How to Test your Business Ideas with Minimum Risk: 5 Tips

Deciding to launch a new service within your existing small business can be very tricky if not done carefully, so take the following procedures

How to Test your Business Ideas with Minimum Risk: 5 Tips

Small businesses need to work a little harder than businesses that have already established themselves, and risks are generally greater towards these entities. Small businesses often lack a failsafe, and they can’t afford to waste funds or have an idea plummet in a big way.

This can pose challenges when a small businesses wants to grow, rebrand, or innovate. They need to be able to test their ideas, but they can’t afford to flop. It’s always possible to take a cautious approach that reduces the impact a potential failure may have on the future of your business.

1. Look at your competitors

By checking out your competitors, you’ll be getting a good idea regarding how businesses like yours have successfully rolled out ideas or changes in the past. Did they start temporary, or give it their all from the get go? How long after the idea was announced did it fully materialize? T

hey’re probably catering to an audience similar to yours. While it’s unwise to outright copy a competitor, it sometimes helps to view them as a practical example when considering your game plan.

2. Ask your customers what they really want

Ideas that nobody asked for generally don’t work well. Larger businesses have provided plenty of workable examples of this concept. Do you remember when purple ketchup and blue mustard hit the market?

The problem was that kids didn’t think there was anything unappetizing about the original varieties of these products, and they found the change to make the things they already loved less appealing. Before you even begin to consider an idea, chat with your most loyal customers and determine whether or not the idea is actually worth pursuing.

3. Be open to the idea of gray areas

You have an idea you think is great, but your audience only thinks part of that idea is great. You’ll be taking a much larger risk if you do thinks exactly the way you planned from the beginning.

If you know you have potential interest in the ideas, serve up the idea in a way that appeals to the customers who are open to it. This might mean changing your plans a little bit, but that small compromise has the potential to carry you into a fruitful future.

4. Identify your test group

It’s more expense to roll out a new idea to the general public. You never know how many people you’re contending with. Before you have a product or special materials made in bulk, start with something smaller. Allow your loyal customers early access, and listen to what they have to say. A small-scale trial will cost less, and you won’t be committing to something problematic.

If things aren’t working out the way that you’ve planned, you won’t be so financially tethered to the idea that backpedalling will feel nearly impossible. Slow growth allows you to budget a little better and tinker with things before you’re ready to make a major change.

5. Apply your feedback

Starting small and testing with a limited audience provides you with the ability to get comprehensive feedback on your idea. Feedback is what makes the world go round.

If the most common response is “I like element A, but element B isn’t really working for me”, you’ve got plenty of time to get element B right before you seriously pursue that idea. You’ll know far ahead of the official launch of your new idea, and you’ll be able to prep yourself for the perfect unveiling.

Remember to never put the cart below the horse. If you can’t afford to rebound from a risk gone awry, the smallest risk is always moving at a snail’s pace. Slow and steady always wins the race.

Joan Herbert is an assistant manager at, a curious individual, avid reader and a passionate creative writer.

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