Every startup founder believes, deep inside, that his/her creation will become the next Facebook or Google. The idea behind is just too brilliant to fail!
In reality, over 30 percent of startups go belly-up within two years. Only half survives the 5-year mark. Just little over 30 percent are still around in 10 years’ time.
These numbers may seem depressing, but you can dramatically increase the likelihood of your business’ surviving by learning what those who failed did wrong and avoiding it.
Research shows that the top reason why startups fail is that they do not solve a market need. Think about it – 42 percent of startups fail because they it did not occur to them to check if somebody needs what they are offering.
In this article, we will cover some things you can do to look before you leap.
Use Blogs and Social Media
Many entrepreneurs do not realize that social media presence, blog posts, podcasts, videos and other types of content can be used for more than simply promoting your brand and products once you have started out.
On the contrary, they are extremely useful for testing the waters before committing yourself to anything.
An ideal startup is not just a new business – it is a conceptually new approach to solving a known problem.
Using online content (guest blogging is particularly promising because it allows you to reach out to brand new audiences you do not normally interact with) allows you to test new ideas and see how people react to it before you invest significant resources into it.
Look at Existing Solutions and Test their Pain Points
If a problem exists, there already is at least one commonly used solution to it. It may be something offered by your competitors or simply something your potential customers have to deal with in their lives.
Your goal is to identify what makes using the existing solutions painful and offer a product that not just has all the advantages of the existing analogs but is noticeably better in some respects.
Not different for the difference’s sake, but better. Once you identify this pain point and determine how you can solve it, turn its solution into the main selling point of your product.
Put Your Ideas Into Writing and Discuss It With Your Team
You may have a tacit agreement with your team about all the details of your product/service.
It may feel natural to you – but only after you put your ideas into writing you will be able to take notice of things you may have glossed over previously.
What we talk here is not a business plan – innovative startups have a tendency to change their plans dramatically as soon as they bump into the real world.
We mean answers to some common questions, as concrete and straightforward as possible. Who is your client? What problem do you offer to solve and how will you do it? What makes your product different from all the others?
The more definite, real-world advantages (time/money/energy saved, efficiency increased, etc.) you can list, the better.
Have Your Idea Evaluated by Potential Clients and Experts
Understand that the aforementioned ideas are nothing but conjectures. Startup founders are often too enamored with their own vision to see it critically.
This is why you should test them in real world. Interview potential clients (prepare a set of buyer personas to know whom you are dealing with). Reach out to the industry experts.
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Do not run them through surveys (these give you nothing) – get in touch with them personally and really discuss the matter. Approach them with the desire to learn more about the problem and readiness to hear their opinions.
However, it is important to understand that being interested in your idea is different from buying your product.
Most people are inclined to please others as long as it does not cost them anything. That is why, when you hear that somebody likes your idea, ask him/her “Why?”
Test Using Targeted Ads
After you zero in on your potential clients, you may start testing the degree in which they are interested in your offer.
Of course, you can go only so far without a working product, but you can get sufficiently close by using targeted ads and evaluating how many people proceed further down the customer funnel and commit to something – for example, by signing up for the waiting list.
Testing your idea before implementing it may seem overcautious in the world that is constantly afraid of lagging behind, and it is partially true – wait too long, and somebody will overtake you.
Summarily, it is important to maintain balance – and we hope that this article will help you do it.