Y’all are tired of school and working for someone else doesn’t excite you.
You and your boys have had dozens of business ideas in the back of your heads forever. This blog post will teach you how to find out which one those ideas might pop off.
Identify opportunities in your daily life
You and your friends typically run into a handful of problems every single day. These are the same nuisances that you experience daily without fail. You can call these “Toe Stub” moments.
It’s like that piece of furniture in your house that you almost always stub your toe on but refuse to move. You know better but you don’t change anything.
Start here. The best entrepreneurs solves the problems that they’re the best equipped to solve. You know this problem in and out because you face it everyday. You’re a future customer of whatever solution you’re about to build.
Building a solution from the view point of a future customer will allow you to empathize with their pain points.
Examine the Landscape
Who Are Your Competitors?
Take a look at who’s already trying to tackle this. Remember, put yourself in the shoes of the customer. You’re looking to make a purchase that will make your life easier. Will this company’s product do that?
Here are 2 questions to answer about your competitors:
- How do they acquire customers?This can inform your marketing strategy. Take note of the positioning they’ve taken and who they’re speaking to. What elements of their product have they highlighted? Do they put an emphasis on price or value?
- What gaps do their solution have?Don’t get discouraged if you’re not the first one to tackle this. Their solution may only be addressing 3/5 pain points haphazardly. Your solution could dive deep into solving 1/5 of those pain points really well.
A note of caution here – your competitors might be wrong. They could be bleeding cash or miss the mark completely when it comes to the customer.
Their actions are not gospel.
By basing your approach completely off of what you see on the surface, you’re blind to all the underlying assumptions they’ve made. Don’t copy your competitors.
Why Doesn’t It Exist?
Couldn’t find an existing solution? Dope, there’s an opportunity!
But… if this really is a huge opportunity then why hasn’t anyone capitalized on it?
Have people tried this before?
Is the market small?
How hard is it to solve this problem?
These are all assumptions that are difficult to answer at a hookah bar. When you and your boys have burnt out the coal, here’s how you can tackle those question marks.
Build an MVP
An MVP is a minimum viable product. It’s the smallest and cheapest version of your solution that you can build.
Your MVP should have one goal and one goal only – prove that there’s demand for what you’re building.
Airbnb is a famous example of how MVPs help validate assumptions and test the market.
When Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia needed help paying their insane San Fran rent in 2007, they had an idea– rent out extra space in their house to strangers.
Here’s a breakdown of the Airbnb MVP:
The Problem: people coming in and out of town have trouble finding an inexpensive place to stay
The Assumption: travelers will stay at a stranger’s house for a lower fee than a hotel
The Solution: they tossed a couple of air mattresses around their house and put up a landing page advertising accommodations to conference-goers.
It worked. They validated their assumption – people were willing to stay at a stranger’s house at a lower cost than a hotel. There was a demand and need for what their were building.
Thus, Airbnb was born had Brian and Joe had rent money.
The tale of these two buddies proves that you don’t need a polished product to break into the market. Don’t think that you’re special because you’re trying to build an app.
You’re letting “I don’t know how to code” or “I need a developer” be an excuse. Any one of the tools below will help you get the job done without a coder:
Honestly, Wix is more than enough for a prototype.
Those design tools will help you get started. Remember, your app will not be the final version of your product. You just need some sort of a mockup to test with your ideal customer. Keep the focus narrow.
Now that you’ve got v1 of your product slapped together, it’s time to take it to the streets.
Get your first client
Sorry to burst your bubble, but this section will not be talking about SEO or growth marketing hacks. You’re not there yet.
Right now you need to get one person to pay for your product. You need to prove to yourself and to your team that this road is worth traveling down.
Who is that one person that will pay for your product? How are they experiencing the problem you’re solving? What are their frustrations with the current solutions? How much do they typically pay for existing solutions?
Answering these questions will help you build a buyer persona. This is your ideal customer. Once you’ve nailed this down, start looking for people in your network that fit this persona.
Ask them to walk through your solution. Take note of how they interact with it. This is a test to see how accurate you were with identifying pain points. If you missed the mark, no worries. You can return back to the drawing board with data.
You’ll know that the walkthrough is a success when you ask them, “How much would you pay for this?” and they reply with a number. It doesn’t matter how high or low the number is at this time. All that matters is that you’ve built something people are willing to pay for.
Now, a sample size of one isn’t enough validation. Ask at least a few more people until you start to hearing trending answers. Remember, all of this is feedback you can use to continue iterating your product from an MVP to being launch ready.
Would you buy what you’re selling?
If the answer is no, start over.
As you carry forth with your capitalistic dreams, there’s one crucial question you gotta ask yourself– would you buy what you’re selling? Would you do business with yourself?
When you go shopping you think twice about the value you’re getting for the dollars you’re giving up. You’re super critical with opening your wallet. You need to be just as critical when you’re on the opposite end.
Building a business is an uphill battle. If you ain’t built for this grind, the incline will wind you.
But the only way to find out is to start.