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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 January 21, 2020

                          How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

                          How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

                          We all have those days when completing our assigned tasks seems beyond reach. With the temptation of social media, mobile games, and the internet in general—not to mention the constant bustle of people in the office—it’s easy to fall prey to disruptions and distractions at work.

                          So, what can we do about it? How to be productive at work?

                          While we don’t have a foolproof system that can completely eliminate disturbances and diversions, we do have 9 ground rules that can be applied to help give your productivity levels a boost.

                          Keep reading to find out our tips on work productivity.

                          What Does It Mean to Be Productive?

                          How to be productive at work?” is the age-old question plaguing employees and employers alike around the world. Regardless of where you work and what you do, everyone is always looking for new ways to be more efficient and effective.

                          But what does being productive actually entail?

                          Completing more tasks on your list or working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being more productive. It just means you’re more busy, and productivity shouldn’t be confused with busyness.

                          Productivity means achieving effective results in as short amount of time as possible, leaving you with more time to enjoy freely.

                          It involves working smarter, not harder. It means refining processes, speeding up workflows, and reducing the chances of interruptions.

                          Productivity is best achieved when looking at your current way of working, identifying the bottlenecks, flaws, and hindrances, and then finding ways to improve.

                          9 Ground Rules on How to Be Productive at Work

                          1. Avoid Multitasking

                          Multitasking can give the impression that more tasks can be accomplished as you’re doing multiple things at once. However, the opposite is true.

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                          Research has shown that attempting to do several things at the same time takes a toll on productivity and that shifting between tasks can cost up to 40 percent of someone’s time.[1] That’s because your focus and concentration is constantly hindered due to having to switch between tasks.

                          If you have a lot of tasks on your plate, determine your priorities and allocate enough time for each task. That way you can work on what’s urgent first and have enough time to complete the rest of your tasks.

                          2. Turn off Notifications

                          According to a Gallup poll, more than 50 percent of US smartphone owners admit to checking their phones a few times an hour.[2]

                          Switching off your phone—or at least your notifications—during work hours is a good way to prevent you from checking your phone all the time.

                          The same applies to your computer. If you have the privilege of accessing social media on your work desktop, switch off the notifications on there.

                          Another good tip is to logout from your social media accounts. Therefore when you feel the urge to check it, you might be swayed because your page isn’t so easily accessible.

                          3. Manage Interruptions

                          There are certain disruptions in the office that are unavoidable such as your manager requesting a quick meeting or your colleague asking for assistance. In order to deal with this, your best approach is to know how to handle interruptions like a pro.

                          Be proactive and inform the people around you of your need to focus. Turn your status on as “busy/unavailable” on your work chat app.

                          If you’re on a deadline, let your colleagues know that you need to concentrate and would really appreciate not being interrupted for the moment, or even work from home if that’s a feasible option for you.

                          By anticipating and having a plan in place to manage them, this will minimize your chances of being affected by interruptions.

                          4. Eat the Frog

                          Mark Twain once famously said that:

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                          “if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

                          What this basically means is that you should get your biggest, most urgent task out of the way first.

                          We all have that big, important task that we don’t want to do but know we have to do because it holds the biggest consequence if we don’t complete it.

                          Eat the frog is a productivity technique that encourages you to do your most important, most undesirable task first. Completing this particular task before anything else will give you a huge sense of accomplishment. It will set the ball rolling for the rest of the day and motivate you to eagerly complete your other tasks.

                          5. Cut Down on Meetings

                          Meetings can use up a lot of time, which is time that can be used to do something useful.

                          You have to wait for everyone to arrive, then after the pleasantries are out of the way, you can finally get stuck into it. And sometimes, it may take a whole hour to iron out one single issue.

                          The alternative? Don’t arrange a meeting at all. You’ll be surprised at how many things can be resolved through an email or a quick phone call.

                          But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate meetings altogether. There are certain circumstances where face-to-face discussions and negotiations are still necessary. Just make sure you weigh up the options prior.

                          If it’s just information sharing, you’re probably better off sending an email; but if brainstorming or in-depth discussion is required, then an in-person meeting would be best.

                          6. Utilize Tools

                          Having the right tools to work with is crucial as you’re only really as good as the resources you have at your disposal. Not only will you be able to complete tasks as efficiently as possible, but they can streamline processes. Said processes are essential to a business as they manage tasks, keep employees connected, and hold important data.

                          If you’re the manager or business owner, ensure your team has the right tools in place.

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                          And if you’re an employee and think the tools you currently have to work with aren’t quite up to par, let your manager know. A good team leader understands the significance of having the right tools and how it can impact employee productivity.

                          Some examples of tools that could be used:

                          Communication
                          • Slack for team chat and collaboration.
                          • Samepage for video conference software.
                          • Zendesk for customer service engagement.
                          Task Management
                          • Zenkit for task and project collaboration.
                          • Wunderlist for listing your to-do’s.
                          • Wekan for an open source option.
                          Database Management
                          Time Tracking
                          • Clockify for a free tracker.
                          • TMetric for workspace integrations.
                          • TimeCamp for attendance and productivity monitoring.

                          You can also take a look at these Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time.

                          7. Declutter and Organize

                          Having a disorganized and cluttered workspace can limit your ability to focus. According to researchers, physical clutter can negatively impact your ability to concentrate and take in information.[3] Which is why keeping your work environment well ordered and clutter-free is important.

                          Ensure you have your own system of organization so you know what to do when the paperwork starts to pile up.

                          Being organized will also ensure that you know where to find the appropriate stationery, tools, or documents when you need it. A US study reveals that the average worker can waste up to one week a year looking for misplaced items.[4]

                          Here’s a useful guide to help you declutter and organize: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

                          8. Take Breaks

                          Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity at work. Working in front of a computer can lead to a sedentary lifestyle which can place you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Even a 30 second microbreak can increase your productivity levels up to 30 percent.

                          As well as your physical health, breaks are also crucial for your mental and emotional wellbeing. That’s because your brain is like a muscle, the more it works without a break, the easier it is for it to get worn out.

                          Ensuring you actually take your breaks can prevent you from suffering from decision fatigue. It can also help boost creativity.

                          Take a look at this article and learn why you should start scheduling time for breaks: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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                          9. Drink Water

                          Although we know we should, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water during the working day.

                          Many of us turn to tea or coffee for the caffeine hit to keep us going. However, like taking breaks, drinking water is essential for maintaining productivity levels at work. It’s simple and effective.

                          Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and also headaches, tiredness, and weight gain.

                          A good tip to avoid dehydration is to keep a water bottle at your desk as it can serve as a reminder to constantly drink water.

                          If you find the taste of water a little bland, add some fruit such as cucumber or lemon to give it a better taste.

                          You can also get more ideas on how to drink more water here: How to Drink More Water (and Why You Should)

                          The Bottom Line

                          The preceding 9 ground rules on work productivity aren’t the be-all, end-all. You and the company you work for may have other tips on how productivity is best increased and maintained.

                          After all, it’s something that can be perceived differently depending on the exact job and work environment.

                          In saying that, however, the 9 ground rules serve as a good foundation for anyone finding themselves succumbing to disruption and distraction, and are looking for ways to overcome them.

                          A good tip to keep in mind is that change doesn’t happen overnight. Start small and be consistent. If you slip up, just dust yourself off and try again.

                          Developing habits happens gradually, so as long as you keep up with it, you’ll soon start to notice the changes you’ve been making and eventually enjoy the fruits of your labor.

                          More About Boosting Productivity

                          Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

                          Reference

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