Have you ever been with a group of friends or stuck in traffic or maybe sitting on your couch watching TV and all of a sudden you think of an idea that could be turned into a business or product?
I had one of these idea sparks today. It happened when I reached for the tub of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream on the coffee table but it was too far away. I thought, “I wish I had an extended arm-claw-device to pick up the ice cream so I can successfully eat my Chunky Monkey without ever moving from my current position.
Unfortunately, the claw has already been invented.
Clearly, a picture of me reaching for Chunky Monkey is probably better marketing than this whacky picture →
However, the claw is a great illustration of how ideas for businesses and products come about.
Here’s the process in a pre-claw world:
- get up from the couch
- walk to coffee table
- pick up the pint of ice cream
- walk back to the couch
- sit down on the couch
- nom nom nom!
Now, here’s life with the claw:
- clamp the claw around the pint of Ben and Jerry’s
- swing the claw back in your general direction
- let go of the claw
- nom nom nom!
The claw removes steps 1-5 from the first process and replaces them with 3 new steps that are much less laborious.
People buy products that make their lives easier and more efficient. Do this by removing a step or two (or more) from a process while also improving its efficiency.
In the past, it would be difficult, expensive, and risky to build a new business idea. I’d have to go all in. Failure was not an option 5-10 years ago. Unless you were handed down a business or gifted an inheritance you most likely wouldn’t be starting your own business.
Now, launching a new product or business is basically free. The process is a bit different than we remember from 10 years ago, however. Instead of picking one idea and taking the risk of going all in on it I’m able to build 5, 10, 20 one page websites with each representing their own product idea. I won’t actually have a product to sell yet. The website is used to validate the idea. Represent the idea on the site along with an email sign up form. If your idea is good people will sign up to receive notice when you launch. I’m sure you’ve come across these one page websites many times throughout your internet travels. They are called Splash Pages. When Pinterest first launched you had to sign up to be on a waiting list before being granted access to the platform. It’s a similar concept to that.
Do you have an idea for a product or business that you would like to test? It only takes a few minutes to set up a splash page, and it’s free. It would be silly to not try. 10 minutes of your time to build the page could change your life forever.
I highly recommend LaunchRock to test your product idea. When you land on the home page you can immediately get started for free. There is a paid version, but you don’t need it at this point. If you’re idea starts to get traction you can think about the paid version. The difference between the free and paid version is the free version gives you a subdomain – xyz.launchrock.com. In the future you can pay a few bucks and use your own domain and LaunchRock will host your site for you.
Launching a new business idea no longer means your life has to drastically change. Outline the idea on a piece of paper, draft a quick website to effectively convey the value proposition, and include an email opt-in form for interested prospective customers. If you get a lot of email sign ups it lets you know you should go ahead to the next step of building the idea.
My days (and late nights) are consumed by projects – sometimes from ideas I got earlier that day and now I’m launching into the world to see if it will get any traction. I’m always launching new ideas and businesses. I don’t put all the bells and whistles into the project – that would take months. Just the basics. I represent the idea effectively to see if I get any bites. If the fish are biting I will surely make that my new fishing hole.
Rapid testing like this allows me to save thousands of hours building something that may never have customers. When you get an idea for a business or maybe a book or even a concept for a new blog – just test it.