Do you know whether your starting a business worth pursuing?

This is the closest thing to a startup crystal ball to the question “Am I starting a business worth pursuing?”.

One of the most common questions in startup communities is “how do I know whether I’m building a business that will be successful”.

This article is all about the tangible tactics I’ve learnt to solve that exact questions. We’ll go over exactly what things to do, how to measure success and what tools you can use to make it happen. I feel it’s so important that I created an entire course on it here.

Lastly, I’ll explain the most important lesson I’ve learnt I call the innovators path — if you learn one thing from this article let it be this.

Contents

  1. Firstly, this is how you can get in front of your customers
  2. Now, where to find your target market
  3. Doing it right, here’s the path to success

At the core of the of the question “what should I start a business in?” is the important step of speaking to the market at key points in your journey to find out exactly what their needs/problems are.

The fact for a lot of business owners is that you might not actually be your ideal target market and therefore won’t be able to provide accurate feedback about your product — not to mention you’re terribly biased and emotionally immersed in the business as well as personally invested in its success.

This means we need to get unbiased feedback from people who are as close to your ideas target market as possible, but first you’ll need to find them.

Where to find your target market

Let’s have a think about your target market for a minute, here are some questions to get the creative juices flowing.

  • Where do they shop
  • What websites do they visit
  • What activities do they do
  • What events do they attend
  • What else are they interested in

And here’s some ideas on where else you could find your target market:

1. Beat the pavement (physically/digitally)

Asking and answering questions on Quora can be a great way to find people who are trying to solve the exact problem your product solves.

More interesting Quora questions:

What can I do if I have an idea and want to do it as startup?
I am now looking for a perfect business idea, what are the options?
How do you tell whether a startup will succeed?

This example is from Reddit, shorter responses are okay on this platform and if you choose your responses wisely you’ll be getting in front of a target group of people with high intent.

Some other ideas:

  • Scouring review and forum sites
  • Going to events or meetups
  • Social media groups/profiles
  • Blogger pages

You could interact with the people who have posted questions or comments to get deeper insight or we could direct these people to respond to our survey in exchange for an incentive of perceived value.

2. Paid traffic

You can use other people’s networks (OPN) by paying for targeted traffic to be sent to your prototype.

  • Google AdWords
  • Social media paid ads targeted to your target market
  • Other platforms that have your target market

3. User Testing

  • Manual recruiting — using freelance or classified sites such as Upwork, or Freelancer
  • Usertesting.com— An easy way to get feedback for an App or Website via video recording. Targeting is limited but the insights you gain are plenty as you can hear what people are thinking as they interact with what you’ve created.
  • Usabilityhub — A great way to get quick feedback on your designs, web-pages, logos, or whatever else you’ve got in mind. Their targeting is getting better so you can get a bit closer to your actual target market.

You can use incentives to encourage people to assist you with your research, these incentives could also be things of perceived value relating to the product you’re creating, for example, Dropbox gave away free space for each person someone referred, the free space was of much higher perceived value to the end user than it was real cost for the company.

This is how you can get in front of your customers

Finding your target market is only half the battle, we need a way to get real insight out, and we can do that by creating surveys and collecting the results to get insight.

Here are the tools you can use:

  • Typeform— One of the easiest to use and easiest to integrate, these forms can be styled to your brand and can be easily embedded where you need them. This is my tool of choice for surveys.
  • Get Site Control — The easiest way to collect responses from actual site visitors, you’ll need to install a simple tracking script into the header part of your website but once its done you’re able to setup conditional logic to show your survey (or any other widget they have) to specific visitors based on their behavior, for example; only show the survey to people who come from a Facebook campaign via a Mobile device.
  • SurveyMonkey— One of the earlier players and definitely one of the biggest, they now have a great feature where they source respondents for you from their massive database of people. Looks like there are over 50 different targeting options to choose from (although the more targeted you get the less chance you’ll find enough people to do your test).
  • Pen-and-Paper — This one is an old favourite of mine that never lets me down, you can open it up anywhere, ask any number of questions and record the results all from the one place. 😉(comment if you fell for it).
  • Google Forms — Probably the simplest and most straight-forward of them all, Forms by Google gives you super basic styling (theme templates and colors only) and has the basic question types you’ll need. If you’re needing something fast and not fussed about looks (perhaps it’s just internal) then use this one.

Collecting Results

Feedback is only as valuable as the insight you can gain from it.

Asking the right questions in order to get the right answers is key, but you’ll need an easy way to track the results luckily, any worthwhile tool will generally have a results page with graphs and data similar to the below.

An example of how results are shown on Typeform (survey tool)

I’ve been collating a EPIC list of startup marketing tools here where you can find everything from chat widgets, UX research tools, visitor tracking to stock images, landing page creators and marketing automation tools which are regularly updated and is my gift to you.

What people say they do and what they actually may vary.

If you’ve got a live product out there you’re in a privileged position because you can now use real actions as indicators of whether or not you have a product people actually want.

We can look at real data by analyzing:

  • Click through rates (CTR) (What ads have the highest CTR and could be considered most effective at getting people to click on your ad)
  • Downloads (What is your most popular download content?)
  • Enquiries (How many have you received and which page did they come?)
  • Sales (How many sales did you get for a given time period?)
  • Conversion rates (What percentage of people are moving through each stage in your sales funnel?)

You can get this data by gathering your analytics data, leads, and sales numbers either manually or via your analytics platform to gain insight on whether people are genuinely interested.

Tip: What someone says they do and what they actually do can differ greatly as actions always speak louder than words. The ultimate test is people actually buying your product.

Once we have a proposed solution we can then go back to the target market to confirm whether the proposed solution actually solves their problem.

You could liken it to putting the customers’ needs first, but really it’s putting people’s needs first because we’re all first individuals before we ever become someone’s customer.

Here are the takeaways

  • Find your target market where they are
  • Create a survey to begin collecting insight
  • Ask the right questions
  • When you’ve got real data combine it with your insight

If you’re ready to learn the exact steps to building a startup around something people really want over 2000 people have already done this course, and many have claimed that it’s changed the trajectory of their startup journey.

Thanks for reading. Spread the word by clapping or recommending to help others avoid early startup failure, hold down the 👏 to say thanks.

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