Vetting Your Start Up Idea: Research Tools
Hands down, the best thing you can do as an entrepreneur, is prove why your idea wont work as quickly as possible.
Ideas are easy, start-ups are hard. Your start up will probably fail. That’s ok, failure is growth. You learn a lot more from failure than from success. The trick, I believe, is failing fast and mindfully. Now, there will be situations where you would fail if not for your blind, stupid, passionate or just ignorant perseverance. I’ve seen first hand companies escape failure by the sheer brute force of the founders, but it’s a crazy amount of work and you need to be driven deep deep down, and after all that you can still fail – a crushing, brutal kind of failure.
Failure is not the end. Failure is one step closer to success.
First Step – Disprove your Start Up Idea
With that in mind, attempting to disprove your new start up idea should be your very first duty. Find out all the reasons your idea is a bad one as quickly as possible. This gives you the freedom to adjust, pivot or abandon your idea before you’ve put hours of time and energy, and most importantly, before you have fallen in love.
Over the next few weeks I am going to put together a handful of resources and thoughts on vetting and testing your start up ideas.
Market Research Tools
Especially if you don’t already work in the market you are considering entering, you will need to put yourself through a crash course and come out the other side knowing:
Who the major players are
Who the new comers are
A basic understanding of the market culture
How has the market changed in the last ten years
How do analysts expect it to change in the next 5 years
Why has it not changed yet?
Why does this market exist. Why do people or companies pay for this?
Now, to help understand this, here are some useful websites:
SEMRush will provide with some great domain information. Find a few of the major players and plug in their url. SEMRush will give you some ideas on what keywords they are ranking for and traffic volume.
Allow with traffic volume (with mobile handily split out), Quantcast will also give awesome demographic info. Highly recommended.
Google trends can be powerful, but dangerous. Remember, you are not using these tools to defend or support your idea. You are using these tools to build the case as to why it wont work.
you are not using these tools to defend or support your idea. You are using these tools to build the case as to why it wont work.
Duh, right. But do it, and do it for hours. Search Google in two ways:
Look for market research reports, state-of-the marker reports, market press, competitor press…
Pretend you are a customer, you are looking for this product or service. Now search and see what you find.
[Twitter.com](Twitter), [LinkedIn.com](LinkedIn), [MeetUp.com](MeetUp.com) Telephone
Get talking to people in the industry. Everyone you can think of. You know all those people that you are connected to on linkedIn – well, guess what! Now they are useful! Find anyone you that is connected to anyone in this industry, and reach out! Follow industry leaders and Twitter and engage them. Talk to anyone who knows anything about your space, and remember, you are don’t want people to just nod and smile and say “Oh, what a neat idea…” You want to find the reasons it wont work! Ask them flat out, “why wont this work.” Or tell them “I don’t think this will work, what do you think?” Lead them to be negative on it, not positive, to get honest feedback.
If you can’t, well ok, on to phase II — prototyping.