December 26, 2012 | 5-minute read (954 words)
Originally published in Noobpreneur
What’s a cheap, fast way to get feedback on a new business idea? The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs.
1. Test the Marketplace
Whenever I come up with a new idea, I often try a less expensive option to see how the idea will hit my target market. For example: instead of setting up an entire website/company, I will host a webinar on the topic to see how much attention it gets. Then, I’ll expand it further and continue to test it as I expand it. A webinar is a cheap, fast way to test the viability of an idea.
- Erin Blaskie, BSETC
2. Collect Money Quickly
Use PayPal to receive payment for the most rudimentary version of your idea. People will tell you what they think all day long, but they vote with their wallets. Often prospects will give encouraging feedback on something they would never actually pay for. So to truly tell if an idea is successful, you have to see if anyone is actually willing to pay for it.
- Laura Roeder, LKR
3. Try Mechanical Turk
Have found Mechanical Turk to be an extremely cost-effective way to get feedback from a surprisingly high-quality group of people, all for just five cents each! Takes a little HTML know-how, but it’s otherwise pretty plug ‘n’ play if you’ve never used it before.
- Derek Flanzraich, Greatist
4. Look Into LaunchRock
If Henry Ford asked the people what they wanted for improved transportation, they would have said “a better horse.” Set up a landing page describing your product/service idea with LaunchRock, send traffic to it via AdWords and see how many people enter their email address for the beta list. Then, reach out to them and ask for more detailed feedback.
- Matt Mickiewicz, Flippa and 99designs
5. Post a Thread on Reddit
There are thousands of people just waiting to give their opinion on Reddit. Why not see if the masses will think you’re idea is a good one or not?
- Angela Pan, Angela B. Pan Photography
6. Test Out Crowdfunding
On crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter or Indiegogo, you can write up a description of your business idea and pitch your product idea before building it. If enough other people like your idea, you will be able to raise money, which is a great source of market validation. If you aren’t able to generate much interest via your project, it means you need to work on refining your idea.
- Emerson Spartz, Spartz Media
7. Use Google’s Keyword Tool
It’s completely free and will quickly give you feedback on whether or not people are interested in what you want to sell. Search volume for relevant phrases is a good indication of interest in the marketplace. Simply type in a few phrases your ideal customer would search to find your product or service and see if there is enough search volume or interest.
- Phil Frost, Main Street ROI
8. Mind Your Mentors
Build a team of mentors who will listen and advise you. These should be people you trust to tell you the truth, even if it hurts. You can then go to them with new ideas and questions.
- Megan Berry, LiftFive
9. Give It a Status Update
Whether you have 10 or 10,000 friends on Facebook or LinkedIn, put your new business idea in your status update and ask for feedback. If you do not want to be so public about it, message the people you trust. I once was choosing between two different types of products to launch, posted photos of both in my status, and immediately received enormous feedback to help me make a decision.
- Nancy T. Nguyen, Sweet T
10. Pitch to Win
Many companies and schools offer pitch events, an open forum for aspiring entrepreneurs to present their business ideas in an interactive forum. It’s a great way to practice your pitch, work out the kinks, get fresh feedback from a new audience, and, potentially, find investors and/or new team members to help you to transform your idea into a reality.
- David Ehrenberg, Early Growth Financial Services
11. Launch a Front-End MVP
If it’s possible, launch a completely front-end minimal viable product that describes what the application/business/product does and simply have a signup sheet for interest in installs. Track views, clicks, and signups to determine interest and traction!
- Jesse Pujji, Ampush|social
12. Go to Starbucks!
Draw the business idea on paper. Show it to ten people outside the retail store your target market shops at e.g. Whole Foods, Starbucks, 7-11, etc. People are generally happy to share their reactions.
- Kevon Saber, Stealth
13. Ask for Help
It’s amazing how many people will step up and give feedback if you just ask for help. ‘Hey friends, I’m working on a new project, and I could really use your feedback, because you’re really smart, good looking, and I value your feedback’. They’ll respond if they respect you, and if you have the kind of relationships that facilitate honesty, you’ll know if you have something or not pretty quickly.
- Joe Cassara, You Need My Guy
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.