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How to Test Your Business Idea Without Spending a Dime

How to Test Your Business Idea Without Spending a Dime

So, you have an amazing idea for a new small business? You are sure that your idea is going to be the “next big thing” but not that sure you should start investing money (…and time) in it?

Well, why don’t you test your idea first? That way you will be sure that your product has an actual market and that it is worth investing in. Yes, you can test almost any idea you have for FREE.

On the other hand, you can always choose to “play safe” and start a blog in a popular niche, open an e-shop with already selling  items…but is that really going to make YOU successful? Is YOUR business really going to survive among all the competition? Not quite sure about that.

Let’s get back to developing, testing and improving new business ideas. After all, you are reading Lifehack!  Just follow the steps bellow:

…before you start:

In order to become a successful entrepreneur, you must first think like one. Yes, you may have heard the phrase “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it” a dozen times, and it certainly has a point. Before testing a business idea successfully, you really must act (and believe) as if it has already been established.

    Step 1: Create a Landing Page:

    Now that you have (an imaginary) business, it is time to get it in front of your (real) audience. And when it comes to customer acquisition, nothing beats the Internet! First things first, create a landing page for free.

    With so many free options out there, you certainly don’t need to spend money on creating a landing page. Try out ucraft’s Free Landing Page Creator and play a bit with different font styles, colors, taglines and images. This page builder has all the features you may need and doesn’t require coding skills at all (what a relief, right?!). You just need to drag & drop, mix & match.

      There is no need to spend too much time building a landing page, the point is to make a few different ones and see how your target audience will react. Afterwards, you’ll be able to combine elements till you find the perfect solution.

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      As mentioned, there are quite a few things you should test on a landing page: start with a template, focus on a catchy text and finish by creating several CTA buttons. When you find a combination with a decent amount of conversions (or at least clicks), you can focus on details such as the tagline, font styles and colors, effects, image sliders etc. Don’t underestimate these so-called “details” – you won’t believe how big of a difference they can make!

            Here are some examples and results of landing page A/B testing, so you can get the idea of how important it is to try out different combinations of:

            …icons

              …CTA buttons

                …anchoring words

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                  …recommending

                    …smaller commitments

                      As you can see, you should really test EVERYTHING, depending on the look of your landing page.

                      Oh right, how to actually test all those landing pages? Don’t worry, it is also very easy and FREE.

                      Sign up with Optimizely for a free trial and start improving elements to get more conversions! You’ll just need to add one line of code to your site and you’re ready to work on your creativity. Don’t forget to keep monitoring what others have to say about it (…I mean, if they actually click the CTA button.)

                        Now that you’ve built a landing page good enough for your brilliant idea, keep testing to see if it’s that brilliant.

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                        Step 2: Get Some Traffic!

                        Well, people won’t find your business by themselves! Yes, a landing page is the first step to take, but now is the time to work on getting traffic to it.

                        Here are 10 basic ways to do it for FREE:

                        • Create a Facebook Page:

                        Facebook has become such a mighty acquisition channel that it is almost impossible for a business not to have an official Facebook page. Ensure yours has high-quality images and graphics (use Canva or Designbold for this purpose), all needed contact information and don’t forget to post regularly. Make sure not all of your posts have a “sales tone”, you should try to manage your page in a way that would be appealing to your potential customers, so add a “how-to” or an “interesting fact” post from time to time.

                        • Create an Instagram Account:

                        An official Instagram page is also a must, regardless of your niche. Include necessary info in the Bio section, but also don’t forget to add a brief description and relevant hashtags under your images. The advantage that Instagram has over Facebook is that you can manually find people who are following accounts similar to yours and try to make them follow you back. That way, you can build your (relevant) audience without spending a dime.

                        • Create a Twitter account:

                        When it comes to promoting your business on social media, Twitter should also be your go-to place (there are more, but depending on the niche, you’ll chose the right ones). You can also manually follow other people, but you really need to actively tweet in order to keep your followers’ attention. Ah, yes, don’t forget to mention your landing page in the Bio section, that’s the point, right?

                        • Be Active on Quora:

                        Now you are probably thinking: one more social media channel? Well, using Quora for business is quite different. Yes, you should create a profile (but not an official one, just pick a name) and try to answer as many niche-related questions as possible. The idea is to show how your business/landing page is the right answer and of course, to link back to it.

                        • Be Active on Reddit:

                        The Quora tactic applies to Reddit as well. The thing is that the community over there is really picky, so if your profile isn’t strong enough or if you are an obvious spammer, you will get banned in no time. Both on Quora and Reddit, you can read comments from real people that can help you improve your (landing page) business.

                        • Create a SlideShare Account:

                        Prepare well-designed presentations about your business and upload them to SlideShare in order to reach broader audiences. Having doubts? Well, did you know that it is powered by LinkedIn?

                        • Brag on Medium:

                        A little PR never hurt nobody, right? Join Medium and spread your business values and vision. Since this is a community that attracts mostly journalists and bloggers, make sure you “wrap it up’’ in a catchy article.

                        • Join and Create Groups:

                        From Facebook to LinkedIn and Google+,  groups have a strong impact on members’ opinion. Join groups relevant to your niche, comment, share opinion and let them know about your business. But, you should really, really avoid spammy posts since there is no point in getting banned. Moreover, create your own group and attract members who would be interested in your business. You can show off, but you should also engage in conversation and ask for opinion and advice.

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                        • Create an Infographic:

                        Creating an infographic about your business is one of the ways you can gain good backlinks to your landing page. However, you shouldn’t be creating them just for SEO purposes. For instance, imagine if it got shared by a big niche influencer? That’d be cool. Just be creative and do your outreach homework thoroughly! Don’t forget to add “created by (insert your company name)”! You can use Vengage or similar tools to create infographics for free.

                        • Join H.A.R.O.

                        H.A.R.O. is a place where you can meet people from your niche, exchange advice, but also get featured on their blogs. So, create a profile, write about your business and gather useful information on both improving and promoting it.

                        Now that you’ve completed all the basic promotion steps, it is time to take it to the next, more advanced level:

                        • SaaSGenius – If you have a SaaS business, this is the directory to submit it to. SaasGenius can bring you high-quality customers, so do your best to build a powerful profile.
                        • GetApp  – This is the ideal place to promote your business app, so don’t skip it!
                        • Hackernews – You need to promote your tech business on this website. Make sure your headlines are catchy since new posts are published almost every minute!
                        • Growthhackers.com – This is a community you’ll want to join if you are into marketing. Show how professional you are!
                        • Inbound.org – The same goes for this community, just make sure you present yourself in the best light.
                        • Digg – This is a great place to present your company blog. Start promoting your landing page in the best possible way.
                        • Dailymotion – Creating promotional videos about your business is always a good idea. Harness the power of Dailymotion and present your videos to a large community.
                        • Hub Pages  – This platform can bring you a lot of amazing leads, but you really need to put some effort into creating original content. Even though promoting your business here is time-consuming, you should take advantage of Hub Pages.

                        Step 3: Face the Truth!

                        Well, now that you’ve done everything to gain attention, you should sit back and see what happens: tons of leads…or zero of them. Of course, it can be something in between and that means that you should keep trying, improving and testing.

                        If zero leads isn’t the case with your landing page, now is the best time to start thinking about investing money in your business and promoting it through paid campaigns. You’ll have to test them as well (…but let’s leave this for another article).

                          Whatever the case may be, remember that massive success doesn’t come overnight and that it goes hand in hand with effort, patience and guess what else? Yes, that’s right, testing.

                          Believe in yourself and good luck!

                          Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

                          More by this author

                          Ana Grasic

                          Growth Hacker, Economist, Marketer

                          10 Lessons from a Frustrated Blogger 10 Hacks and Tools to Boost Your Productivity (Infographic) How to Test Your Business Idea Without Spending a Dime

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                          Last Updated on October 13, 2020

                          How to Get Promoted When You Feel Stuck in Your Current Position

                          How to Get Promoted When You Feel Stuck in Your Current Position

                          Have you been stuck in the same position for too long and don’t really know how to get promoted and advance your career?

                          Feeling stuck could be caused by a variety of things:

                          • Taking a job for the money
                          • Staying with an employer that no longer aligns with your values
                          • Realizing that you landed yourself in the wrong career
                          • Not feeling valued or feeling underutilized
                          • Taking a position without a full understanding of the role

                          There are many other reasons why you may be feeling this way, but let’s focus instead on learning what to do now in order to get unstuck and get promoted

                          One of the best ways to get promoted is by showing how you add value to your organization. Did you make money, save money, improve a process, or do some other amazing thing? How else might you demonstrate added value?

                          Let’s dive right in to how to get promoted when you feel stuck in your current position.

                          1. Be a Mentor

                          When I supervised students, I used to warm them — tongue in cheek, of course — about getting really good at their job.

                          “Be careful not to get too good at this, or you’ll never get to do anything else.”

                          This was my way of pestering them to take on additional challenges or think outside the box, but there is definitely some truth in doing something so well that your manager doesn’t trust anyone else to do it.

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                          This can get you stuck.

                          Jo Miller of Be Leaderly shares this insight on when your boss thinks you’re too valuable in your current job:

                          “Think back to a time when you really enjoyed your current role…You became known for doing your job so well that you built up some strong ‘personal brand’ equity, and people know you as the go-to-person for this particular job. That’s what we call ‘a good problem to have’: you did a really good job of building a positive perception about your suitability for the role, but you may have done ‘too’ good of a job!”[1]

                          With this in mind, how do you prove to your employer that you can add value by being promoted?

                          From Miller’s insight, she talks about building your personal brand and becoming known for doing a particular job well. So how can you link that work with a position or project that will earn you a promotion?

                          Consider leveraging your strengths and skills.

                          Let’s say that the project you do so well is hiring and training new entry-level employees. You have to post the job listing, read and review resumes, schedule interviews, make hiring decisions, and create the training schedules. These tasks require skills such as employee relations, onboarding, human resources software, performance management, teamwork, collaboration, customer service, and project management. That’s a serious amount of skills!

                          Are there any team members who can perform these skills? Try delegating and training some of your staff or colleagues to learn your job. There are a number of reasons why this is a good idea:

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                          1. Cross-training helps in any situation in the event that there’s an extended illness and the main performer of a certain task is out for a while.
                          2. As a mentor to a supervisee or colleague, you empower them to increase their job skills.
                          3. You are already beginning to demonstrate that added value to your employer by encouraging your team or peers to learn your job and creating team players.

                          Now that you’ve trained others to do that work for which you have been so valued, you can see about re-requesting that promotion. Explain how you have saved the company money, encouraged employees to increase their skills, or reinvented that project of yours.

                          2. Work on Your Mindset

                          Another reason you may feel stuck in a position is explained through this quote:

                          “If you feel stuck at a job you used to love, it’s normally you—not the job—who needs to change. The position you got hired for is probably the exact same one you have now. But if you start to dread the work routine, you’re going to focus on the negatives.”[2]

                          In this situation, you should pursue a conversation with your supervisor and share your thoughts and feelings to help you learn how to get promoted. You can probably get some advice on how to rediscover the aspects of that job you enjoyed, and negotiate either some additional duties or a chance to move up.

                          Don’t express frustration. Express a desire for more.

                          Present your case and show your boss or supervisor that you want to be challenged, and you want to move up. You want more responsibility in order to continue moving the company forward. Focus on how you can do that with the skills you have and the positive mindset you’ve cultivated.

                          3. Improve Your Soft Skills

                          When was the last time you put focus and effort into upping your game with those soft skills? I’m talking about those seemingly intangible things that make you the experienced professional in your specific job skills[3].

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                          Use soft skills when learning how to get promoted.

                            According to research, improving soft skills can boost productivity and retention 12 percent and deliver a 250 percent return on investment based on higher productivity and retention[4]. Those are only some of the benefits for both you and your employer when you want to learn how to get promoted.

                            You can hone these skills and increase your chances of promotion into a leadership role by taking courses or seminars.

                            Furthermore, you don’t necessarily need to request funding from your supervisor. There are dozens of online courses being presented by entrepreneurs and authors about these very subjects. Udemy and Creative Live both feature online courses at very reasonable prices. And some come with completion certificates for your portfolio!

                            Another way to improve your soft skills is by connecting with an employee at your organization who has a position similar to the one you want.

                            Express your desire to move up in the organization, and ask to shadow that person or see if you can sit in on some of their meetings. Offer to take that individual out for coffee and ask what their secret is! Take copious notes, and then immerse yourself in the learning.

                            The key here is not to copy your new mentor. Rather, you want to observe, learn, and then adapt according to your strengths.

                            4. Develop Your Strategy

                            Do you even know specifically why you want to learn how to get promoted? Do you see a future at this company? Do you have a one-year, five-year, or ten-year plan for your career path? How often do you consider your “why” and insure that it aligns with your “what”?

                            Sit down and make an old-fashioned pro and con list.

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                            Write down every positive aspect of your current job and then every negative one. Which list is longer? Are there any themes present?

                            Look at your lists and choose the most exciting pros and the most frustrating cons. Do those two pros make the cons worth it? If you can’t answer that question with a “yes,” then getting promoted at your current organization may not be what you really want[5].

                            The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. —Mark Twain

                            Here are some questions to ask yourself:

                            • Why do you do what you do?
                            • What thrills you about your current job role or career?
                            • What does a great day look like?
                            • What does success look and feel like beyond the paycheck?
                            • How do you want to feel about your impact on the world when you retire?

                            Define success to get promoted

                              These questions would be great to reflect on in a journal or with your supervisor in your next one-on-one meeting. Or, bring it up with one of your work friends over coffee.

                              Final Thoughts

                              After considering all of these points and doing your best to learn how to get promoted, what you might find is that being stuck is your choice. Then, you can set yourself on the path of moving up where you are, or moving on to something different.

                              Because sometimes the real promotion is finding your life’s purpose.

                              More Tips on How to Get Promoted

                              Featured photo credit: Razvan Chisu via unsplash.com

                              Reference

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