9 Steps To Test Your Next Idea With Almost No Capital
Ideas are a valuable currency. When executed properly, a solid idea can go a long way. We all have ideas on a day to day basis, yet so many of us disregard them. We have that moment where we say, “What if…?” However, after that moment, we go on with our busy lives and fail to act upon what could have become something incredible. If you do continue to put some thought into it, and diligently dive into the unknown, then you’ll probably soon find out that your barriers to entry are pretty high. You’ll start to see all the reasons why you can’t launch your idea. You’ll say it’s too expensive, or you don’t have the skills, or you need to hire this and that person. Truth is, any idea we have can be tested for almost no upfront capital. Although, you might not be able to launch a fully functional product, you can certainly generate initial interest, analyze user behavior, and build an early audience in an incredibly efficient manner. All you need is a simple process, readily available tools, and patience.
Experimentation is the most important aspect of starting anything. It’s a game of trial and error. Rather than investing time and allocating resources towards something unproven, try to first run low cost and highly efficient experiments that will enable you with the right information to validate your initial hypothesis. For those of you that know poker, it’s similar to the process of analyzing your opponent’s actions after each hand. You begin to learn more and more about the way they play and can develop a strategy around that. It helps mitigate the risk. Focus on understanding your target audience, and if you can’t figure out who it is yet, then just run more experiments, A/B test every detail, and personalize as much as possible along the way.
After investing a significant amount of time and capital into building mobile products and ideas without truly understanding my audience or gaining the right insights, I became obsessed with experimentation with every new idea I have. I immediately go out and conduct preliminary research on the market and try to gain as much insight as possible, develop my hypotheses, build a landing page, scrape email lists, create an initial strategy, run a drip campaign, maybe start a blog, and see how people react. Try to understand what they’re looking for. I’ve created a short iterative process that almost anyone can use to get an initial idea off the ground, tested, and determine whether or not they’re onto something. Surprisingly, there are still so many people who get started without doing any sort of experimentation. In business, having the right information or data points is the key to beating your competition. Do anything you can to uncover that data.
What Is It
- Whether it’s an idea for a new product or service, or a new target audience you’re interesting in marketing to, an experiment can provide you with the right information.
- We all have ideas, but testing them in the real world makes all the difference.
Why Does It Matter
- In today’s rapidly changing digital landscape, the companies that have constantly gotten ahead are those that have allocated internal resources towards constant experimentation of new ideas.
- One experiment has the potential lo fundamentally change an entire business.
- In today’s technological era, the ability to rapidly iterate with experiments at an efficient pace can provide you with the necessary data that can lead to future innovation.
- Every business needs to invest in experimentation in order to gather data from these hypothesis that can lead to future product developments or potential business breakthrough.
- Low-cost and more efficient method of testing new customer acquisition channels, identifying market opportunities,
- Experimentation can mean trying out a business strategy on a small scale.
- Experimentation allows the company to save money. Instead of plunging into a new market with a large expenditure of resources, the company can limit its financial exposure in the event the strategy does not work.
- Experimentation allows a company to pursue more than one opportunity to discover which one has the most potential.
How Does It Work
- User Problems: Clearly define your value proposition, customer problems, and market opportunity
- Market Analysis & Segmentation: Identify target demographic, create user personas, conduct competitive analysis, analyze personas in the real world, identify and create strategies for hypothesis, define goals & objectives for experiments you’ll run, value proposition charts
- Develop Branding & Design Guidelines: Create marketing materials, creative copy — Website & Ads, photography (Unsplash or Pexels), logo design (keep it simple), product mockups (Sketch + InVision)
- Landing Page Flow: Walkthrough user journey, create all necessary pages, form set up (Typeform), Stripe integration if necessary (Typeform PRO)
- Web Design & Development (Webflow): Fully responsive across all devices, exportable source code available if necessary, conduct QA testing across all devices
- A/B Optimization Testing — 60 to 90 day trials: Headers — up to 10 title edits, logos — up to 2 edits, CTA Buttons — up to 10 CTA edits, imagery — up to 5 tests on across all pages (analyze and iterate)
- Digital Marketing: Email drip campaigns (Yesware), identify prospects and create email lists using scrapers for personal data across professional networks (Hunter.io), create templates for cold outreach email drip campaign, analyze conversion data and continue optimization of emails, Google Analytics — set up funnels and event tracking for all CTAs, get a Webflow CMS hosting package and start your own blog to increase search engine visibility, create lead generation projects for inbound marketing
- Get it out there: Launch on Product Hunt, write a compelling story and pitch the press, download your contact lists from LinkedIn or Gmail and reach out, reach out to relevant bloggers in the space, look for early adopter communities
- Determine results for experiment — rinse and repeat.
It’s not about how much capital you have available. Constraints often times cause the most creativity. Use what you have available. There’s plenty of free resources or low cost alternatives that can help you get off the ground quick.
If you have any questions, need some help or just want to chat about your own ideas, feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org