Test the waters without breaking the bank

You have an idea, now what?  Find out if there is a market opportunity for your product/service.

Create a scaled-down version of your product/service and see if anyone bites.  If not, then you may have chosen the wrong parts of your product/service to start with.

To figure out demand for new features, list potential product/service features on your website to track how many click on it.  It doesn’t have to be implemented yet.  You can provide more information about it.  You can do the same thing with pricing.  Use different pricing options and see which option gets the most clicks.

Record a video demo of your product using Jing (free) then share and get feedback.

Attend a hackathon and pitch your idea.  If no one wants to work on you idea, either your pitch sucks or your idea sucks.

Do cheap market research.  You can do online surveys, indepth 1×1 interviews, or group interviews.  Offer a drawing for a prize to get more people.

Buy Google AdWords to see what words resonates more with your potential customer.  See if particular AdWords get more traffic to your website than other AdWords.

Offer your products/services for free to your target market like at a meetup or yahoo group or at an event.  See if you get a growing interest for your product/service and leverage their expertise to influence your product/service.

Incorporate or form an LLC and then hire interns.  Be sure to pay attention to the state laws of having paid/non-paid interns.  Also, find MBA students who want to do case analysis on your business idea.

Some realworld examples of testing the market on the cheap taken from this article.

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