So you have an idea. So what? An idea means nothing.
If you’re trying to sell something, you have to have someone who wants to buy what you’re selling.
The greatest idea in the world is only great if someone wants to see it become reality.
There are a lot of businesses out there that have failed because they created a product that many considered nice to have, only to realize that nobody really wanted the product in the first place.
Research is critical. Make sure you do enough research to account for the weeks, months, and years of hard work you have ahead.
Here are three ways to validate your idea:
1. Get Enough People Asking for It
“When is this available for sale?”
I love this question. It’s asked by someone who is primed and ready to buy.
This was something I failed at with my clothing line. I didn’t spend enough time showing designs and getting people excited.
I thought that I could just make things I liked and people would want to buy them. That works sometimes, but it’s rare.
Purchasing a nice-to-have product usually requires more thought and feeling than something that solves a problem.
Impulse purchases happen, sure, but the more time you give someone to love the idea, the better chance you have of them becoming a customer.
Concepts, works-in-progress, and even mockups can be ways to get people excited. Use caution with mockups, though, because people will expect exactly what they see.
Create a landing page and tell people all about it. Start building your mailing list if you haven’t already.
Search through social media, online forums, and public exchanges. Is there something that people keep asking for that you can provide?
Ask your audience questions. Ask lots of questions. I’ve received a lot of emails about the book I’m writing called Nice To Have, and it’s very clear to me that many of my audience members really want this book.
2. Find an Existing Market
Entering a market or niche that doesn’t have any competition might seem like a good idea, but usually it’s an indicator of a market that doesn’t exist. People don’t buy what they don’t think they want.
Find a market that already exists and create something better than what is currently offered.
The bonus of this method is that someone else has already done the upfront research! Obviously you’ll need to do your own study, but this can be a great start.
My friend Joe Allen recently released a fantastic app called Soundboard Studio. A soundboard app isn’t anything new, but he knew he could make it better, so he did.
Don’t be scared by competitors: competition is a good thing! It means that there are people out there who are willing to pay for something like this.
3. Directly Ask Someone to Buy Right Now
There’s nothing that validates an idea more than someone handing you their hard-earned cash.
This isn’t about investing, by the way. That’s a completely different subject. This is one of your target customers giving you money for something you haven’t made yet.
Someone telling you that they’d love to buy your product doesn’t mean they will actually buy it.
Let me say it again: just because someone told you that they would buy whatever it is that you’re making doesn’t mean they will definitely buy it.
I’ve had a lot of people tell me they wanted to buy what I had to sell, but then when it came time for the launch, they were nowhere to be found.
Words are cheap. Anyone will tell you they’ll buy what you’re selling, but you can’t call them a customer until the money is in the bank.
I’m serious: the next time you’re talking about the product you’re developing and they say they’d love to buy it when it’s released, ask them to buy it right now.
Some people do this in the form of a pre-order, where they have the full landing and sales page online and then ask for the sale at the end. Just be prepared that if only one person buys, you still need to create your product and honor that customer.
10% of Interested People Will Buy
Always estimate that less than 10% of people who say they will buy will actually end up buying something. If 100 people say they’re going to buy, expect 10 of those people to follow through.
That means if you want 100 sales, you need to get 1,000 people to say they’ll buy.
Yes, that means you need to hustle and work hard. You need to get people interested. Tell a story, show them how this product enhances their story, and get them excited.
One more thing: don’t move forward on your idea until it’s validated. Don’t waste your time hoping for sales — work on getting people excited to give you their money.
Brand, Market, and Sell Your “Nice To Have”
If you’re finding yourself still lost in the world of branding, marketing, and selling your nice to have product or service, I’m writing a book that will help you.
The book is called Nice To Have, and I’m in the writing process right now, with a launch date to be announced. Nice To Have is designed and written to help you navigate your industry, find the value in the product or service you provide, and fashion a story that resonates with your future customers.