7/29/2014

Do You Have A Business Idea? Attend Lean Startup Machine.

If you're a first time entrepreneur, chances are you have a burning business idea and you don't know where to start. Should you do market research? Should you start writing up a business plan? Should you start investing money in your potential company right away?

The answer to all of the above is no. You should spend the time to validate your idea first. This is certainly the case with startup ideas. A startup is defined as a company with an uncertain business model. Because the business model is uncertain, you should put all your efforts into figuring out if your product or solution is something that people will actually use or buy.

How do you validate your business idea? There are plenty of creative ways. The simplest idea is talking to your customer demographic. Find ten people that fit your "ideal customer" and talk to them about what their problems are. This is called customer development. Never pitch your solution right away because it will bias the interview.

Another way of validating your idea is simply creating a landing page about your product and driving traffic to it. You can use QuickMVP to setup a page in ten minutes and connect it with Google Ads to drive traffic to it. If you observe that 100 people have visited your site, and only 1 or 2 people have signed up, this is not a good sign. If 10% or more sign up, then you have traction, and you should keep testing to validate your idea.

The best way to validate your idea is to attend a Lean Startup Machine workshop. I personally attended an event last year, and it completely changed the way I thought about business. Most people think they have a great idea or solution, but they do not know what problem their solution solves. Even worse, they do not know who their customer demographic is. This framework is backwards.

You should always start with the customer. Pick a customer demographic and find 10 people that fit that profile. Interview all of them and figure out what their pain points are. If you see a pattern that 70-80% all have the same recurring problem, build a solution to solve their problem. As fundamental as this sounds, this is they key to building a successful business model.

These are the principles we teach based on "The Lean Startup" book by Eric Ries. If you have a business idea, find a Lean Startup Machine in your city and sign up.

For all of you NJ/NY folks, I am hosting Lean Startup Machine New Jersey, taking place at JuiceTank Sept 19-21. Tickets are on sale, you can get them HERE.

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