According to Joan Schneider and Julie Hall of HBR, entrepreneurs that seek help with their “revolutionary” products, are whisked away only because these entrepreneurs come up with ideas based on their “gut feel”.
Here’s a fact: more than 90% of startups fail.
Don’t get all hung up terms like “fail fast” and “crash and burn” – not everyone can live like a bum in an underground basement for years to make their businesses work. Some entrepreneurs do, but not everyone can.
We are assuming you, like most, have bills to pay and you need cash to survive. You also can’t actually setup everything first and pray that your business just “clicks” with the world and the tidal wave of sales are imminent.
You are smarter than that.
Smart entrepreneurs validate their ideas. It's an incredibly important part of the process - it helps to know that you're not alone in belief in your idea, and it also gives people you trust to have their input. Without validating your idea, you're effectively running around in the dark... when all those around you want to tell you how to turn on your flashlight, you just need to ask.
This is especially important with Dropshipping validation and Ecommerce in general. Over time, these niches and markets become flooded with ideas that don't work properly, or simply aren't executed efficiently. You can learn from these mistakes quite easily with some research, and make sure your dropshipping validation is executed in a manner that will set you up long term.
With that in mind, here’s are very specific strategies to help with your dropshipping validation, preventing you from making the mistakes or many others before you.
Do your Due Diligence
Ever heard of that carpenter who charges $1000 just for driving a nail into the wall? When asked why he’s so expensive, he says “The $900 is for knowing where to hit and the $100 is for actually hitting on the head of the nail with the hammer”.
That anecdote might be common and it has a strong lesson for you if you are looking to start a dropshipping business.
It doesn’t matter that the Ecommerce industry is growing worldwide. That won’t mean much if your chosen products have demand or not. No one will care what fancy Ecommerce platform you use.
The only thing that matters is just how deep you go with your due diligence.
How focused and intense is your research? How well do you know your market, your chosen products, the way you intend to promote your business, and your resultant margins? Do you know the cost of acquiring your customers? How much more does it take to keep your customers loyal to you? All these questions are but a small part of dropshipping validation, but a very important start to the process.
Get the facts. Dig into the details. Know the numbers.
Spend $50 & Let the Market complete your Dropshipping validation
Today, you have various channels and platforms available for you to do paid advertising (and because you can start and stop your campaigns anytime) such as Google AdWords and Facebook Advertising. This is an incredible and potentially very thorough way to start dropshipping validation.
Create a single landing page to test market demand for your products, setup a campaign targeting the specific geographic market you want to target, and let the campaign run. Spend no more than $50 to $100 (spend as much as required to get enough data).
When you do this right, you’ll let complete cold strangers take notice and they might show interest.
If they do, you know your idea is valid. If not, repeat this process with another product idea. While it does cost a little bit each time, you're effectively allowing the market itself to be part of your dropshipping validation process, giving you a true sense of whether it's a worthwhile concept.
Pick popular niches & do better than your competition
Sometimes you don’t even need to go through the full extent of dropshipping validation for your business idea. What if you could pick products that are already in demand? Popular dropshipping advice usually goes like this:
“Ignore popular niches. Target specific niches” – yes, you can. The problem is that it's difficult to make sure you don’t go too niche, so that you ultimately suffer from a lack of volume.
“You can’t compete in some niches. Don’t bother” – that’s a lie. You can make money off any niche if you are prepared to be creative about how you position, price, and bundle products.
Let’s consider an example product niche: electronics.
We all know that electronic gadgets are always in demand. But because most people are not willing to put in the work needed to position products the right way, they end up with “price wars”.
You can do better than that. Take an already popular niche (a product category you know makes money already) and add on other related products to the mix. Or maybe add a service component to the product (like Apple ads an extended warranty to their products).
When you think about it, you’d never have to compete on prices if you position your products right. That's the case with many businesses though, so it's clearly not as easy as it seems. One things is for sure though, Dropshipping validation is an essential part of the process if you're looking to avoid common pitfalls in this industry.
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Also published on Medium.