Invest in product testing
Product testing is a way to introduce your product to a select group of users to gather their reactions and feedback. The opinions they provide can validate the direction in which you and your business are headed, or help you realize that your product isn't quite ready for the marketplace.
As an entrepreneur, you know the importance of a solid business plan; however, you may not think of including product testing as a part of it. Here are some tools and strategies that may help you with this task.
Research your potential industry
Understanding the industry you are joining and learning about the latest trends that could impact your business are excellent first steps when developing a product testing strategy. Here are a few tools that can help.
- Financial Performance Data allows you to better understand how your business stacks up against competitors or project the costs of starting your own business.
- Canadian Industry Statistics provides the number of establishments in a particular industry along with financial performance data. Explore how your chosen industry is performing in the economy.
Additional information may be found in our CANSIM data mining made easy for small business blog.
If seeking feedback on your invention, you will have to develop a prototype in order for the testers to see and understand your concept. At this stage you may not want to develop a full working model in the interest of saving money. In some cases you may find that presenting the testers with your blueprints will be enough.
Any time intellectual property is involved in the product testing process, you may wish to have your testers sign a non-disclosure or confidentiality agreement.
Tips and tricks
- Make sure people know where to find you — deliver a consistent message on all of your social media accounts.
- Blog about it — use SEO to attract potential clients.
- Set up in a flea market for a day and see if you can reach 100 customers and get their feedback.
- Would you buy this? Why? Why not? Design a short, anonymous questionnaire so testers can give honest feedback.
Product testing, or market evaluation, allows you to test the waters before fully exposing your business to your target audience. The time and money you invest in testing your product in advance will likely save you time and money once your product goes to market.