We’ve come to a point where online entrepreneurship is easier than ever. People with great ideas can now realistically put those ideas into play without having to reverse mortgage the house or stump up with hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Obviously that doesn’t mean success is a given. “Making it” is as hard as ever. Given lowered barriers to entry, your incredible idea has definitely already been thought of, but as yet, probably hasn’t been executed well enough to become a “thing”. The adage that in business 1% is the idea and 99% is the execution holds true more than ever before.
In 2015, ideas are cheap. Execution is everything. Friendster becomes MySpace becomes Facebook in less than a decade. Almost the exact same idea; different execution.
So, how do you determine if your idea is a winner?
There’s so much great theory to help you bring your ideas to life and test them in the market. If you’re starting an online business and you don’t know about Lean Startup, Eric Ries (B2C businesses) or Steven Blank (B2B businesses) you need to stop everything and hit Google straight away. Before you do anything else get familiar with their work, and become intimate with the term “Product / Market Fit”. Everything you do as a startup from day 1 should be bringing you closer to determining if there’s a market for your product (service / idea) without wasting time, money or other resources.
The best way to test your ideas fast is to buy traffic
Even today, here at Label, we’re surprised by the number of fantastic ideas that cross our desks where incredibly talented entrepreneurs think that just putting their ideas online, even with an expensive website, will lead to a gold rush. In 2015, great ideas are a commodity. A great idea, backed by laser focussed execution is unstoppable. Poor execution fails a good idea every time.
A simple way to test whether you’re close to achieving product / market fit is to send people to your site and see if they behave as you expect them to. In an eCommerce business, this is easy: do people buy anything when they visit your site.
In 2015, the easiest and quickest way to get people to your site is to buy traffic on a pay for performance basis.
Pay for Performance
Slowly dying are the days of advertising where you pay for “reach”: a publisher or media company tells you how many people they reach, and you pay for an ad that apparently reaches each and every one of those people, regardless of whether they display a preference to find out more about your product or service.
Online, the advertising model that makes most sense for startups is one where you only pay for qualified traffic: people who have indicated some preference for your product or service by clicking on an ad about it.
This model of advertising gives the entrepreneur a great toolkit to send at least partly qualified traffic to their sites and only pay for people who arrive.
In a later post, we’ll be looking at how to measure success with Pay for Performance media in an eCommerce business.