Don’t make the mistake of not validating your business, product or service idea. Getting your business started or launching a new idea in your business is HARD. Despite all our experience, we leave out crucial steps because we either don’t know any better or because we ‘already know it – we’ve been there, done that.’
And one of the biggest errors I’ve seen in my 9 to 5 in the last twenty years is skipping the step of vetting and validating.
We skip the checklists, the decision gates, the punch lists, the SOP review, because we’ve done it hundred times and think we can do it in our sleep.
But business changes all the time. There are new practices, changes in policy, turnover, new ideas and theories, budget cuts and a hundred other reasons why we should always continue to validate and vet the new in our businesses.
As a human resources manager, I would NEVER hire someone off the street because I checked all the recruiting, selection, and hiring boxes in my head. I go through the value and perfect fit exercises, review the job descriptions, customize the questions, prepare the rubric, conduct the pre-screen, the interviews, and the background checks. I never skip those steps simply because I’ve done the hundreds of times in my career.
In our own solopreneur businesses where we are CEO and data entry clerk, it’s easy to get caught in the trap of “I don’t have time to validate.”
Let me tell you – you don’t have time NOT to validate. You could spend months or even a couple of years pursuing a project, product, or service that never yields a dime.
Today, I want to help you avoid that by providing some ways you can avoid the vetting and validating mistakes.
Validating with Friends and Family
Yeah, me too. Just the idea of this makes your stomach turn, doesn’t it? No matter what course I’ve taken, article I’ve read, or discovery call I’ve scheduled with an expert, they all agree. This is a painful step you should take.
It’s not just an initiation period that guarantees you membership into the entrepreneur club once you’ve done it, it’s a legitimate step in the right place. Reaching out to friends and family to validate your idea helps you:
- Formulate your initial messaging,
- Get you comfortable with the elevator pitch rolling off your tongue, and
- Let your friends and family know exactly what you’re doing.
- It’s about referrals and how you can help
Listen, you’re not going to message to them the way you would message your email list or potential clients on social media. YOU’RE TALKING TO THEM AS IF THEY WERE YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY BECAUSE THEY ARE.
Pretend you’re telling them about your college degree and what you plan to do with it. Pretend you’re writing a letter telling them about your home remodel or vacation, or family reunion.
You’re not trying to sell your coaching package to your aunt Maude – your spreading excitement and enthusiasm about something your wildly passionate about!
Generate Beta Interest
Tell me if this sounds familiar – you get a huge grand idea in your head and you spend weeks and weeks building it out, and buying all the tools, and generating social media strategies and email series based on the idea and then when you put it out into the world you hear crickets.
Even though the pretty girl in the video told you all you had to do was slap some acronyms to your program and you’d be successful. And even though the dude in the other video ad promised if you worked hard and believed in yourself, you’d find the success your heart desired.
We already know they did not have overnight success, right? They worked their butt off for years getting to where they are, and while they want to show you how it worked for them, they started with a beta project too. They dripped one little free course out there, and an opt in here, and an ebook over there.
They started with some sort of beta version of their big, hairy idea before they spent months and hundreds or thousands of dollars their entire program, product or service.
So, before you make the same mistake, try a high-value opt-in. Try a free webinar or free evergreen course. A long-form workbook or e-book, a complete, detailed Trello Board, a done-for-you template in WordPress, a major discount on a new product – anything to get your idea out there for feedback.
Consider a Formal Panel
Whether it’s a course or a new product or service, this is one of my favorite validation and vetting ideas. And setting it up is easier than you think.
- First, choose what success looks like…three to five metrics you are striving to achieve with your new project.
- Outline your program, product, or service with as much detail as possible.
- Carefully choose people inside your ideal client persona and a few just outside of it.
- Then get their feedback. Do an open discussion in a zoom call, or schedule one on one feedback or send out a survey – whatever works for your business.
- Make the changes – even if that means scrapping the idea for now. It’s okay, let it marinate – it will be there when the time is right.
- Price it accordingly and launch it into the world
Obviously those are very stripped down steps. Each of those would take hours and hours to plan, let alone execute.
But those hours can save you hundreds of hours down the road and hundreds if not thousands of dollars in time, energy, and resources.
I want to hear back from you. Tell me, how do you vet or validate a new product or service idea?
And don’t forget, if you have a question in your business, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and it might just get on a future episode!