Have you ever created something for your business, whether it’s a course, program, new service offering or something else, only to hear crickets when you launch? Sure, it might be your launch strategy. It might be your small list. But chances are, it’s because you didn’t do this first.
You have to validate your idea before you put tons of time into creating your new “thing.”
Validating your idea means you find out if what you want to create is actually something your audience needs and wants. It means you’re talking to people, asking questions and diving deep into their problems so you can provide exactly the solution that they want.
How do I validate my ideas?
Validating your idea doesn’t need to be a long, expensive task. It simply involves listening to what your audience is talking about and what they’re having trouble with and—most importantly—asking them what they want and need. Because let’s be honest, you don’t want to create something that your audience doesn’t even want!
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How do I find out what they want and need?
I’ve found two easy ways to find out what your audience wants and needs: a survey and a Q and A session. While the Q and A session is much more personal (and time-consuming), both allow you to connect directly with your audience so you can find out what it is that appeals to them.
A survey helps you get feedback from a larger audience, but don’t think you need to send it to your entire email list or post in a Facebook group. In fact, don’t. I find that the best survey feedback comes from a carefully curated (short) list of ideal clients–current, former and even dreamy.
When asking for feedback in the form of a question and answer session, be very clear about what kind of person you want to talk to. A new business owner who is struggling with XYZ or a service-based business who’s been in business for at least 2 years and wants help with ABC.
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What do I ask?
The first rule of thumb when validating your idea is that you aren’t selling anything just yet. You’re simply asking about something you want to create to help round out the idea (for the course, program, offering, etc.). Go into the survey or meeting with an open mind and without being singularly “sold” on doing something in a certain way.
Start by letting the people you’re talking to know that you’re thinking about creating something, and give them a very basic overview.
Focus on your area of expertise only and ask pointed questions around it. For example:
- What are your biggest frustrations when it comes to [problem]?
- How have you tried to fix [problem]?
- If you could learn how to [solution], what would that look like?
- Is [problem] something you would want to learn how to fix on your own, or would you prefer to outsource it?
- What would you invest in something that [solution]?
Be careful not to take up too much of your audience’s time. Limit the questions to no more than eight and give options to choose from, when appropriate, especially in a written survey. In 1:1 meetings, it’s easier to ask follow-up questions or omit planned questions based on your audience member’s answer.
No matter how you go about it, just be sure that you do take some time to validate the ideas you have before you build a whole course, program or offering around it. You’ll save a whole lot of time and frustration if you know in advance that what you want to create is something that will actually sell.