How to Quickly Test Business Ideas: The 5 Steps You Need to Take 92

How to Quickly Test Business Ideas: The 5 Steps You Need to Take

This is a guest post by Nick Sonnenberg, a serial entrepreneur with a passion for creating companies that disrupt the way people live. Nick is the co-founder of Leverage and the former CEO of CalvinApp.

Do you have some unique or flashy idea for a new business? It’s not strange that you do – a lot of people are attracted to the idea of becoming entrepreneurs.

If you are serious about starting your own business, the first thought that probably goes through your head is:

“Is my business idea feasible and profitable?”

This guide is created with only one goal in mind: to provide you with enough information that will help you decide whether market “wants” your idea, product or service and whether you can actually pull it off.

1. Test Your Idea: Search for Honest Feedback

You will often come across people who have excellent ideas that sound great at first. When it comes to execution, though, they quickly realize they can’t pull it off.

You probably have a lot of ideas too. Take a pen and a piece of paper and write them all down.

Then just let it rest for a few days while taking a quick look at the ideas every day. In the meantime, your subconscious mind will evaluate the possibilities. And you will make projections as to how you can start a specific business.

After a few days, take your pen and paper and start scratching off all of the ideas that now don’t seem profitable or feasible. You should only be left with one or two ideas.

Now, it is the time for you to seek feedback from potential customers.

If, for example, you are looking to tap into the hospitality industry and open a restaurant, you should test it out by inviting a group of people over and serving them food. In the end, make sure you ask for their honest feedback.

Do not tell them about your idea of opening a business. Try to get some good feedback that can help you out.

2. Evaluate If Your Idea is Profitable

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It makes no sense for you to start a business if you do not know its potential for profitability.

It’s logical to think that any business can turn a health profit. In every industry you have a number of people making tons of money every day.

What you should do is research. Find out how much money you should invest in your business idea, the fastest way to achieve profitability, your anticipated expenses and budget.

If everything still seems reasonable, you are free to go forward and make it happen.

Some business ideas may require little to no investment at all. Some popular digital marketers have created 6-figure businesses with starting investments of only $100. However, that doesn’t mean they didn’t make any projections in the beginning.

If you are looking to tap into digital entrepreneurship, you should be doing a lot of calculations on when and whether your business is supposed to be making any profit and what will be the exact steps to get there.

3. Create a minimum viable product (MVP)

You might think this advice will not work for those who are not selling a product, but you are terribly wrong. A service of any sort can be considered a product, and it can be tested from the initial phase.

A minimum viable product is that simplest form of your idea that you can still sell as a product.

If you are selling an SEO service, then performing a quick audit for local businesses will tell you whether you have a potential of making a lot of money in the industry and how you can improve. You can outsource this part to other experts on a contract basis.

Or if you decide to run a coffee brewery, you can try and create a sample using one of the many homemaking coffee brewing methods that require no investment. Try and search for customers who would love a free sample. If they like it, continue selling the product. If they don’t, listen to their feedback and improve until you figure out how to make it right.

4. Ask for Advice Those Who’ve Been Where You Are

The most quality advice you can get is from people who were in the business you want to enter. You can simply ask people direct and specific questions, and you will most certainly get the quality answers you are looking for.

In case you do not know a successful entrepreneur or someone who can give accurate information about a specific industry, you can always leverage LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is a goldmine for successful entrepreneurs and business owners who are happy to help when they can. Just make sure you are not presenting yourself as a direct competitor. Then you will be able to meet some new people and get the quality advice you were looking for.

5. Analyze Competition

It is tough to start a coffee shop if there are dozens of competitors on your block. A great way to test a business idea and its viability is to analyze competitors and determine if there is enough room for you.

Analyzing competitors is fantastic for one more reason. You get to collect information about your competitor’s secrets to success. If you are a good enough researcher, you may even come to some secret ingredients that will help you along the way.

The process of starting a business is stressful and it involves a lot of hard work. But at the end of each day, you should feel happy you are building your own business.

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One Guy’s Journey from a Work-at-Home Transcriptionist to Starting an Educational Institute 5

One Guy's Journey from a Work-at-Home Transcriptionist to Starting an Educational Institute

This is an interview-style post with Mahesh Kumar.

Hey Mahesh. What do you do?

I’m the Spokesperson of the Transcription Certification Institute, an Ellensburg-WA based educational institution that provides an in-depth online transcription training and certification course.

The online course, which is created by industry leaders, enables transcriptionists to gain a well-rounded understanding of the field and become a professional transcriptionist for better job prospects and higher wages.

How did you start your career?

I’ve started my career as a home-based transcriptionist and have experience of 8+ years in transcription industry. I’m currently on a mission to help work from home moms and make them aware of one of the straightforward and lucrative way of earning money from home, i.e., transcription.

I love writing and so I regularly share my words through my blog. At present, I am working as the spokesperson of Transcription Certification Institute.

What inspired your journey?

I was not cut out for regular jobs because of health and family issues. But, I wanted to earn decent money.

Most work from jobs required me to be online during fixed hours. That did not work for me.

A friend referred me to a copywriter who needed transcription services in an extended time frame. This was my first assignment and exposure to the industry. I had issues with grammar and lots of difficulty in understanding accents. My transcriptionist friend gave me the very first lesson in punctuation. It was a great lesson.

That was the aha moment!

I wanted to share it online with all other new transcriptionists. My expertise in transcription was still limited but my interaction with other transcriptionists. And other work from home professionals found that there was no organized information in this industry.

That’s when with the help of the team we created an ebook as would serve as a handbook to transcriptionists. It was called Everything You Need To Know About Work From Home: General Transcription Business Opportunities.’ It’s available on our website for free.

What is the transcription business about?

It’s a dream that allows parents, caregivers and those with disabilities to stay at home and earn.

We call ourselves Team TCI. None of us has complete skills but together we have made a dream into a business that is sustainable, profitable and manages to help others earn more.

We like to think of ourselves as not just one single successful business owner but a team of accomplished transcriptionists and hedonists who have come together to share their expertise on a platform that is globally accessible to all.

Our objective is to make you a better transcriber so that you can earn more at the same time. 

Through our internship program, we ensure that new wannabe transcribers get a foothold in the industry. Our job board aims to bring transcribers and employers together on one platform to make hiring and finding jobs easier.

We are 9+ years old but the journey has only just begun.

What were your biggest challenges when setting up the institute?

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Together, we had 2,459 dollars to spare!  This was just enough to put up a website and host it for a year.

We had no budget, no marketing plan and no strategy.

More than money we invested our skills, time and above all intent. When we launched, making money was not the objective. The objective was to share information, educate and in the process recover the costs.

We were totally bootstrapped. In fact, we all transcribed extra hours to generate money.

Each year we invested the money earned in the course, it’s upgrade, website upgrade and more. All exams are manually graded and that is expensive.

What do you offer on the website and who can benefit from it?

We offer a course in general transcription.

Our course is for anyone who wants to work from the comfort of their home, enjoy flexible timings and the ability to choose workload. The course is very popular with parents of young children who want to be around when they grow up, ex-serviceman with disabilities, single moms and others who want to work from home.

Some would say that there is nothing to be learned in general transcription but that would not be true. I did start out without training and if it not had been for the help I received my career would not have been successful.

In fact, as the popularity of transcription as a career option grows getting a foothold in the industry is becoming tough. That is why we came up with an internship program that gives hand on experience to new transcriptionists and exposure to the industry.

The job board benefits them by bringing employers and transcriptionists on the same platform.

What’s one thing you do to unwind?

We were introduced to meditation a few years back and to unwind we like to meditate.

What’s your favorite book?

It keeps on changing but time and again for inspiration, I find myself reaching out to The Alchemist by Paul Coelho. Never stop dreaming! Give context to your dreams!

Check out the story of how one guy went from a work at home transcriptionist to setting up a transcription institute and help others start working from home.