{Psst! This article is part two of a two-part series. Click here to read the first one.}

Too many business owners take one large, entirely unnecessary risk in their businesses. In the heady rush of creative inspiration, without realising it they forget who they’re creating for.

A business owner or entrepreneur needs to intimately understand their audience. They create new service offerings, new products, new events to serve a want that is clearly defined and requested. They learn what this desire is by listening closely to their ideal clients – whether face-to-face, on social media, in a formal market research-style setting, or via surveys and polls.

So. You’ve figured out what you’re creating. Now how do you minimise your risk further, while increasing the likelihood that your community responds with, “where do I pay?”

Lowering the bar

If you’ve been dreaming, scheming and creating for more than a year and haven’t yet launched (and you’re not a big business with R&D funds to invest and a marketing team), you must lower the bar. Get your head out of the clouds and your feet on the ground.

Way too many business owners postpone their dreams indefinitely because they’ve invested significant thought-space (yes, that’s a my brand new word) into building a monolith in their mind.

Rather than picturing the ten shiny happy faces of your nearest and dearest clients enjoying your brand new thing, you’re busy imagining yourself counting your millions, in creative collaboration with the glamorous, highly sought-after and expensive graphic designer, and instructing your team of assistants and organisers in the grunt work.

Or, you’re struck with stuck, in the vice cold grip of perfectionism. Perhaps the new offering is 99 per cent done, but you’re too scared to launch, endlessly convincing yourself that “just one more thing” needs to be done before you could consider exposing your baby to the harsh light of public scrutiny.

For the love of all things holy, stop! This self-defeating attitude will keep you spinning your wheels forever.

Minimise risk by creative collaboration

It’s time to open up your creative process and get stuck in. First, you need to know if anyone’s really interested in what you’re creating. But, more importantly, you need to find the words to communicate so that people understand – and not only that, but they feel themselves reflected in your words.

The first step is to create a pre-sales page. A pre-sales page is a short-and-sweet summary of your new thing with a form at the bottom, inviting people to sign up if they’re interested. You don’t have to have figured it all out. You do have to press ‘publish’.

And finally, you need to actually promote this page so that people see it and consider whether or not they’re interested in what you’re doing. Start with your ‘most likely’ ideal clients who you know would benefit. Send them a personal email inviting them to be the first to see what you’re working on and register their interest.

Creating your beta test

The next step is to create your beta test with what’s known as a “minimum viable product”. This is the bare essentials of what you’ll be doing – the crème-de-la crème, with none of the decorative parts.

Face-to-face events are fantastic for beta testing because it’s far easier to get verbal and non-verbal feedback from participants. If you’re trialling something radically different or you’re aiming this offering for a brand new target market, it’s highly advantageous to present your content in real life.

Regardless of whether it’s a face-to-face beta test or online, ensure you set expectations up front. Tell people where you’re going with the offering, ensure they realise that you’ll be seeking feedback and asking for testimonials, and let them know what you’re likely going to be charging for the finished offering.

Don’t forget to charge. Charging (less than you’re planning to charge for the full offering) means that participants have some “skin in the game” so they’re more likely to put more in and get more out of it. It also increases the likelihood they’ll give you real constructive criticism rather than niceties because they know you, like you and feel you’re doing them a favour by giving them so much value for free.

What to test

The three basic stages of any test or measurement are the stages of before, during and after. Before is the state your client or prospect is in now: what are they grappling with? What causes them pain, annoyance, discomfort, inconvenience? What wakes them up at 2am? What do they wish could change?

The during stage is the process of what you’re offering. Did you clearly explain to participants what the process was? Did they trust that you knew what you were doing? Did they feel out of their depth or frightened during the process? Was the atmosphere conducive to their progress? Was it slower, quicker, harder, easier, most intense, more light-hearted, more provocative, more confirming than they thought it would be?

The after stage is where you gather evidence of the all-important results that your participants experience. What were their immediate results? What were their results one week/month/quarter/year afterwards? Were their any unexpected byproducts from their results? As a result of working with you, how has their life changed? What does this mean for them?

Communicating your value

The results of your beta test aren’t only for you to refine your ‘thing’ but to better define it. Nobody is going to experience any of its benefits if you can’t clearly explain what it is, what value it offers, and how their lives will change for the better because of it.

Otherwise, nobody will see it, try it, have a fantastic experience, and tell all their friends about it.

Your beta test will give you invaluable insights into how people understand your offering. Record their words. Listen closely – no, even closer. Reflect people’s own words back to them. Acknowledge their pain. Hold your vision strong of how things could be better for them. Record any and all sweet words, compliments and praise. And reflect on these regularly.

Because your enthusiasm in what you’re offering is hugely necessary. And you won’t get this beavering alone in your creation cave, but through real life feedback from real life humans. So launch already.

Communicating your value is part of the three key skills that will accelerate your business growth. Access this free training now.

Business planning

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