11 Ways To Validate Your Business Idea

Kyle Smith

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So you've got an idea. That's great. There’s no foolproof method for ensuring that the best ideas rise to the top. However, there are many ways I bet you haven’t thought about. In this post, I’ll share eleven ways to get feedback on your idea, fast. This will apply to any kind of idea, whether it’s a book, blog post, presentation, or business concept.

1. Talk to people in your everyday life.

We can connect with virtually anyone who’s on social media today. However, it’s easy to forget that the best often feedback happens when step away from social media and talk to the people in our everyday world.

Think about the people you encounter every day. For me, it’s my wife and son; people I meet for coffee shop or grocery store; my brother and his family; people at church; my mastermind group; and the faculty, staff, and students at the college where I work.

Each of these people has innate creativity and genius. The same is true for your world. Don’t neglect the people right around you.

2. Create a social media post.

I’m most active on Facebook and LinkedIn. I don’t use Instagram a lot, but one of my readers recently mentioned that it’s a great place for getting feedback from people.

Whatever platform you use, learn to use it well and engage with people there.

3. Give a talk or presentation

I’ve been giving more talks the last couple of years. I’ve spoken at business meetings, conventions, churches, a graduation service, and other small events. Local libraries are also great venues for giving a talk.

The greatest thing about giving a talk is that you get immediate feedback. You find out what’s working, and what’s not working.

Sometimes we neglect opportunities right in front of us. If you have a day job, could you give a presentation for your employer? This can be a great way to get some experience and feedback, all while adding value to your employer.

4. Write a blog post.

I know that podcasting is all the rage these days (and for good reason!), but let’s not forget about the humble blog post. A blog is a great way to share your ideas with the world in written form.

When you write a blog post, make sure to share it with people. I recommend that you send it out to your email list and share it on social media.

You can also go the opposite route. For example, this post began as an email to my list, and now I’m repurposing it as a podcast episode and blog post.

I recommend that at some point, your content ends up in written form because it’s much easier to repurpose that way.

5. Record a podcast episode.

The reason I love podcasting is that you can talk out ideas, concepts, and stories. My friend Vincent Pugliese does this very well on his “Total Life Freedom” podcast. He is a master storyteller.

If you don’t have a podcast, you can get the same result by using Facebook Live. Audio and video are great because people can hear the emotion in your voice.

6. Ask someone who is 1-2 steps ahead of you.

When I have a question about writing, I often ask one of my author friends for help. Many of these friends are a few years ahead of me in building their business. They still remember what it’s like to be in the beginning stages of the journey.

The reason I say “1-2 steps ahead of you” is that these people are more accessible than the “experts” in your field. They are going to be more available to hop on a call and talk about your ideas.

7. Ask an expert via social media.

In contrast to the last point, sometimes you do need to get an expert opinion on your idea. This is where social media can be very helpful. With a little legwork and a friendly message, you can connect with just about anyone.

There are many times when I have sent a quick message to an influencer on Twitter and gotten a quick response. But here’s the thing: if you want a long-term relationship with a successful person, don’t abuse this privilege. Be a giver first. Take the time to develop a relationship with them.

These people are not looking for fanboys or fangirls. They are looking for people to put their material into practice. If you do this right, you will be amazed at how easy it is to develop a friendship with someone who is far beyond you.

8. Join a group on Facebook or LinkedIn.

Groups are helpful because you have a mutual point of interest with others. But when you join a group, be a giver and don’t just ask questions all the time. Be a giver and help others. Follow the golden rule when it comes to relationships.

I don’t recommend starting a group unless you want to maintain and manage the group. I would join an already-existing group and try to add value there.

9. Take a survey.

If you have an audience, even a small one, I recommend doing an annual survey. I recently put together a simple survey using SurveyMonkey. I asked what people’s biggest writing needs were.

The survey results were helpful because I could clearly see where my audience was struggling. You can’t argue with data, especially when it’s given by people taking an anonymous survey.

One tip: If you want people to complete the survey, make it convenient for them. I recommend doing a short, compact survey if possible. All things being equal, shorter is better.

10. See if other people are talking about the same topic or issue.

Do a little research to see if others are talking about your idea on social media, in books and articles, and elsewhere. This will give you an idea whether other people care about the topic like you do. It will also help you see where the holes are, and which aspects of your idea you need to address.

11. Listen to your gut.

I believe in gathering data, and I believe in getting direct feedback from others. However, I also believe in listening to your instincts.

It’s easy to downplay or ignore our gut feeling or intuition. Journaling is a great way to work out your thoughts and get your head in a quiet space so you can listen to that vital inner voice.

Bonus Tip

It may sound elementary, but it’s worth saying: Listen to your feedback. Many times we ask for feedback without truly wanting to hear what others have to say. We just want them to validate our ideas.

Don’t ask for feedback if you don’t want to hear it.

You know how a fire is created? A fire is created from friction. If you want the best ideas to rise to the top, you need to be willing to withstand friction, disagreements, and feedback that you weren’t expecting.

So before you ask for feedback from others, ask yourself … do I really want this feedback? Am I willing to accept constructive criticism from others? Is the best idea going to win, even if it’s not mine?

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I write about writing, productivity, creativity, and much more.

St. Louis, MO
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