that becomes successful.
About the woman in our analogy, if she does not know what to do first to cook her new found delicacy, she would either stand there getting more confused or cook up some delicious disaster.
This does not have to be you because there’s no time groping in the dark like a blind man.
I was in the same dilemma a few months ago.
I had an amazing business idea. I fantasized about how successful it would be.
I thought about how one multi-millionaire investor will buy my business or invest huge money into it.
Great idea it was but there was a problem!
What must I do first?
Should I get a website?
Write a business plan?
Create an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)?
Create social media account?
Goodness! What the heck do I do first?
Gradually, my interest for that business idea started declining. Then, finally I shifted it to my wishlist (things I hope to do in the future).
Unfortunately, a lot of entrepreneurs stay in this state of confusion for way too long until the flame of excitement to start a business dies off.
it is even worse when you don’t have a mentor or a friend to motivate you and help you get clarity.
So, if you’re in that state of having a great business idea but do not know where to start, these post will be of great help.
To get more opinions concerning this particular matter, I decided to ask two business communities on Facebook where I’m a member the following question:
WHAT IS THE FIRST AND MOST IMPORTANT THING TO DO BEFORE STARTING A BUSINESS?
These were the responses I got:
Ayo Solanke:Validate the idea.
Build a Minimum Viable Product.
Oluwafemi Toyinbo:Perform a Needs/Niche analysis with GoogleAdwords.google.com. Basically, you’d be using adwords.google.com to know if people actually need your idea
Ronald Ikenna Nzimora:Is there a market? That’s the first thing.
If there’s no market, everything else you do is a waste of time.
Adedayo Adegoke:Start with the Market, then what’s the need, then ask if you have the knowledge /expertise & interest in serving that need!
From the responses above, you have seen that everybody recommends validating your idea. Validating your business idea means checking or proving the existence of a hungry market.
It makes no sense selling what people don’t care about.
This is no time to rely on feelings and hear-say.
When any business idea comes to your mind, the first step is to validate it.
Validating an idea does not have to take so much time and energy. Even if it does, the result will save you a huge amount of time that would have been wasted on building a business nobody wants to buy.
How To Validate/Test Your Business Idea
1. Assess yourself: Ask yourself, “is this a product or service I would buy”? If you’re not your biggest fan, people will not likely be motivated to buy from you. Whatever business you want to start, be your first customer.
2. What problem are you solving exactly?: Every business is there to solve one problem or the other. If you can’t clearly say what problem you’re solving with your product or service, it will be difficult to make a sale. Humans are naturally selfish and would always ask within themselves, “what is in it for me?”. If they can’t pinpoint any value your product would give to them, they will ignore you. It’s not enough to give them a great solution. You have to understand the benefit of solving their problem and the experience that follows it.
Your solution could be:
- Energy-saving etc
The experience your product gives could be:
3. Conduct a survey: Another way is to conduct a survey. Sites like SurveyMonkey, typeform, etc could help you gather feedback on your idea. This could be easily shared with your email list (if you have any), Facebook friends, Twitter followers, etc. Avoid asking yes/no questions. Give them the freedom to say their mind. And also make sure that your questions are dead simple to understand.
Possible questions you could ask them is found here>>> 20 QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN VALIDATING YOUR BUSINESS IDEA
Free Survey Services you can use
Just sign up for a free survey service to start testing your idea
- SurveyMonkey is free for up to 10 questions and 100 responses. If you get more responses than that, you can upgrade for $26 per month. (Highly recommended. I’ve used them a couple of times)
- PollDaddy doesn’t limit the number of questions or respondents you can have, but if you want to export your feedbacks, you’ll need to upgrade to PollDaddy Pro, which is $200 per year.
- KwikSurveys has a free option that doesn’t limit the number of questions or responses, and it lets you export the results.
- FreeOnlineSurveys lets you create a survey of up to 20 questions and receive up to 50 responses over a 10-day period for free. If you get more responses, it costs $19.99 per month to upgrade. (source: Smartblogger.com)
4. How will money be made: This is probably one of the most important things you must consider. Why are you in business if not to make money? Unless it is a hobby or charity work, then there will be no need for this. You should consider the possible means money could be made from your product. Don’t rely on luck or one rich investor to come throw a million dollar on you. This does not mean that you must make money from the first day. Think of ways you would make money from your product at least in 2 or 3 months time.
5. Use Facebook Ad: This is probably the fastest, cheapest and easiest way to validate an idea.Don’t worry. You are not going to spend a dime in advertising. So why Facebook Advertising? Because it offers an excellent analytics tool called Audience Insights. This tool gives you useful information in about 2 minutes. Simply choose the countries on which you want to focus. Say you wanted to start a self-publishing business in Lagos, but you aren’t sure of how to see what the size for interested people is?
Use the ad manager to select people in Lagos, Nigeria who are interested in self-publishing between the ages of 18-40. Facebook tells us that 1, 378, 590 people are interested in self-publishing. Since we’re seeing more than 1 million people, it
looks like this part of the research process checks out. This tool is free, simple, and very fast – and it will save you an incredible
number of headaches. Use it.
“One of the parameters I use to evaluate a digital publishing business is a 1 million person market. If I find that a market is less than 1 million people, I feel the scale is very limited. Often, the smaller the market, the harder it is to drive traffic. That’s because there is usually less overall activity, and that can make it much more difficult for you to break into that space.”
- Anik Singal (Author, The Circle of Profit)
Go here to carry out your idea validation with facebook>>> Validate your idea here
6. Use Google.com: If every other tool fails, you should try the almighty Google. Search for other people or companies who are already doing what you intend to do. If there’s any,what would you do differently from them? Will you just be another average Joe?
Don’t try to re-invent the wheel. Competition means potential. To succeed in a new market is usually difficult. Be realistic and pursue the market where there is an existing competition.
After validating your idea, what’s next?
Let’s assume there’s a hungry market for your idea, what should you do next?
Build a Minimum Viable Product.
Building a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a strategy for avoiding the development of products that customers do not want. The idea is to rapidly build a minimum set of features that is enough to deploy the product and test key assumptions about customers’ interactions with the product.
This simply means building enough features that solve the exact problem of your ideal clients without overwhelming them with features they don’t probably need.
You will agree with me that we don’t use almost 80% of the features in most apps.
Building an MVP is another good way of validating your idea to know if people are really willing to pay for it.
The sad reality is there are many great products that were created that people never used.
Building an MVP will save you time and money but it is not an excuse to build a bad product.
Often you don’t even need to code or design an expensive website to prove the product you want to build meets a need.
Let’s take Unsplash for example.
Unsplash is a photography website that was created because the founder, Mikael Cho hated cheesy, expensive stock photography. He thought other people might think this was a problem too. But before he assumed that, he needed to figure out a way to know if his hypothesis was true.
Rather than spending months creating a website with profiles, logins, etc., he setup a Tumblr blog withand uploaded 10 hi-resolution photos to a public Dropbox folder. Within three hours, the first version of Unsplash was built.
The first version of Unsplash as a Tumblr theme:
He submitted Unsplash on, an online community of designers, developers, and entrepreneurs he thought might like Unsplash.
Within a few hours of posting, over 20,000 photos were downloaded. Even though the first version of Unsplash was primitive and barely worked, it was enough to prove it solved a problem for many people.
Today, Unsplash gets over 7 million photo downloads a month. Interestingly, the basic look of the first version of Unsplash is still how Unsplash looks today. The simplicity of their Minimum Viable Product ended up being the thing that made Unsplash special.
Two Quick Way To Create A Minimum Viable Product
#1. Use an Explainer Video: An explainer video is usually a short video of about 60-90 minutes that explains what your product does and why people should buy from you.
Dropbox did this before launching their product. They started with an explainer video – a 3 minutes screencast published on Hacker news. The video was enough to give the potential clients a hint of what to expect.
It all started from a 90 seconds explainer video. Today, Dropbox is a fast growing company with funding in excess of $250 million, ~80 employees, 50 million users, and $240 million in revenue.
#2. Create a Landing Page: “A landing page is a web page where visitors “land” after clicking a link from an ad, e-mail or another type of a campaign.” The work of a Landing page is to quickly communicate the value of your product to potential users. After creating your landing page, you can go ahead to run a facebook ad to see how many people will opt in. Your conversion will be influenced by factors like the video quality, your message and the amount of money you’re willing to pay to run the ad.
I f a lot of people are interested in your idea and you are probably making some money from it, then you can scale.
Do only those things that will foster growth. Don’t get caught up in things that will only distract and slow you down. Be involved in productivity more than activity.
Don’t waste your time on social media if it’s not helping your business in a significant way.
When you have an idea,
- Validate your idea
- Build a Minimal Viable Product
- Listen to feedback
This article by JEFFREY MANU will help reinforce my points>>> Want to Start A Business? Do This First.
I hope this post helps you start your business. Drop your question, contribution or feedback in the comment box below.
If you are new in online business and you would want me to help you, kindly send me an email