by Chelsea Duggan
You have a great idea – really great, so great you’re going to keep it squirreled away where it can grow inside your heart and no one can steal it!
Except that someone already has – but what is going to separate you from those others is your ability to move your idea forward rather than sequestering it. How do you really know if your idea is as great as you think it is? Test it. Here’s how to BETA.
B: Boast a little and chat your idea past your friends. See what their initial reaction is and jot things down. Don’t be surprised if some people are shocked in your gumption to do your own thing. Rather, think in terms of how you can solve someone’s problem and make his or her life better. Be sure to document major points and keep a running list. This will keep your mind moving forward and keep you open to considering small changes that might impact customers later.
E: Establish a test with a control group. When I did my initial test I begged everyone I knew to participate and asked them to recommend friends who might too. Then you need to set up your test. Mine began with a short questionnaire, two weeks worth of free activities, and a post questionnaire. Determine what it is you need to know. Is price point a concern? Ask what your testers are already spending on similar products.
T: Test your idea. Realize that with any test you will probably only get back 40% of the surveys you send out, so get as big of a pool as you can. Then be sure you have a clear way to tally your results and keep track of data. Why not mock up a test for just one or two people to see their reactions to the questions. You might get a few surprises that you can tweak before the official version goes out. Be sure to give your audience a chance to add open-ended comments. Something they say may trigger a further idea or development.
A: Analyze your results. Did people respond well to your idea? Were there simple changes that you could make to better mold your product into an award winner? Or is it time to go back to the drawing board and dream up something even better?
Remember, if at first you don’t succeed, BETA test and tweak until you do.
Chelsea Duggan:: An entrepreneur, parent and advocate for early childhood development through creative education, Chelsea Duggan is the Founder and Director of Milestar Babies. This innovative online resource enables busy parents to have an influential impact on newborn children, up to three years in age. Chelsea’s background in education – a passion she shares with her two children, so they themselves can enjoy a lifelong interest in learning – is at the center of Milestar Babies. That commitment to excellence starts with shared moments and teacher-designed lessons, which parents can further customize, so children can discover, synthesize and pursue their own discoveries. Chelsea believes that every child is an amazing individual, who deserves to learn at his or her own pace. This kid-tested, parent-approved philosophy is Chelsea’s distinctive concept, complemented by the convenience of the Internet and her dynamic site. A graduate of Northwestern and a member of the Chicago Women Entrepreneurs Network, Chelsea welcomes the opportunity to interact with parents and children throughout the nation and the world.