Four Ways to Test Your Idea

How to be sure that you have a great business idea before you put time and money into it.

There are four great ways for you to test any product or service idea before you start a business built upon it.

The Best Source of Advice
Number one, seek out people who are already in the same business and ask their opinions of the product or service. Many people have saved themselves an enormous amount of time and money by finding that people who are already in the business wish they weren’t in the business and who wish they hadn’t invested the time or money to get in the business in the first place. So go and talk to them. Ask them what they think about the business. Ask them if they would recommend that someone else get into the business. Don’t be shy or secretive.

Ask for Feedback On Your Idea
Every so often, at seminars, I have people come up to me and ask me if I would give them some advice on their business, and I say, "Well, what is your idea?" And they won’t tell me what their idea is because they’re afraid somebody will steal their idea. The fact is that ideas are a dime a dozen. So be perfectly open. Tell people what you’re thinking of doing. And get feedback from people who are already in the business. That alone has saved me hundreds of thousands of dollars. It may even have saved my financial life on a couple of occasions.

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Ask Your Bank Manager for Advice
Number two is to ask your bank manager for his opinion or advice. A bank manager, who deals with commercial accounts, very often has a tremendously accurate sense for what kind of businesses will succeed and what kind won’t. One 5-minute interview with my bank manager a few years ago saved me $200,000 dollars in an investment. He pointed out to me the weaknesses in the particular business I was looking at getting into, and I had no answer for him. So I didn’t go into the business and the people who did lost everything that they put into it. Ask your bank manager. Your bank manager can be one of the very best sources of business advice.

Check With Family and Friends
Number three, ask your friends, ask your family, ask your acquaintances for information. Family members are very good targets for market research. Ask your family and friends if they would buy the product or service that you’re thinking of offering. How much would they pay for it? Listen to their questions. Listen to their criticisms. Listen to their concerns. Because if you can’t answer their questions and concerns in a logical and believable way, it could be that there’s something wrong with your idea.

Talk to a Potential Customer
The fourth way to do market research is to visit prospective customers for the product or service and ask if they would buy it. If you’re thinking of selling something to a company, go to the type of company that you would sell it to and ask if they would buy it if you produced it. If you’re thinking of selling something through retail, go to the retailer and ask them if they would buy it or sell it. Ask the customer. Customers are very open and very candid and sometimes they’ll give you insights that will be worth their weight in gold. If you’re going to sell through a retailer, ask the retailer if he or she could sell the product if they were carrying it. Why or why not?

Action Exercises
Now, here are two things you can do immediately to test your ideas more thoroughly before you invest in them:

First, visit people who are in the same business and ask for their opinions. Call them on the telephone. A person already doing the business is the best source of advice in that business.

Second, ask your bank manager for advice. Lay out your business plan or idea to him or her and ask for his or her candid feedback. This could save you an enormous amount of time and money.

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About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian's goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Youtube.

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