I was out running this morning for three miles (with a quick stop at Staples to buy some HP ink) when I became inspired to write this blog post after listening to the second podcast (“The Marketing Symphony“) by Pete Williams (Australian entrepreneur). He gives similar advice to what I’m laying out here, although his advice was for product-based entrepreneurs.
I believe service-based entrepreneurs should test the traffic for their type of proposed service before launching and incorporating a new business.
- The first and greatest benefit of testing before launching is that you will save yourself a lot of money. You won’t have to pay a lawyer to incorporate the new business, which can be costly if the business fails soon afterward.
- You’ll save yourself a lot of time by not opening bank accounts, registering for payment services, or any of the other necessary actions to keep an existing business open for commerce.
- Similarly, you can spend your saved time and money testing traffic for multiple ideas and therefore be more likely to discover a better service-based opportunity. It’s much more difficult to test multiple service ideas once you’ve already gone ahead and spent time and money positioning your company with regards to one specific service.
- Worries will go out the door regarding the exact features of your services. You don’t have to worry about specific features you think people might possibly want because you don’t need to know that information yet.
So how can you test multiple service-based ideas? I’ve thought of a few possible ways:
- Use Google AdWords to test specific locations. This route can be very expensive though.
- Use Facebook ads to make more refined tests based around specific characteristics of potential customers such as age, income, and education.
- Send questionnaires to very targeted groups of people. This can be accomplished easily by contacting someone who regularly publishes a newsletter within the industry you’re looking at. You pay them to post your survey in their newsletter and you get quick, reliable results.
- You can easily (and for zero cost) call your potential customers and ask them if they are interested. Talk as if the service already exists and ask for the sale. If they say no, you’ve gained valuable information and lost nothing. If they say “yes, I’ll buy immediately”, tell them there’s a backlog due to high demand and suggest a time-frame when it will be available. This is also win-win because you’ll be highly motivated to get the company/service up and running as soon as possible now that you know there’s great demand.
What are your opinions? Are there any benefits to launching before testing traffic? For example, can one gain certain insights only after launching? I’d love to hear your opinions as well as any suggested low-cost and quick methods for testing traffic.
If you enjoyed this post, sign up for my monthly newsletter in which I give away free copies of my most recent book reviews.