Until a certain point in the life-cycle of an idea your focus is to test and measure. In the broadest sense of things you’re testing if your idea has value, this is most commonly measured by users. However, in order to get users you must first define, design, and build your product. This is the course many ideas take, however all of these steps are not required to get at least some sense of measure on the value of your idea.
Building a product often takes a large amount of time and capital. The minimum viable product can take from 1 to 6 months to build, and if you’re not technical you need to convince someone to partner or spend the capital for this. There are alternatives to this such as wireframes and user focus groups… this is often a great one that helps you flush out how your product would actually function. The steps here are to take a basic notebook, wireframe your product, and get feedback.
There’s been a lot documented on wireframes, so we’ll just give you some places to start below:
However, for testing your product there’s many various philosophies and approaches. A favorite of ours is in personal casual user feedback, but in particular from strangers. A fun and easy way to do this is spend an afternoon at starbucks. As people are walking up to buy their cup of coffee, offer to pay in exchange for 5 minutes of their time. For around $30 you can get an hour worth of feedback from a random sampling of people.
This will give you some good feedback from individuals if they see the value in your product. You also get the opportunity to get specific feedback on the flow/structure of your application. The next big step and one people often struggle with is defining how many people actually like their idea and how big their market is. You can look at this a lot of ways, but most of those take a lot of time and effort. The quickest and simplest is to spend around $200 and actually test to see how many people would come to your application if prompted. This also tells you how much you might have to spend to acquire users. And, while there’s many user acquisition channels and many other cheaper ones this method will at least give you some metric to start with.
The two key places that many have found success are running test ad campaigns in Google Adwords and Facebook Ads. There’s a few key steps to this process, the first is determining the potential size of your market. By visiting: https://adwords.google.com/o/Targeting/Explorer?__u=1000000000&__c=1000000000&ideaRequestType=KEYWORD_IDEAS#search.none
You can enter various keywords that would describe your market. This will tell you how many users search for something like your product. This leads into your next area of how you want to begin testing if you’re able to market to them.
For both facebook and google you can set around a $15-$20 budget per day, link to a coming soon splash page, and measure how large your market might be. For this you’ll want to ensure google analytics is setup on your site, and experiment with targeting to know how to minimize your total cost.
With all of the above tools to test out a market you should have an idea before you even begin building on whether users have interest in your product or not.
By Tracy Lee
It started with an idea- and a mission we kept true to. Bring people together over food. It’s amazing how reminding yourself of why you are doing what you’re doing helps you stay on course and helps your success in the hardest of times.
I wanted to start something. I brought a team together. And we began developing on an idea. I led them someplace- someplace that led to another place that led to another place that eventually led to Dishcrawl. The path to success is definitely not a straight one. :) From wanting to be yelp but for dishes, to wanting to be an adventure game for foodies, to being a matchmaker for your mouth, the war stories and lessons learned there are invaluable now to our success. We hit the “oh duh” point early this year. Dishcrawls (our events) were taking off. Why not pivot and focus on what was working best in our business? And voila. Dishcrawl.
Dishcrawl is a community event that focuses on getting neighbors out. We’re the new progressive dinner, the new block party, and the new way to get to know your neighborhood. We take folks on food adventures through 4 restaurants in 1 night, stopping by to meet the chefs and owners, and giving folks an opportunity to sample their foods. It’s a lovely time, and it’s a lovely mission we’re on.
No matter what you start, make sure to keep true to your mission as we have ours, and it will be the flashlight that ultimately guides you to success. Cheers to taking over the world. ;)