Launching a business or product is risky. You've got time, attention, and usually money all on the line. But what if it was possible to test your idea, so you can anticipate success before going all-in?
Five months ago this week, I had what might be called a “rude awakening”.
I realized there were about seventeen dozen things I never learned about raising a child until my wife and I had a baby ourselves.
Things like how to predict spit-up trajectory, comfort a child after his first big fart, and somehow write a blog post while making a newborn laugh at the same time.
Building a business often feels exactly the same way.
You've got this new, exciting project that sucks up most of your time and attention, but you have no idea what to do it.
Most of the time, it feels like you're just making things up along the way.
Someone once told me something along the lines of,
To start a business, you just need a really great, unique idea to begin!
Wellllll as it turns out, business is more complicated than that.
What to Do With Your Really Great Idea
Let’s just say you do have an excellent business or product idea. What do you do next?
Some people seek out investors, take out a huge loan, and build a company designed to turn their great idea into a real-life thing.
But if you go that route, you're taking on a whole lot of risk. What do you do if come launch-day nobody buys?
“Bankruptcy is not a back-up plan, it’s public record that you failed to validate your idea.”
How to Validate Before You Commit
When you launch a product or other venture, you can never have absolute certainty that it will succeed.
But that doesn't mean you should throw caution to the wind, and run blind.
In Pat Flynn's new book Will it Fly?, he documents the process of going through five stages of product validation:
- Mission Design, where you focus on aligning your target goals with the lifestyle you want to live;
- Development Lab, where you clearly define your idea (examining it from multiple strategic angles);
- Flight Planning, where you assess the current market to evaluate your opportunity;
- Flight Simulator, where you get real-life buyers on a small scale before you go all in; and
- All Systems Go, where you perform some final analysis before you fully invest and launch your product or business idea.
This new resource is a comprehensive guidebook for starting new business ventures.
The accompanying workbook and videos are solid gold (figuratively, of course).
Recommended Reading: Will It Fly? How to Test Your Next Business Idea So You Don't Waste Your Time and Money by Pat Flynn.
What I love most about Will It Fly? is that each section comes with a series of simple exercises to walk you through the process―and Pat shares his own results too, along the way.
Making Money Off a Half-Baked Product
In Will it Fly?, Pat shares a validation technique that others have used to make money off of products that don't yet actually exist. There are a few benefits to this approach:
- You get an initial boost of revenue before you invest any of your own,
- You get assurance that people will pay money based on your concept, and
- You get the confidence you need to create a phenomenal product.
One of the case studies in Pat's book involves my friend Bryan Harris, who taught me this validation technique himself about one year ago.
The strategy works like this:
- Create a compelling narrative involving your product,
- Find people who you think want your product,
- Pitch them the narrative and offer early discounted access,
- Measure your success based off of those small-scale results.
(For a full breakdown of this product validation technique, order a copy of Pat Flynn's new book.)
Case Study: How I Made $1485 Off My Course Before it Was Complete
While I created the first batch of videos for The Get Noticed!™ Theme Unlocked, I simultaneously built a small waiting list.
Once that waiting list reached just over forty subscribers, I sent a series of emails describing the upcoming course and asked for beta members to join at a discounted, lifetime rate.
Out of those 44 subscribers, 5 joined the course.
That's an 11.36% conversion rate, and brought in $1485 in revenue before the course was even half done!
I was able to confidently finish the course, and then pull of a $10,000 initial-week launch.[/su_note]
This book should be required reading for anyone wanting to create a new business or product (click here to order a copy).
You can save yourself a lot of stress & disappointment by following Pat's guidance to design & validate your idea, taking you from concept to launch.
Question: Have you had product ideas that you've sat on, because you weren't sure how best to proceed?