Will your idea fly? How to test your ideas.
Listening to Erik Fisher's Beyond The To-Do List podcast came at a great time, because I am working on some new ideas for my business. His guest was, Pat Flynn, from The Smart Passive Income Podcast and author of the new book, Will It Fly? How to Test Your Next Business Idea So You Don't Waste Your Time and Money.
I'm a big fan of Pat Flynn. Like other podcasters, he shares great advice for internet marketers. However, he approaches things in a very conversational, non-expert style. I am confident in saying that Pat Flynn is an expert in online marketing, but he delivers in a non-pushy or self-inflated ego kind of way. He's a good guy.
The Beyond The To-Do List interview is about Pat's latest book, Will It Fly?, which is the question every entrepreneur should be asking before launching anything. Pat urges listeners and readers of his book to test their ideas before moving ahead.
The following are key takeaways from the interview. I encourage you to listen to the full interview for more nuggets of wisdom from Pat and Erik.
How to test your business ideas.
Too many choices will stop you from moving forward. The unknown can cause enough fear for you to give up on an idea before you even test the waters.
Get the answer to the question first.
Consider the opportunity costs. Mike Stelzner from Social Media Examiner says, "You can't start one thing without stopping another."
Don't rush into it. You need to decide on the idea and determine the steps you will need to make to move forward.
Understand where the points of failure are.
Make sense of your ideas by visualizing them by mind mapping. Check out MindMeister.
Pat loves using post-it notes to create the order of his ideas by clumping them, reorganizing, and more. Beth Kanter has an excellent post about facilitating meetings with sticky notes.
Figure out the problems you are solving with your idea first.
Every great business solves a problem.
An entrepreneur is a problem solver.
Market research is crucial.
Create your market map. Understand what's out there first by using the Three P's.
P: Places. Determine all of the places where your customer is online and offline.
P: People. Find out who the influencers are in the space who have gained the authority. Use Twitter's advanced search to find them. Use podcasting networks to find them. Refer to the owners of popular LinkedIn Groups.
P: Products. Figure out what the products are that already exist. You can find a position in the space if you see what is already out there.
Use Amazon to find the books on the topic and read the three-star reviews. Pat explains that these reviews tend to be the most honest. Reviewers provide the authors with suggestions on how the book could be improved or with new ideas not covered. These are items you can address in your product.
Refine your idea after you have done your research.
Get a few people to pay for your idea. Tim Ferris talked about validation in his best-selling book, The Four-Hour Work Week.
Don't pretend to have a product with a buy now button. Instead, be honest and tell your friends, fans, and followers that you will create the product if you get enough buy-in from them. Ask them to pay up front to show they are truly interested in your idea. Make it a discount price. Include access to your early customers to help you shape what the product becomes.
Set S.M.A.R.T goals.
If you do not meet your goals. You know the product may not be a right fit.
Do your homework and validate your ideas.
When you have an idea of any kind. Talk about it with people close to you. You might be afraid people will steal the idea, but they won't.
The pros of sharing your idea with people far outweigh the cons. The benefits include seeing and hearing the feedback. You get to have them poke holes in the ideas. They will also help you make it better by providing you with new ideas.
Share your idea with strangers too. Don't just take one person's opinion. Use this feedback to help you determine whether you should proceed.
Consider joining or creating a mastermind group to share these ideas.
Onboarding means offboarding other things.
You will need to make sacrifices in order to launch your new product. You will have to say no to other things that steal your focus.
Make the product your one thing. Make it a healthy obsession.
Everything you read and learn should contribute to that one idea.
Don't let other things slow down your new idea.
Work-life balance is a myth. Don't let your balance teeter too much to one side or the other. Be sure your communication is strong with your loved ones.
Share what you are working on with your family, so they are aware. They will understand you will be busy if they know what you are doing. Be sure to refocus your time on them too.
I recommend you hop over to Amazon right now and pick up a copy of Pat Flynn's book, Will It Fly? How to Test Your Next Business Idea So You Don't Waste Your Time and Money.
You can listen to the full interview below and grab the show notes at Beyond The To-Do List.