CompanyGet Dirty! 5 Steps to Testing Your “Big Idea”

September 12, 2011

There is no quick and easy way to know if you’ve found your golden ticket. In the words of my absolute favorite teacher at USC, Tommy Knapp (professor in the Entrepreneurship program), you’re going to have to “get dirty”.

5 Important Steps to Take When Testing Your “Big Idea”:

Step #1: Make a clear and thorough evaluation of who you believe the customer will be, where they will purchase, etc (so you can be sure you’re talking with the right people)

Step #2: Get out there and talk to strangers: shop owners, potential customers, vendors, etc – anyone connected with the industry at all

Step #3: Get into the data: determine the NAICS industry code for your potential business, what are the trends, margins, etc in that industry. Look at Hoover’s, IBISWorld, etc…

Step #4:  Google the topic and look through news articles that come up to see what’s happening now. You can also set a google alert for the topic. Just google, “google alert”, and you can start using the service for free. For example, if you are an ice cream vendor in New York, you may set alerts for “New York ice cream”, “New York frozen yogurt”, “ice cream industry”, etc. You’ll be amazed how much info you’ll find this way.

Step #5:  Spend time determining what kind of competition exists. If you are thinking “there is no competition”, you’re wrong. Consider any alternative to using your product (including substitutes or choosing to use nothing at all).

Stay tuned for “5 Common Mistakes Made by Entrepreneurs”…

Lolo Siderman received her degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of business in 2010, after graduating from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh with a degree in graphic design. She has successfully started and either managed or co-managed four companies in a variety of industries, such as design, real estate services, and sports training.

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