How To Test You Business Ideas And Make Success Inevitable

Enrique Iturriaga
September 1, 2020

Many people start their businesses with an idea in mind. That wasn't my case.

Having great ideas without actively and consistently looking for ideas is like expecting to win the lottery without even buying a ticket. More than 80% of small businesses and startups fail. The cause of most business failures are a mix of stubbornness and lack of knowledge.

Being passionate about the industry and your ideas, is important, but it isn't everything. What matters the most when starting a business, is having a product (or service) that your customers want and are willing to pay for it. But you already know that...

The actual question is then: How do we make sure that people will buy the product we offer?

You're probably thinking that what I am saying is obvious. But a surprising number of small businesses fail because they ignore this fundamental question.

Many startup founders create a product or a service offer, and then they wait for people to come to them and HOPE that they will buy and show interest in their product.

Many of their offers are actually great. Many of their offers solve problems that their audience has. Still, many of these businesses close within a year of their creation.

How can we solve this?

You might be getting anxious when reading this. Maybe I made it all sound like you need to have luck to be able to succeed. And that might be true in some sense.

But, there is a process that you can follow to reduce the "luck" factor and increase your possibilities of success.

This process has nothing to do with marketing or even the idea itself.

The process consists on actually TESTING if the market really wants and is willing to pay you for your product before you invest a lot of money and time on it.

Testing and validating is your only insurance

Let's draw two possible scenarios:

  1. Case 1: John works as a customer center representative. Every day when he gets home, he cooks dinner for his family. Cooking is what he loves to do. He reads books about it, watches TV shows about it, and thinks about it all the time. Bored with his call center job, he decides that he wants to change paths and start a catering business. He gets a loan and rents an industrial kitchen. He is committed to making this business work. After months of remodeling the kitchen and tweaking and testing with the menu, John launches his catering business. You probably know what happens... crickets. He waits and waits and no one calls or even go to his website. This is what happens to 90% of new entrepreneurs.
  2. Case 2: On the other hand, there is a solution.Imagine if John would've kept his day job, and start cooking after work. Imagine if he would've started by cooking for his friends and neighbors. He would've not only tested if the idea was good, but he would've made money from week one of his business without the stress of not having a job. Only after knowing that his business idea is valid and profitable he would've quit his day job and dedicated himself full time to his new validated business.

There is a formula for this: OR Use this formula and you'll succeed.

UX designers follow a framework that makes it almost impossible (if followed correctly) to fail in the long run. The summarized explanation of this framework is: First you brainstorm and come up with ideas, then you create a minimum viable product (MVP) version of your idea, then you try to validate it, and finally you iterate based on the results of you validation.

Is this simple: Ideate, create a super basic version of the idea (just for validation purposes), try to validate your idea, iterate based on the results.

Let's put Johns example into this framework:

Instead of creating the final product and hoping for success, he should've gone with case 2. He should've created an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) of his idea and test it. If he would've started his catering business on the side, starting very small with just a couple friends and neighbors as customers, he would've actually knew that his idea wasn't going to work as it was.

After not being able to validate the idea, the next step would've been to iterate.

Iteration is the most powerful tool an entrepreneur (and a UX Designer) has. Every great product of service that you can think of is an iterated version of what it was at the beginning. Many times, it's a totally different product than it was at the beginning.

So now you have the recipe to make sure your idea will succeed in the future.

Remember... You'll not get it exactly right the first time. Instagram didn't, YouTube didn't, and you won't get it either. But as long as you stick to this process, you'll succeed on the long run.


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