How to Use Flare and Keyword Planner to Test Demand for Your Business Idea

In this week’s Brain Boost, how to use flare and keyword planner to demand test your business idea. You’re going to get two ways to get some easy feedback on the level of demand that exists for your business ideas. First, a really easy way and, the second, a way that’s a little bit more complex but gives you more data.

Flare
This is an ios and android app that was developed by the team at Go Daddy and what you do is you upload a photo that represents your idea. You write a short headline and then a short description of your business idea, which should only take you a minute or two. Now that we’ve all grown accustomed to swiping left to skip something like Tinder, this does the same user experience for going through business apps so users who are looking at ideas like yours will either skip it or upvote it.

Ideas that get more than ten upvotes in 24 hours go to a new place in the app where people who have upvoted them can suggest ways to build on your idea.You’ll see how many people have viewed the idea versus how many people have upvoted it, which gives you a sense of popularity of the idea within this particular community.

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Google Keyword Planner
A great way to get real-world data about the demand for your idea is to use Google’s keyword research tool, which is located within their ad space.This will allow you to see exactly how often people within a specific geography search for the kind of thing that you’re thinking about offering.

For example, we wanted to see which group of people searches for “sample contracts” more frequently in the San Francisco bay area. So, we compared three search queries “freelancer sample contract”, “consultant sample contract”, and “developer sample contract”.

What you want to do after you get an idea of how often these queries are searched is benchmark them against something for which you kind of know the level of demand. Like “simple crm software”. Then, you’ll be able to see how much demand there is for the keywords you searched versus the queries that you kind of already know about. I

 

How do you test demand for your new ideas? Let us know in the comments and, if you’re interested in free entrepreneurship marketing and career management resources from Eazl, go here and you’ll find loads of templates and guides. They’re all for free.

 

EazlLaunch: Eazl’s New Virtual Incubator

virtual incubator

Eazl’s virtual incubator is a 6-month program that follows the formula in our course, 8 Step Business Launch. With help from two Eazl mentors and four other team members, each building their own businesses, you’ll be held accountable for reaching your business goals and completing milestones in order to bring your business to life. Stop dreaming about having your own profitable business and make it happen.
What do I get for participating?
  • If you are committed and follow through with your deliverables: a viable product or service that has been market researched and tested and your first paying customers
  • A scheduled program for deliverables to keep you on task and moving towards success
  • Help and support from the other four participants as you all hold each other accountable for weekly and monthly progress and share expertise when applicable
  • Weekly one-on-one and group help from your two Eazl mentors virtually, through the Slack platform
  • Two live conference calls with Davis Jones
  • Digital marketing testing strategy help at the end of the program from Ludell Jones (after you have found your Minimum Viable Product and your first few customers)
What’s the catch?
Someone wise once said, “There’s no such thing as free lunch.” You have to put in the work in this program or you won’t see any results.
 
When is it?
Summer-Fall 2016
How do I apply? 
Fill out the short application at this link.
 
How much does it cost?
It’s free! But, you do have to be enrolled in our 8 Step Business Launch course on Udemy (launching soon). If this sounds like something you can do, apply here. Our goal is to launch the program in late May or early June. Serious applicants only.

Launch a Business in 8 Simple Steps

Click here to receive coupons and updates when the course launches.

With our new business launch course, 8 Step Business Launch, learn how to identify high-potential launch markets, source and perform primary target market interviews, select a launch market, develop end user personas, run an MVP program to validate your business concept, build your first operational business model, brand and price your offering, and get your first 10 paid customers. This isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme, this is your practical pathway to being a successful entrepreneur and business owner.

8 Steps to Becoming a Successful Business Owner

business launch course

There’s a lot of fluff and theory about startups, entrepreneurship, and business modeling and you won’t find any of that stuff here. Your 8-step pathway is laid out in three phases:

  • Phase I: Pre-Launch Strategy
  • Phase II: Developing and Validating Your Concept
  • Phase III: Launch and Early-stage Financing

See Real World Examples as You Launch Your Business
Your launch will be supported by real world examples of the business launch tools in this course in action. You’ll have access to multiple target market interview recordings, downloadable support resources, and an inside look at data tracking Eazl’s growth from a concept to a six-figure business in its first year.

Unmatched Video Learning Experience Quality
Anyone who has the willpower to do what it takes to become the boss will love this course. Leveraging our experience as the leading provider of entrepreneurial business education to a community of over 50,000 learners worldwide, we’ve created a video-based learning experience that’s effective and really fun to watch. Starting with the first phase of the course, you’ll learn how to select a launch market, collect the market information you need to create an offering that people will pay for, and develop an end user profile that you can use as you design your offering and develop a sales strategy that’s (practically) guaranteed to be successful. Then you’ll move to phase two where you’ll design a minimum viable product (MVP)–a very early version of your concept–that you can use to validate your idea before taking it to the public. In phase three you’ll build your first operational version of the business, craft the first iteration of your brand and business story (sometimes called an “elevator pitch”), get your first paying customers, and set yourself up to receive growth capital using a practical method that doesn’t require you to deal with venture capitalists or lawyers.

Course Outline

  1. Let’s Identify Your Business Concept and Find High-Potential Test Markets
  2. How to Research a Target Market for a Product or Service Launch
  3. How to Convert Target Market Research into Strategic Information
  4. How to Develop Launch Tribe, End-User Profiles, and Design Persona
  5. Solution Development, Creating Your MVP, and Iterative Prototyping
  6. How to Build the First Operational Version of Your Business
  7. Launch I: How to Find Your First Customers
  8. Launch II: A Practical Way to Raise Seed-round Financing from Anywhere

Click here to receive coupons and updates when the course launches.

10 Entrepreneurial Lessons from Coco Chanel

coco chanel

There is no denying the impact that Coco Chanel had on the fashion world. A true rags-to-riches story, Chanel’s life left us with some POWERFUL entrepreneurial lessons.

  1. The power of doing your own thing + standing out
    At a time when women were bound in corsets and adorned with feathers and jewels, Chanel created her own flavor and a fashion revolution that focused on style AND comfort.

She was a natural rebel and that showed in her designs. There just wasn’t anything like it.

You can make it work if your product is similar to someone else’s, but you can make it easier on yourself if you offer unique value to a specific market.

  1. The power of a name
    Coco built a strong brand behind her name, which became a source of power in the fashion world.

Focus on building a powerful and unique product that makes your company name mean something to someone.

  1. The power of simplicity
    Chanel changed the way women looked and dressed through her simple and elegant designs.

You, too, can change someone’s life with a simple product or service that adds tons of value. We tend to think big and ambitious, but what practical things can you offer your target market?

  1. The power of a strong network
    Chanel had a habit of befriending people in high places. I’m not encouraging you to social climb, but do learn from her ability to make connections with people who add value to your life and your work.

Also, always be on the lookout for ways you can help others.

  1. The power of diversifying
    After founding a fashion house, Chanel released Chanel No. 5 (the first perfume to bear the name of the designer) in 1924. The profits enabled her to survive through the war after closing her design business.

Diversification is one of the best ways to ensure financial security as an entrepreneur. If one revenue stream or business line falls through, you can still stay afloat.

Regardless of your opinion of the the family, the Kardashians are the reigning entrepreneurs when it comes to diversifying. Series, spin-offs, beauty products, apps, modeling, etc. Once you master one source of income, start looking at how you can add another.

  1. The power of creative  advertising
    Chanel No. 5 was advertised as “A very improper perfume for nicely brought-up ladies.” This is right on par with the rebelliousness of the brand.

Invest some solid time into developing creative messaging for your brand.

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  1. The power of feeling limitless
    Chanel went from nothing to one of the biggest fashion brands, which still lives on today under the direction of Karl Lagerfeld. There is literally nothing you can’t do or anything that will keep you from making your business work.

It’s all about mindset and resourcefulness.

You don’t need big bucks to launch your company and you can learn how in our 8 Step Business Launch course if you are interested.

  1. The power of responding to the needs of the market
    I like to think of Chanel as the Steve Jobs of the fashion world. Women weren’t aware of the possibility of not conforming to the use of corsets and bulky, inhibiting clothes. Really, they needed someone to tell them that there were other ways to dress…and Chanel did that.

She created a product that made it possible to be chic and comfortable at the same time.

How can you innovate and satisfy the needs of your market?

  1. The power of flipping the table
    Chanel took black –a color once associated with mourning– and showed how it could be used well in a different way, through evening wear. Today, we refer to it as the Little Black Dress.

What can you do that is unexpected? How can you take existing resources and use them in a different way to provide a product or service that no one has thought of before? How can you flip the table and create your own Little Black Dress?

  1. The power of a good story
    Chanel was the ultimate self-mythologizing, which is something we can all learn from! I’m not suggesting that lying about your background is a good thing…but definitely invest in your story as the founder of your company and the company story that you communicate to the market.

eazl courses

 

Check out the rest of the Fempreneur Series:
5 Entrepreneurial Lessons from Sophia Amoruso of Nasty Gal
Is Ida Tarbell the OG Arianna Huffington
6 Entrepreneurial Lessons from Sara Blakely of Spanx
5 Entrepreneurial Lessons from Victoria Tsai of Tatcha

The 5 Phases of Using Kickstarter to Start a Business

 

using kickstarter to start a business

If you are looking to launch a product, one of the main hurdles you will face is finding the funds to pay for the materials and creation of your product. These expenses can be daunting and, when you talk about actually meeting production demand and the ability to enter the market, money is most often the main determining factor.

Sometimes, you just need a little financial boost to get the ball rolling and that’s where platforms like Kickstarter come in to help you launch your business.

Kickstarter is also a great way to test your audience and see how they respond to your product and it helps advertise your product!

Here’s our phase-by-phase guide on using Kickstarter to start a business:

Using Kickstarter to Start a Business

Asses the situation
When you raise funds on Kickstarter, you have to reach your funding goal or exceed it. If you don’t meet the goal, you can’t cash out any of the existing funding. So, you need to make sure you have the time and skills it will take to promote your campaign.

Do some research
In order to get in the right frame of mind and to understand what is generally required for a Kickstarter campaign, you should perform a bit of research by taking a look at existing Kickstarter campaign. Take notes on what you like and don’t like about the campaigns that you see.

Using Kickstarter to Start a Business

Kickstarter is best for launching specific products or ideas
It’s important that the focus of your campaign is on getting funding to bring specific ideas to life. This means that you should focus on raising money to make your ideas tangible vs. sending out a general appeal for money so you can start your business. The Kickstarter team actually won’t approve anything that doesn’t follow the product-funding model.

Remember that your project should genuinely benefit the audience and the highest funded projects usually have a broad fit with the market, are somewhat innovative, and are low-priced.

Set a realistic funding goal
The average project on Kickstarter raises less than $10,000, with popular and average pledge amounts at less than $100 each. Don’t get carried away, thinking you will easily be able to raise thousands.

Calculate exactly what you need to bring your project to life. Don’t forget to factor in all materials and time, plus the creation and shipping of rewards. Aim high, but don’t dream too big. You can always start smaller with this funding round and then scale up once you understand how to run a successful campaign.

Also, remember that you will have to pay taxes on the money you raise, plus Kickstarter places a 5% fee on all funds raised on the platform.

Select rewards thoughtfully
With Kickstarter, donations are given in exchange for rewards and, essentially, donors should feel that the price (donation) they pay for the product (reward) is a win-win.

You’ll need to offer multiple rewards that gradually scale upwards in price. The price points should help you cover a range of what people are able and willing to give. Make sure the “cheap” rewards are appealing and don’t give too many reward options because it might overwhelm potential donors.

Also, make sure the different donation levels aren’t simple (don’t over-complicate with too many features or elements).

30-day campaigns perform better than longer ones
You might be thinking about setting up a long campaign to make more money, but think again. 30-day campaigns are more likely to meet their fundraising goals.

Create killer content (copy +photos)
The copy and images that accompany your campaign will require time and effort. Make every word count and, unless you are already assured that your own photography skills are high quality, invest in good photography.

With your content, you should be specific about where the money is going and make sure that you are the face of the campaign. People will be more willing to donate if they know the cause is genuine. The story that you tell with your content is crucial. You are not only selling the product, you are selling your story.

Always provide and email address where donors can contact your with issues or questions.

Create a high-quality video
Campaigns that feature video are more likely to get funding, but not just any ol’ video made with an iPhone and iMovie will do. The quality of the video is very important. If you can’t accomplish quality on your own, you might think of hiring someone to do it for you. Keep in mind that this can get expensive.

There are some simple solutions, like using b-roll footage and speaking over it so it’s easy to edit. If you have a high quality camera to get photos or bits of video footage of the product be used or made, you can easily mix this in with the b-roll, capture audio with a solid mic and audio app, and edit based on the techniques you found in your research on existing Kickstarter campaigns.

Remember to keep your video short -less than 3 minutes. People have short attention spans and you want to engage them with your story quickly so they’ll click on that donate button.

Remember to cover these elements through the storytelling in your video: who you are, what your product is, the problem your product solves, and why you need their help.

Get Organized
There are a lot of elements to keep track of when you launch a Kickstarter campaign. We recommend creating a shared file of important dates and promotional activities and sharing it with your team.

Using Kickstarter to Start a Business

Leverage your network
When it comes to raising funds on Kickstarter, the larger your network, the better. I’m talking friends, family, and your email list (see below).

Don’t expect to simply set up a campaign and watch the money roll in. It just doesn’t work that way. Sure, you might get a few random strangers who stumble upon your campaign and donate, but you’ll have to tap your network and promote heavily for the most of the funding you receive. Don’t forget to reach out to your fans on social media to ask them to contribute.

Make sure you reach out to personal contacts before the campaign launches, get them to agree to donate, and have them donate as soon as it goes live. Having your project partially funded will have a positive impact on the strangers that come across your campaign.

Build a list BEFORE you launch your campaign
You’re going to need to build some momentum before you launch your campaign. Set up a landing page and collect emails so that, when your campaign goes live, you already have an email list of people who have shown interest in your product.

Invest in PR
PR is a great way to boost the visibility of your campaign and get more potential donors to your campaign page. Get featured in blogs and publications in order to reach more strangers’ eyeballs. You can accomplish this this by sending out a press release to relevant publications, blogs, and media outlets.

Remember that your time and cash are limited. The whole point of the campaign is to fund the underfunded, so don’t go after every single press contact. Pick 2 to 3 that are most relevant to the target market that would buy your product and reach out to them.

Use Google Analytics
Kickstarter provides some analytics for your campaign, but nothing the depth that Google Analytics can provide. You’ll be able to see who visits your page, how long they are they, where they are from, etc.

Using Kickstarter to Start a Business

Update your supporters
Create blog posts and videos to keep them in the know. Always be upfront about anything that isn’t going according to plan (shipping dates, etc.). Don’t send mass messages, but reach out to people directly instead. You can also update contributors by using the Project Updates section of your campaign page.

Analyze
Pay attention to your analytics daily on both Kickstarter and Google Analytics. Notice your top three traffic referral sources and zero in on promoting your campaign there.

Continue to tap your network
Forget about how uncomfortable it makes you feel and ask your network to support your fundraising campaign. If you don’t ask, people don’t know to give.

Connect with your backers
After receiving donations, make a special effort to really connect with those backers and get to know them. Create fans for life.

Using Kickstarter to Start a Business

Send out rewards as promised
Make sure the delivery of rewards is timely by following through on the promises you made during your campaign. If something is keeping you from delivering on time, be communicative and honest with your backers.

Go the extra mile
Include thank-you notes in your packages and make sure that your packaging is attractive and well put together. Create a lasting impression with your backers so they’ll help with word-of-mouth and purchase more in the future.

Something you might consider doing is creating a VIP club through either an email list or private Facebook group, where backers continue to get access to exclusive discounts and updates.

Get additional feedback
Since you now have a base of individuals that have used your product, get in touch with them to get feedback on their experience using your product. This will help you determine any changes that should be made, points of emphasis for marketing, etc.

Wrap up
Make notes about what went right and what went wrong with the campaign, what you would do differently in the future, what promotional tactics worked, etc. You can use these ideas in your next campaign.