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10 Ways to Validate Great Startup Ideas

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10 Ways to Validate Great Startup Ideas

Do you often have great ideas for a startup business, but then second-guess them? Being an entrepreneur, it is quite common to experience self-doubt, especially when you are just starting out. So how would you really figure out if your idea is worth the risk? What are ways in which you can validate your great business ideas? Here 10 tips to to get you started:

1. Research

Whenever beginning anything, especially a startup, make sure that you do your research well. Researching will certainly turn out to be one of your best friends. Consider various facets of your business, from your competitors to the requirements of the market. If you cannot handle this on your own, then consider hiring an agency that specializes in research.

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2. Talk to Peers

Keeping your idea a best-kept secret could turn out to be poisonous to your startup. Perhaps it is essential to measure whether your ideas are realistic or merely a soon-to-burst bubble. Here, conveying your ideas to peers would be of great benefit to you. It can provide you with different perceptions and insights that enhance your original ideas.

3. Perform Random Questioning

Once you talk to your peers and gauge their input do not stop there. It is suggested to strike up conversations with random strangers assuming them to be your target audience, then convey your ideas to them. Communicating your ideas to strangers from a plethora of backgrounds definitely gives you a broader perspective and figuratively view your ideas from a 360-degree angle.

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4. Study Your Market

Do not sit in your cubicle and cook the ideas, instead get yourself right in the market and study it. Enlarge your network and attempt to analyze the demand of the market. Check to see if your idea is already executed and also check the scopes of improvisation of your idea. It is integral to scrutinize your idea meticulously.

5. Assess the Problem

Always account for the problem that your startup is going to solve. If you examine that there is no problem that your startup idea is going to solve then you probably want to rethink your direction. Any startup gains momentum when it is capable enough to solve one or more problems.

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6. Test it

If you have invested your energy and time into the development of a particular idea, try testing it on a small group. Perhaps you can create a website and analyze the traffic generation alongside the feedback. This would act like a pilot survey with critical feedback that is essential for any business.

7. Supply and Demand

It is important for you to understand if the solution your startup addresses is really in demand or not. Perhaps your idea sounds brilliant but is it really the solution that is in demand? Or are there already existing alternatives? Think about it in detail. If the demand is low and you can’t even create it then there is no point in going ahead with the idea.

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8. Investment

No startup can flourish without investing capital in it. Evaluating your idea based on the investment required is also vital in many senses. Once you decide the amount required to invest in things like land and workforce, you need to calculate the return on investment as well. Your startup idea is worth your resources only if you can find the return on investment exceeding the amount that you have invested.

9. Be Futuristic in Your Approach

Perhaps presently your idea looks brilliant and workable but what about five years from now? When it comes to creating an organization, your views and perceptions are required to be futuristic. Make long-term plans, not just short-term ones. One of the best examples to think of here could be the evolution of e-commerce, dating applications, online booking applications, and so on.

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10. Right Place and Right Time

Your idea is absolutely useless if it fails to strike at the right place and right time. The right place and time play a crucial role when it comes to the success of the idea. Perhaps your idea is great and worth a million dollars, but if it is launched and targeted to the customer at the wrong time, then the chances of it being a sensational hit are almost negligible.

Featured photo credit: Know Startup via knowstartup.com

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Last Updated on August 25, 2021

Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

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Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

As a recruiter, I have met and interviewed hundreds of candidates who have no idea who they are.

Without a personal brand, candidates struggle to answer the question: “tell me about yourself—who are you?” They have no idea about who they are, what their strengths are, and how they can add value to the company. They present their CV’s believing that their CV is the key to their career success. In some ways, your CV still has its use. However, in today’s job market, you need more than a CV to stand out in a crowd.

According to Celinne Da Costa:[1]

“Personal brand is essentially your golden ticket to networking with the right people, getting hired for a dream job, or building an influential business.” She believes that “a strong personal brand allows you to stand out in an oversaturated marketplace by exposing desired audiences to your vision, skillset, and personality in a way that is strategically aligned with your career goals.”

A personal brand opens up your world to so many more career opportunities that you would never have been exposed to with just your CV.

What Is Your Personal Brand?

“Personal branding is how you distinctively market your uniqueness.” —Bernard Kelvin Clive

Today, the job market is very competitive and tough. Having a great CV will only let you go so far because everyone has a CV, but no one else has your distinct personal brand! It is your personal brand that differentiates you from everyone else and that is what people buy—you.

Your personal brand is your mark on the world. It is how people you interact with and the world see you. It is your legacy—it is more important than a business brand because your personal brand lasts forever.

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I have coached people who have very successful careers, and they come to me because they have suddenly found that they are not getting the opportunities or having the conversations that would them to their next role. They are having what I call a “career meltdown,” all because they have no personal brand.

A personal brand helps you become conscious of your differences and your uniqueness. It allows you to position yourself in a way that makes you stand out from the pack, especially among other potential job applicants.

Don’t get me wrong, having a great CV and a great LinkedIn profile is important. However, there are a few steps that you have to take to have a CV and LinkedIn profile that is aligned to who you are, the value you offer to the market, and the personal guarantee that you deliver results.

Building your personal brand is about strategically, creatively, and professionally presenting what makes you, you. Knowing who you are and the value you bring to the table enables you to be more informed, agile, and adaptable to the changing dynamic world of work. This is how you can avoid having a series of career meltdowns.

Your Personal Brand Is Essential for Your Career Success

In her article, Why Personal Branding Is More Important Than Ever, Caroline Castrillon outlines key reasons why a personal brand is essential for career success.

According to Castrillon,[2]

“One reason is that it is more popular for recruiters to use social media during the interview process. According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, and 43% of employers use social media to check on current employees.”

The first thing I do as a recruiter when I want to check out a candidate or coaching client is to look them up on LinkedIn or other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Your digital footprint is the window that highlights to the world who you are. When you have no control over how you want to be seen, you are making a big mistake because you are leaving it up to someone else to make a judgment for you as to who you are.

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As Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, once said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”

In her book, Becoming, Michelle Obama writes about the importance of having a personal brand and her journey to defining her personal brand. She wrote that:

“if you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others.”

When you have a personal brand, you are in control. You know exactly what people will say about you when you leave the room.

The magic of a personal brand is that gives you control over how you want to be seen in the world. Your confidence and self-belief enable you to leverage opportunities and make informed decisions about your career and your future. You no longer experience the frustrations of a career meltdown or being at a crossroads not knowing what to do next with your career or your life. With a personal brand, you have focus, clarity, and a strategy to move forward toward future success.

Creating your personal brand does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of work and self-reflection. You will be expected to step outside of your comfort zone not once, but many times.

The good news is that the more time you spend outside of your comfort zone, the more you will like being there. Being outside of your comfort zone is where you can test the viability of and fine-tune your personal brand.

5 Key Steps to Creating Your Personal Brand

These five steps will help you create a personal brand that will deliver you the results you desire with your career and in life.

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1. Set Your Personal Goals

What is it that you want to do in the next five years? What will your future self be doing in the next five to ten years? What is important to you? If you can answer these questions, then you are on the right path. If not, then you have to start thinking about them.

2. Create Your Unique Value Proposition

Create your unique value proposition by asking yourself these four questions:

  1. What are your personality features? What benefit do you offer people?
  2. Who are you and why do people enjoy working with you?
  3. What do you do and what do people want you to do for them? How do you solve their problems?
  4. What makes you different from others like you?

The answers to these questions will give you the information you need to create your professional story, which is the key step to creating your personal brand.

3. Write Your Professional Story

Knowing who you are, what you want, and the unique value you offer is essential to you creating your professional story. People remember stories. Your personal story incorporates your value proposition and tells people who you are and what makes you unique. This is what people will remember about you.

4. Determine Which Platforms Will Support Your Personal Brand

Decide which social media accounts and online platforms will best represent your brand and allow you to share your voice. In a professional capacity, having a LinkedIn profile and a CV that reflects your brand is key to your positioning in relation to role opportunities. People will be connecting with you because they will like the story you are telling.

5. Become Recognized for Sharing Your Knowledge and Expertise

A great way for you to promote yourself is by sharing knowledge and helping others. This is where you prove you know your stuff and you gain exposure for doing so. You can do this through social media, writing, commenting, video, joining professional groups, networking, etc. Find your own style and uniqueness and use it to attract clients, the opportunities, or the jobs you desire.

The importance of having a personal brand is not going to go away. In fact, it is the only way where you can stand out and be unique in a complex changing world of work. If you don’t have a personal brand, someone will do it for you. If you let this happen, you have no control and you may not like the story they create.

Standing out from others takes time and investment. Most people cannot make the change by themselves, and this is where engaging a personal brand coach is a viable option to consider.

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As a personal brand coach, working with my clients to create their personal brand is my passion. I love the fact that we can work together to create a personal story that defines exactly what people will say when you leave the room.

Other People’s Stories

Listening to other people’s stories is a great way to learn. In his article, 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding, Rafael Dos Santos presents the best Ted Talks where speakers share their stories about the “why,” “what,” and “how” of personal branding.((GuidedPR: 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding))

Take some time out to listen to these speakers sharing their stories and thoughts about personal branding. You will definitely learn so much about how you can start your journey of defining yourself and taking control of your professional and personal life.

Your personal brand, without a doubt, is your secret weapon to your career success. As Michelle Obama said,

“your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.”

So, go own your story. Go on the journey to create your personal brand that defines who you are, highlights your uniqueness, and the value you offer to the world.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

Reference

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