If you’re like me, you have 10 different business ideas in the back of your head.
But whether you’re an entrepreneur or you work inside a big organization, how do you test those ideas to find out if they can really get off the ground? On the January 10 #WorkTrends podcast and Twitter chat, I talked to Boris Gocnharov, co-founder of Moosetank, a firm that helps startups and small companies build products.
Here’s the advice he shared for anyone with big ideas and a lot of questions about how to get started.
Get Started Now
First of all, Boris says, there’s no time like the present. I asked him what the perfect time is to test a business hypothesis. His answer? Right now.
“If you’ve got an idea and you think there’s value for customers, test it right away. If you have free time, just start doing that.”
In other words, don’t sit on your idea without taking action. “Ideas come to many people at the same time, so if you don’t try your idea right away, maybe someone will be quicker than you tomorrow. You don’t have to waste a lot of time,” he says.
It’s always a good plan to research your target market, but don’t paralyze yourself by over-researching. “The main idea is not to overwhelm yourself with analysis, because you can just have information anxiety. You don’t move on. You don’t move forward. You actually can block yourself from testing or trying your business hypothesis because you get too much information,” he says.
Simplify Your Idea
Boris says that you don’t need a complex business plan before you jump in and start testing your idea. Strip your idea down to its essence and start there.
“Most business hypotheses can be tried in a very basic form. I think you can sacrifice almost everything except the core feature, or the core service. The only thing you need is a response from your audience that they’re ready to pay for that.”
Find the Easiest Way to Get Your Idea to Your Customers
When you’re ready to launch your idea, Boris says, you shouldn’t waste your time building a complicated website or perfect marketing materials.
“There’s no need to develop a complex platform with a lot of pages and services. You can just build something really quickly, like one single page, or an email sequence or a video campaign. The most important thing that your customers can give you is their answers and a form of purchase. If they can purchase your product, that’s the bare minimum you need.”
Then, stick to your plan.
“The more you invest in your idea, the harder it is to roll it out. You might plan to spend a week on your website. Then [plan] to not spend more than $1,000 on your ad campaign. You can bring unlimited effort to any idea in the world, but your goal is to build a successful business. The first and most important thing is to stick to the initial plan you had in your mind.”
Be Honest with Yourself
If your idea isn’t panning out, say you’re spending more on getting a new customer in the door than they’re paying for your product, it’s okay to be honest with yourself. If one idea doesn’t work, you can always move on to your backup plan or your next venture.