After you’ve come up with your idea, decided that there is potentially a market for it and have gone through the process of developing your one-page business plan; by mapping out your business model canvas, figuring out your value proposition, who your potential clients are and how you think you might be selling this product or service in market, the next thing to do at this early stage is to start talking to some potential clients. This is a lot easier if you are already working in the industry and have a deep understanding of what your customer pain points are, and therefore what you’re trying to solve.
If you’re working in a new industry and we see this a lot with tech startups, there are people from a legal or business background who are going into developing a tech idea that is quite foreign to the category that they are in. If you are going to be doing something like that, it is not at all impossible, but I would just encourage you to do a really deep dive into that new industry or category that you are looking at.
What is the best way to do that? There are two things that I suggest, one is to always start with desk research and the second is to start talking to potential customers. Firstly, desk research is essentially just using Google to see what kind of free information you can find out, finding data points that can either help back up the idea that you are developing or find gaps in it as well and also look into what your competitors might already be doing in the space. Spend some time doing research as there is so much information available, there is no reason as to why you cannot find enough information to get you thinking about this.
Now, the second thing is critical and this is where I really encourage people to start going out and talking to potential customers in markets. Once you have actually gone through the process of thinking about who your potential target audience is and what they look like. You will need to have some conversations with them and figure out whether this is actually a pain point that is either something that they desperately need fixed and are willing to pay for or that it is not. The process of finding out these insights and whether there is a market or not is very important because it will take years for you to get your business up and running and you don’t want to have wasted your hard work.
You want to start out knowing that you are actually working towards something that is going to deliver some value to people. I always encourage people to get out there and tread the pavement, go out and meet people, find people through your friends or LinkedIn who might sit within your potential target audience and start having a conversation with them. You might not have anything to offer them just yet as this is just research but people are generally pretty happy to help if buy them a coffee and have a conversation with you. So, all the best!