So you have an idea for a new product or solution. Congratulations! That’s wonderful. Before you launch, you’re going to want to test your theories. This has been tremendously important to me while launching my company Everpurse, which sells fashionable handbags that charge your iPhone wire-free. Seeking out feedback early by sharing your ideas with others can help you avoid pitfalls and mistakes.
1. Try giving people your elevator pitch
If you can’t explain what it is you are making or doing in 30 seconds or less, you will have a tough time getting investors or customers. Synthesizing is all about getting to the heart of what’s really unique about your idea or solution. Before you share your idea with users or spend time and money building a prototype, take the time to hone in on the problem at hand and the solution you’re proposing. Then share the resulting pitch with people close to you to see if the idea resonates. They’ll likely have valuable feedback and suggestions you wouldn’t have come up with on your own.
2. Run your business plan by industry insiders
People who’ve already gone down the route you’re pursuing will have an important perspective on logistical issues you might not be able to anticipate. Ask someone in your industry to vet your business plan. They will be able to help you navigate the many details that go into long-term profitability.
3. Be your own first user
Once you have a working prototype, use the product yourself, constantly. When I was trying out Everpurse in the early days, if there was something I didn’t like about the design or functionality, we changed it. Using your own product gives you insights into the customer experience. It will also help you see what your product or service is like five months down the line or what it will take to make customers come back again and again.
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4. Get feedback from target users
The ultimate test of a good product is in the money customers are willing to spend on it. Testing the market on Kickstarter or by offering your product for pre-order is a good way to test your target user’s willingness to pay for what you are offering. If you are selling a product or service online, you can also use Trymyui. This is a tool that has been valuable to us over the years since it’s like a focus group for your website. Paid test users go on your site, follow your step-by-step directions for navigating the site and provide feedback on the user experience.
Early on at Everpurse, we realized the importance of choosing the right price point for your product. We had designed an early version to be mass market, but by speaking with industry insiders and customers, we realized that making changes to the design and marketing our product as a higher-end solution would make our company more successful.
As you are testing out your theories, don’t be surprised if you realize some aspect of your idea just isn’t working out. The faster you can come to this conclusion and make the necessary changes, the better.
Liz Salcedo is the founder and CEO of Everpurse.