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3 Steps to Minimize Failure

shutterstock_198306491-compressorThe thrill of developing a new product or service that could be a ‘game changer’ or even just a great sales boost is a magnificent cherry on top of the mountain of hard work and refinement that probably went into it. At the end of this arduous process, you’ll no doubt be in a “high gear” drive mode to get it to market.

But this is the crucial point where you should pause and take these steps to reduce the chance of this endeavor being a failure.

This is the crucial point where you must, in a word, test. This means research (a bigger word that we really like). Just as your heart has been charmed by seeing a mother proudly and unabashedly proclaim their most hideous of infants as truly beautiful, your invention is YOUR baby, and you may be just as biased.

This is the big flashing yellow caution light and where you should employ Market Testing to see if others agree before taking the time –and spending the money- to put it into large scale production. This simple last step can save you time and the money you’ll save is both real time, current expenditures as well as future costs if you have to retract product and/or combat bad press for a flop.

So… #1: TEST IT. Here are some quick tips as to how.

#2: GO SMALL. In short, Market Testing means taking a small scale version of your idea and getting customer feedback. Make this a simple and small as possible to minimize the aforementioned costs. A perfect example is if a restaurant wanted to test a new recipe, don’t cook up enough to feed an army when the reaction of a squad or platoon will do. You’ll be amazed to see how you can devise small scale testing for almost any product or service you wish to test.

Not every market test needs to be the same. Try to be creative with the best way to test. Here are a couple of ideas:

  • Cater an event for a local organization to test market your new product or service.
  • Give away prototypes of your product in exchange for people answering a questionnaire.
  • Use social media to solicit ideas from your friends online.
  • Set up a website with the product or service described and have a survey at the end asking for feedback.
  • Run a beta test for your services. Offer a discount in exchange for feedback.
  • Send postcards to a select area with a link to an online survey about your business idea.

However you choose to market test for your small business, take the criticism constructively. Even when people have negative things to say about your idea, factor in that there might be slight animosity because you created something that forced them to respond. Which leads us to…

#3: BE OBJECTIVE. We know: Easier said than done because everyone has biases –especially those who have created something (refer back to our baby example above). Sometimes the best you can do in your testing is to proceed knowing for certain that you are biased and enlist as many impartial, objective evaluators in the process as possible.

When you work in the small scale to determine the appeal of the product/service and figure out any blemishes that may need to be corrected, you can then ramp up production -with confidence.

Oh, and here’s one more suggestion:

#4: CALL US. We do this for a living.

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