Is anyone available to talk about validating ideas?

Discussion in 'General Business Forum' started by ChrisGoodfellow, Mar 8, 2017.

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  1. ChrisGoodfellow

    ChrisGoodfellow UKBF Regular Full Member - Verified Business

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    Hey,

    I'm writing an article about how startups validate ideas. This could include:
    • Interviewing prospective customers
    • Running pop-up shops
    • Using a beta group of customers
    I wanted to find out what methods you used to when you started out and what you think about them in hindsight: what worked for you? was there anything you would have done differently?

    Any thoughts?!

    Chris
     
    Posted: Mar 8, 2017 By: ChrisGoodfellow Member since: Jul 10, 2014
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  2. The Byre

    The Byre UKBF Ace Free Member

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    Are the customers banging the door down and begging you to sell them your goods and/or services?

    Yes = idea validated.

    No = idea sucks!
     
    Posted: Mar 8, 2017 By: The Byre Member since: Aug 13, 2013
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  3. ChrisGoodfellow

    ChrisGoodfellow UKBF Regular Full Member - Verified Business

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    @The Byre Love the simplicity! ...but what if you don't have a big, shiny door? ie. I get how this works if you're already in an industry, are going self-employed or building some kind of spin-off business, but what about if you're just starting out and don't have a network?
     
    Posted: Mar 8, 2017 By: ChrisGoodfellow Member since: Jul 10, 2014
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  4. The Byre

    The Byre UKBF Ace Free Member

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    Multiply price elasticity of demand by size of market. I'll give yo a fuller explanation of how to do this for the micro-business later when I have the time!
     
    Posted: Mar 8, 2017 By: The Byre Member since: Aug 13, 2013
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  5. The Byre

    The Byre UKBF Ace Free Member

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    At any one time, I am at various stages of this process. At the moment, we are about six months into running a music school. That was a clear case of 'banging the door down'! Folks were begging for music tuition for both adults and kiddie-winkies and people I knew were travelling to the customer, teaching music, but in the main, they were either not proper teachers with a teaching degree, or retired teachers who only wanted to do a few lessons with more advanced pupils.

    Supply was nowhere near to meeting the demand.

    I am hardly a music teacher, but as luck would have it, along came a music teacher, who had just left full-time employment as school teacher and with an existing list of clients that she had been teaching in a rented room in the nearby town, as well as driving out to their homes.

    "Do we have any spare space for teaching music?" she asked as where she was, was a bit of a hole-in-the-wall - and yes, we did. So we gave her the space, a concert grand piano and an office.

    You don't need any fancy market analysis to gauge if 'money-on-the-hoof' like that, is viable or not! Once things have settled down and existing building work is completed, we shall renegotiate our joint venture and expand the business organically.

    OK, that ain't the biggest business deal on Planet Earth, but I get the feeling that we may be doing the acorn/oak thing here! As Ed McMahon said on Star Search* (NBC) "You've got to be ready when the Man calls!"

    On the other hand, how does a newbie gauge 'price elasticity of demand' (a sexy economist's way of saying "So does anybody actually want this damn thing?") for some niche product that he or she intends to bang together in the front room or import from China in boxes of just 100 pieces?

    I could go off an one of my usual tangents of 'How Things Used to Be!' back in 49BC, when we had to perform basic market research, using a pointed stick, a rock and a bucket full of chicken entrails.

    Instead, I'll just say 'eBay'.

    Now supposing you have found a tiny niche for darts that use feathered flights. All darts sold today use plastic flights. Back in The Dark Ages, when we all lived in a hole in the road and had to go to work half-an-hour before we got home from the day before ("But we were grateful!") all flights were made of turkey feathers, glued to the same wooden stems that were used as lollipop sticks.

    When fresh and new, feathered flights on wooden stems are far superior to plastic for a whole variety of reasons, involving bounce-outs and the fact that nylon and aluminium stems bend with use. For that reason, some few players will pay up to £10 for a set of fresh feathered flights from the 50s and never less than £5 for a virgin set.

    But you can import plastic flights and stems so cheaply, that nobody really cares what they cost and are happy to replace them with almost every game. Also, you can use the surface of a plastic flight to advertise your products, put your own or your company's name on, or otherwise sing the praises of your fav. footer team.

    50p for a set of plastic flights v. £5 for a set of feathered flights. Seems like a no-brainer!

    Except that a perfectly balanced, matched and symmetrical feathered flights when fresh, are far more accurate and they stay fresh over several games. Plastic flights are never matched and nearly always vary by about one inch in drop tests, after they have been used a few times, as the plastic always bends slightly out of shape.

    The question is, is there a market for a £5 set of flights?

    The answer is, test market a few on eBay and find out! Maybe not as high as £5, but at £3 - who knows!

    After selling many sets for different prices (possibly under different names) and using different conditions, such as number in a set, our newbie will begin to zero-in on an optimum price at which he/she can make the most profit.

    After that, it is a question of scaling-up production and doing some proper marketing (website, YouTube channel, social media, etc.)
    ________________________________

    *The show that discovered Britney Spears, Tiffany and The Back-Street Boys, so a show that has a great deal to answer for!
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2017
    Posted: Mar 9, 2017 By: The Byre Member since: Aug 13, 2013
    #5
  6. ChrisGoodfellow

    ChrisGoodfellow UKBF Regular Full Member - Verified Business

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    @The Byre This is perfect (and very funny). Thanks for sharing the advice!

    I'm actually looking into launching a BusinessZone event and have started building a landing page to gauge interest using instapage. It's a relatively similar concept, although unfortunately you can't get the ultimate confirmation of someone digging in their pocket and actually spending something (we'll just be collecting expressions of interest, essentially).

    Also, a lot of people are using Kickstarter to judge demand for something that's not fully built yet.

    In each case, it seems like the key is to try for an accessible 'sale' right out of the bat before committing too much time, money etc.
     
    Posted: Mar 9, 2017 By: ChrisGoodfellow Member since: Jul 10, 2014
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  7. The Byre

    The Byre UKBF Ace Free Member

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    Instead of 'launching a business event' (even the sound of such goings-on makes one feel a little queasy and I have visions of all sorts of ghastly people exchanging visiting cards!) why don't you guys just launch a BBQ and beer party?

    Now that's something I might be tempted to attend! (Though for many, it would be as if Zeus had descended from Mount Olympus, disguised as a water-buffalo.)
     
    Posted: Mar 9, 2017 By: The Byre Member since: Aug 13, 2013
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  8. ChrisGoodfellow

    ChrisGoodfellow UKBF Regular Full Member - Verified Business

    143 43
    @The Byre Lol.

    Not to let the cat out of the bag, but @Kat Haylock has been working on a brief survey to gauge UKBF members' interest in events, what would be useful etc - BBQ and beer has my vote!

    Regarding business events more generally, I think the 80s style trade shows that are stack full of motivational speakers who've never run a business are on the way out. But, I went to a couple of meet ups last year that were great. One, Fast Growth Forum, had 50-something founders of businesses with around 50 employees and all the talks were nuts and bolts stuff about their successes and (mostly) failures.
     
    Posted: Mar 9, 2017 By: ChrisGoodfellow Member since: Jul 10, 2014
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