You would not dream of spending $10,000 on a used car without taking a thorough test drive, so why would you invest ten times that or more in your business idea without making sure your idea is a sound one? Year after year, untold numbers of would-be business owners make this mistake raiding their life savings, running their credit cards to the limit and quitting their jobs, only to find out that the market for their great new product does not exist, or that their competitors have already cornered the market.
No matter how much you hate your job or how much you loath your boss, giving up the security of a steady pay cheque is a big step, and not one you should take lightly. Before you take that irreversible step, you need to know your business ideas are sound, and that means taking those ideas for a thorough test drive.
There are many ways to test drive your business ideas and the exact nature of that test drive will depend on what kind of business you plan to start. The best approach is to tailor you test drive to your proposed new business, much like you would tailor your test drive to the car, pickup truck or SUV you have your eyes on.
No matter what the nature of your business ideas, there are some things you should always do. Interviewing potential customers and reaching out through social media are easy and low-cost strategies, and you am do them in your spare time.
Networking with your existing contacts is another smart way to test drive your business. Talk about your business ideas in general terms and try to get a feel for the amount of interest and demand. If the level of interest is low, you might need to go back to the drawing board before you hand in your resignation letter. If your ideas are met with unbridled enthusiasm, you are obviously standing on firmer ground.
If you have an idea for a new product and plan to build your business around it, you can do some pre-selling to gauge the level of interest and the wisdom of quitting your job and pursuing your dream full time. The many crowd funding sites out there make this strategy easier than ever – entrepreneurs can outline their ideas, solicit feedback from potential customers and even take pre-orders.
This little exercise will also help you test your sales abilities not everyone is a born salesperson, and a lack of sales skills could kill your budding business before it gets off the ground. As a business owner, you will need to wear many hats and one of those hats belongs to the chief salesperson.
It can be tempting to quit your job and pursue your own passions, especially if your current job situation is far from pleasant. But while many people have lived out their entrepreneurial dreams and never looked back, lots of others lived to regret their decision. Which side of the fence you land on will depend on how well you prepare, and taking your business for a test drive is one of the best preparatory steps you can take.