Every single successful business ever started off with a great idea, most often accompanied by a feel for customers’ needs. Internet businesses are no different. In fact, given the amount of competition, one could say it’s much harder for an internet business to succeed than a real-world one – you’re swimming in a global shark tank as opposed to a local one.
Having the time and money to invest in your internet business already puts you ahead of your competition. It won’t be enough, though – if you want to truly make it in the field, you’ll have to have a great idea even before you spend the first dollar. But how can you know what works and what doesn’t? Here are 7 ways you can test an internet business idea before making any big investments.
- Read the classics. Before investing anything, familiarize yourself with the classics of business: how supply and demand work, how to beat your competition, how to avoid landing into an oversaturated market and so forth. This will help you get a clearer picture of your idea’s chances.
- Read the specifics. Along with reading the general rules, gain an understanding of what it takes to run the specific business you’re looking to start. What are the drawbacks? Do you really see yourself as the head of such a company?
- Gather testimonials. You’ll need some accounts of people who have tried doing exactly what you’re thinking of doing. After all, what better way to test your business than using someone else’s trial-and-error? While this will prove to be an invaluable asset, don’t get too caught up in the stories of success or failure – ultimately, how your business does is up to you.
- Consult an expert. Similar to the previous point, try finding an entrepreneur or a similarly knowledgeable person and present them with your idea. They’ll tell you how good of a plan you have, what needs changing, how many others are doing the same thing and so on.
- Try surveying your target audience in some way. We’re not exactly telling you to run a poll, but you can try actually talking to people and seeing whether they feel they could use the thing you’re planning on offering. You’ll also get to know how open they’d be to doing business with someone new in the field. For best results, make it seem as if you’re not personally invested in the matter.
- Consider running a downsized version of your would-be business. While this won’t take as much money, it might take some time, but it’s still worth it – if there’s no interest in your product whatsoever even before you’ve invested money, things probably aren’t going to get much better after you pour the big bucks in.
- Be honest with yourself – how innovative is your idea? Every successful business owner brought something new to the table, even if it consisted of small changes. It’s fine to take a basic premise from someone else, but unless you have some notable improvements in mind, you aren’t likely to get far.