Why and How to Market Test Your Product or Service

Immediately wanting to share your new product or service with the world can be tempting. After all, the thrill of creating something no one has ever seen is part of the reason you decided to get into business yourself. But to make all your hard work worthwhile, you should first want to perfect your idea with market testing.

Why is Market Testing Important?

Testing is crucial to discovering what works before jumping into an idea. Whether planning a postcard printing campaign, a business idea, or the launch of your new product, all decisions should be tested before being exposed to your target audience. The testing process will save you from extra expenses and even bad PR, should it not be an initial hit.

Market Test on a Small Scale

Market testing involves taking a small-scale version of your business idea and getting customer feedback. Take the Mythbusters, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, for example. They constantly build crazy, new projects to prove or disprove their ideas. But they rarely build a complicated, full-scale product right out of the gate. Instead, they begin with a scaled-down version that demonstrates their idea and costs little time and money. From there, they fine-tune the concept before preparing for the large, and often explosive, finale.

You should market test for the same reason Adam and Jamie build small-scale models. It’s a huge risk starting work on a large scale.

Objective Practice Makes Perfect

As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to become protective of your idea. It’s a good idea, and the world needs to hear about it. But there’s something about the incubation process that can distort reality and negatively affect a perfectly good project. 

You’ve been exposed to this project for so long that you’ve lost the ability to be objective. Every small business owner thinks their idea is perfect. The reality is that it won’t be perfect from the very beginning. If you rush your developing idea to the market, surviving the time it takes to perfect things may be a struggle.

Ideas for Market Testing

Work on a small scale. Figure out blemishes that need to be corrected, and then you can confidently ramp up production. Remember, not every market test needs to be the same. Be creative and do what’s best for you and your business.  Here are a few suggestions to spark your creativity:

  • Cater an event for a local organization to market-test your new restaurant menu.
  • Give away prototypes of your product in exchange for users responding to a questionnaire.
  • Use social media to solicit ideas from your friends online.
  • Set up a website with the product or service described and have a survey at the end asking for feedback.
  • Run a beta test for your services and offer a discount in exchange for feedback.
  • Send postcards to a select area and link to an online survey about your business idea.

However you choose to market test for your small business, take criticism constructively. Even when people have negative things to say about your idea, it’s because you created something that forced them to respond. Take the concepts you can use, dismiss the ones you can’t, and make your idea the best it can be.

How Small Business BC Can Help Your Business

SBBC is a non-profit resource centre for BC-based small businesses. Whatever your idea of success is, we’re here to provide holistic support and resources at every step of the journey. Check out our range of business webinars, on-demand E-Learning Education, our Talk to an Expert Advisories, or browse our business articles.