How to Test the Waters Before Launching an Online Business

When you consider the level of funds, time, and energy that go into launching a startup, you have to agree that testing the waters is a smart move. Qualitative research, along with big data and analytics, helps provide useful insights into the viability of a business. This entails testing the new idea, kicking the proverbial tires, and identifying problems that may cause hiccups in the future. It’s akin to perusing maps, websites, and perhaps, a guidebook or two before taking an around-the-world vacation. To ensure you succeed, here are some tips for testing the waters before launching an online business.

1. Ensure your packaging is spot on


Prospective online business owners may have sufficient capital and connections at their disposal, yet still, run into problems with execution. More often than not, this is because they didn’t test their business ideas before launching. Without testing a product, how can you be sure it will be a success? And even if the product is perfect, if you can’t deliver it to your customers in a timely and damage-free package, you’re not going to be in business long. That means you can’t just test the product, you have to test it’s packaging and delivery, too.

For smart new entrepreneurs, that means using companies that have a demo room for packaging and shipping. For instance, you can send your product to U.S Packaging and Wrapping and they’ll offer solutions for packaging your finished product. This way, you can get your products off the ground with more confidence.

2. Seek help from market research companies

It’s fair to say that market research is what makes effective marketing possible. In order for the company to know how and where it will achieve the greatest success, it must examine and understand the market and buyers. It’s also worth noting that your potential customers are not the only target of market research, but also your competitors and the position of your own company on the market.

To ensure this is done efficiently, a viable option is consulting the best market research companies in the research industry, like The Analyst Agency. This company provides full consultancy services for organizations looking for growth opportunities. Market research services like this will ensure your company employs only the best solutions for potential customers. Without winning over your prospects, even the most elaborate business plan may fail.

3. Seek feedback online


If you lack the funds to run repeated tests and focus groups on new products, your best bet is to go online. Once you hatch a new business idea, check its viability by leveraging online market research tools. Create a landing page where you can request visitor emails and start churning out newsletters to gain prospective customers’ buy-in. If possible, aim to do this even when the product does not yet exist.

The idea is to start seeing the response of your prospects. This way, you’ll know what the customer wants. You’ll also know what to rethink, iterate, and create a better version of the envisaged product. This method is less stressful than using focus groups as it is just a click of a button away. The results to expect here are similar to what you would get from in-depth interviews, and they come at a cheaper rate.

4. Experiment with family and friends

Testing your product with family and friends will give you a clearer picture of what lies ahead. With this kind of customer experience or consumer behavior, you’ll gain useful information on where to make improvements. This is also a good opportunity to practice your customer service skills. Here, you can keep everything casual until you can develop the best version of your brand. Plus, family and friends are often the toughest critics. Give them freedom to give you feedback, even if it’s negative. You may be surprised at the insights you gain.

5. Check what the competition is doing

In addition to checking out why some online businesses fail, also research why other similar businesses are thriving online. Ask yourself what they did to stay afloat during uncertain times. This will offer insights into why clients would prefer your brand over theirs. If some companies are busier than others, find out the reason behind it. Knowing what happens in your business environment is a good gauge of whether you will be successful.

Drew Neisser