Validate an Online Business Idea

How to Validate an Online Business Idea

Everyone is asking this question nowadays. Starting an online business is very popular nowadays. But it takes a lot of time to come up with an interesting business idea. People started to get bored with this 9 to 5 job culture and started to search for something new that excites them. This is where online businesses play their role.

Anyone can start their own business and work according to their time. The best thing about online businesses is there is no specific time to work. One can work anytime as they wish. If you are ready to spend some hours online there are many online business options. 

Before jumping into any conclusion, you need to analyze the business you are going to start. Choose something that matches your skill and strength. It’s up to you to decide the type of business you need to start. It could be a part-time business or a full-time entrepreneur. The Internet is full of businesses and it is a very competitive field now. To survive in this world you need to have good planning and execution.

First, have some ideas about what you are good at and start exploring more. With good ideas and planning, you can start a business and validate that before starting.

Steps to follow to Come up with Online Business Idea & Validate:

Step 1-: Generate your business idea

You can start writing your business ideas on paper. Write everything that interests you and comes to your mind. There are websites you can look for interesting and innovative online business ideas. Don’t think about the size of the business at this stage. You can write any business ideas like online sales, e-commerce websites, or even big ideas. 

  • Make your brain work

You can write 10 ideas every day.  It could be anything that you would like to see yourself in the future. Start writing down your business by making your brain work. No need to think about the practical difficulties at this point in time. As per business experts, you need to make your brain muscle work to come up with as many business ideas as possible

  • Find some problems

You can write down the problems online businesses now facing. Is there something that you can do to avoid this? Can it make it easier to buy online? Think about problems that everyone is most likely facing. Talk to everyone around you to get better ideas of their expectation from online businesses. For example, an eCommerce platform sells most of the products. But how many of them can offer free shipping on the products they are selling.  This is a problem everyone will find while busying products from that website. If you have a solution to this that could be your business idea. If you can find a person who is experiencing a problem, make sure that there will thousands of others who face the same issue.  

  • Write down your interests 

It is better to start a business based on your interest. What are your hobbies/interests? Sometimes the one you might be thinking of has already taken by someone. But in business, there is nothing new. You can present your business with a unique USP. There will be many competitors for you but all you can do is to conquer a part of the market with a percentage of customers. Try something that interests you in the products/services you buy and think whether that can be your next idea.

Step 2-: Finding a profitable business 

The next important step is to find the profitability of your business idea. You can divide your business idea into 3 parts. Profitability, interests, and possibility.  You can cut down your big list to a small list based on profitability here

  • Profitability 

Order your ideas on the basis of profitability. It can be arranged form most profitable to least profitable. This task is very easy if you can generally think about the ROI you can get from each of your ideas.  It is easy to define profitability based on 

  1. The market you are trying to sell products
  2. How much can I make by selling products?

Every idea will not give your profit. You don’t have to know the big accounting part to know the profitability.

  • Possibility

The next section is the possibility to start this business. You can check on your ideas and arrange them based on the possibility of happening. If you are planning to sell phone cases it could be placed on top but if you plan to build a car and sell it could be placed down. Review the possibility of each idea and arrange them which will help you to narrow down your list. You cannot think about something that needs a large amount of money, staff, and other resources. This is the best way to define the possibility of your ideas

  • Interest

Now you can list it down based on your interest. List ideas with more interest on the top. You cannot concentrate on something that you are least interested in. it won’t be successful also. When you start a business there should be something that interests you to the business. 

  • Compare your ideas

From all these 3 columns you can pick the idea that comes to every category. That could be your next business idea. This is an easy way to filter out your business interest from so many ideas that likely to become up when you think about a business. If you haven’t come up with an idea that covers all 3 categories, then you might have to repeat the process again

Step 3-: What is your unique value proposition

Some people call it a unique selling proposition also. This is the main point to think about when you want to start a business. There should be a specialty that you want to offer compared to other businesses in your genre. This can be the main point you can use while marketing your product to customers. It is something that can make you unique from your competitors. If you are running an eCommerce website and offers free shipping this could be your USP. Just to be unique you don’t have to think about something. If you can actually bring some change in the existing system that could be an added value to your customer. 

Step 4-: Build your business model

Here is a business model developed by Alexander Osterwalder. It will help you to break down all 9 elements that are essential to your business

Build business model Template

This tool is incredibly simple and will help you to validate your business ideas. There are areas that you might not even consider as important while thinking about your business. This model will help you to give an idea of all points you need to think about while starting an online business. Do some research and find the solution for each section

  • Customer segments

Know you, customers, before starting every business. You need to have a clear idea about the customers you are going to target while marketing your product. It can be your primary customers as well as secondary customers. These demographics will help you to develop better campaigns while marketing your products. If you can define a model customer then reach out to them and know what they are expecting to form your business. 

  • Unique value proposition

We already discussed the UVP of business. If you can define the values your business can provide to customers and make them attracted to the products you can be successful. Know what your ideal customers are expecting from your business and try to provide them that features 

  • Marketing channels

There are various marketing channels you can use to reach your customers. Know the marketing channels where your customers are more active. Reach out to your customers through those channels to market your products and see a successful return on your investment. Also, you can decide how to sell these products online either through your own websites or any other popular retailers.

  • Customer relationship

Find out ways to reach your customers. There are various marketing channels and social media platforms you can use to connect with your customers. Also, think about the ways you are going to support your customers while selling your business. If you can develop a better relationship by providing good service, it can help to make a good impact on customers.

  • Revenue streams

This is where you need to think about the ways to make money out of your business. Are you selling your products through your website or using a popular retailer to sell it? If you cannot make any profit from our business, you need to keep it up and running by earning via some other way such as running ads on your website and other kinds of promotions. 

  • Key activities

If you are planning to run an eCommerce site, you need to think about the process need to be completed to send it to your customers. Are you depending a third part to ship your products or using your own shipping service to make it reach customers? Take your time to look at your USP and market it to your customers through the proper channel. Any activities that need to make your business run can be listed under this section 

  • Key resources

You need to accumulate resources to make all the key activities happen. Including finance, there are so many resources need for a business. Find out the tools and services that can help you to carry out all key activities 

  • Key partnerships

You can also do a partnership with others to make your activities happen. If you are sending physical products, consider partnering up with shipping companies to make the delivery happen. If your business provides some services, you can put referral forms or rent out spaces to earn some money

  • Cost structure

Next is to define the cost structure. You need to spend money on each resource you need for business. Define the budget you are expecting for each resource. Even though you don’t have a degree in accounting you need to have a clear idea of costs involved with every business process.

Step 5-: Validate your business idea

This is the last step. Without validating your business idea, it is hard to succeed. You don’t know what is going to happen if you start to run a business without a trial run. You can trial run your business to stop losing money unnecessarily. Here are some ways to validate your business idea

  • Make your sale

Start your first sale. Create a landing page by spending the least money and promote it using various online resources. You can do a trial run of your landing page and see how many people get interested in your products. Use Google Adwords or Facebook Pixel to promote your page. Track the number of people who clicks on the Buy now button and see the conversion rate. If the conversion rate is more than 5% you can consider your business as a successful one. This means your business is a profitable one and is good to keep up and running

  • Talk to people

You can start talking about your business to people. This will help you to know their opinion about your business. If you get good feedback from people you meet, then it’s a good sign. This also helps to do your marketing research and see what they are expecting from a business like yours. This data can be used to improve your product/service as your audience like. Also, get their email and contact list which can be used for your promotion. You can validate your business from their opinions and make sure to start a successful one

  • Do market research 

You can do the traditional way of market research to validate your business. It has become easy nowadays with all these online resources. Google keyword planner, Amazon, and eBay to know the search of the keyword. If you see more than 1000 search of the keyword per month on Google keyword planner then it’s a good sign.  Find out top sellers on big eCommerce sites. If your product can complete with them well that is a good sign for your business. Read reviews about similar products and complaints about the product and try to compensate while you sell your product. Here are some online sites that will help you to validate your business idea

Reddit-: Reddit has a lot of online forums that discuss various topics. Many experts are part of these forums. You can ask and validate any questions on these forums. You can find subreddits that deal with business or entrepreneurship. Make sure to create your own story and impress people to get more upvotes

Growth hacker-: This is an ethical forum that helps marketers to attract more customers to their business. There are many expert people who can help you to build strategies that can help your business grow 

Growth hub-: This is a place where expert marketing professional meets and discuss marketing topics. It was known as inbound earlier. You will get an expert opinion to develop your customer base. This is a good option to get positive feedback to grow your business and succeed

PickFu-: This is another online platform that can help you to get some genuine feedback about your business. You can post a question and get feedback from people and entrepreneurs to use this tool to validate their business ideas in the early state itself.

Startup.com-: This is a platform that helps businesses to find customers, press, and other required resources. Clarity is the marketplace for clarity.com which helps entrepreneurs meet with experts to validate their business.

Make use of these online forums to validate your business idea and genuine feedback. Friends and family are snot reliable always. You need to talk about your business to a third person to get genuine feedback.

Conclusion

There are so many online business options for you to choose from. Keep in mind that there will be competition always on the market. If you want to be successful work hard and provide something unique that can attract customers. You can market your products with a strong USP. Businesses are struggling with new ways to reach their customers. Use all online resources to market your product.

Finding a new business idea is not a simple process. You need to spend some time researching and figuring out how successful it could be.

Once you are clear about your idea everything else will start to work well. Follow the 5 steps and make sure that the business has the potential to grow and make a profit. No need to work in a stressful environment. Start your own business and be your own master. 

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