Some time ago, when predictive text typing was a “thing” on mobile devices, I had this great idea of adding the exact same features on desktop computers too. Just type in the first few letters, and the computer will make suggestions to help you finish the word. You would type faster and make fewer mistakes. What a great product, right?
I have spent one year creating and polishing the product, building the website for it, and also spent some money to have magazines review the product.
What was the net result of all this effort?
It was exhilarating to build this thing and overcome the tech challenges, but in business terms, it was a disaster. I sold just about three copies of this software.
There is a valuable lesson I learned from this: test your ideas first, before actually building the product and service.
The good news is, in today’s world, you can test your idea for free and with very short setup time. And this post, I will share some tools to get you started.
Social media is the most accessible medium to use and the quickest to get feedback on. Write a post about your idea, and ask for comments. Do you get any engagement? Are there any enthusiastic fans? Does it make sense to start a group around this on Facebook? Before you know it, you have your cohort of fans that will support you in building the “real deal.” And you will also have some precious feedback about how to build your service to serve your audience best.
A free website
Before investing thousands of dollars for a pro website, test it out with a free service.
WordPress.com is a good tool to use. Start with their free plan. WordPress is the one I use the most for myself and my clients.
Wix is another platform that has a free plan. I haven’t used it myself, but I’ve seen it working. If what you need to test out requires you to show some sort of design and less text, then I would go with Wix because of their powerful design editor that is not available in WordPress.
WebFlow is new to the game. It has a free plan, and it is aimed more at designers who what to greate outstanding pages without having to write code. If you are a designer, you will love WebFlow over the other options.
Some important tips to consider
If you do not want to test your idea because you are concerned, someone else might steal it consider these: maybe your idea is not different enough, and that makes it super easy for anyone else to replicate? In which case, you may be better off pursuing a more innovative idea. Also, even if someone “steals” your idea, they don’t have you on the team with your insight, thoughts, and experience. There is a long road from an idea to a mature project :).
From testing to an actual service or product
Regardless of what platform you choose, think about how will you grow if the idea turns out to be viable? You need to be able to export the content you have created for your tests. And it could be images, articles, or the design itself. It is always a good idea to document what you are doing for two reasons: if it has not worked, you will be able to learn something from it. And if it does work, you will have built a library of resources to help you launch the mature website/product/service.