Secret File #012: Beta Test Your Idea

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The only way to know if there's demand for your business idea is to test it out. Placing your product or service to your target customers or clients will really help you determine if you should continue or tweak your idea.

This concept is a favoured one amongst many startups because you wouldn't be wasting resources working on something that nobody wants. Listen to this episode as I share with you the exact steps I took to beta test my handmade stationery business and our signature service, Brandstory.

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Listen to all the episodes from Raising Capital Series:

  1. Part 1 - How Much Capital Should I Raise

  2. Part 2 - Change Your Lifestyle

  3. Part 3 - Live For Less

  4. Part 4 - Bootstrapping Your Business

  5. Part 5 - Beta Test Your Ideas

Listen to the Episode below:

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In this episode, you'll hear about:

  1. Creating pre-orders for your product-based business

  2. Offering introductory price for your service-based business

  3. Key things to note in your e-Commerce business

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What do you think?

I'd love to know what you think of this episode. Did you find this series on raising capital helpful? What are some of the things you'd like to implement to your new business? Share with me in the comments below!

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Welcome to Fempreneur Secrets where business secrets are revealed.

We've come pretty much to the end of the five-part series on how to raise capital for your business.

So in this final part, number five, we are talking about creating pre-orders for your business, even if it is a service-based business.

So tune in because this is going to get really interesting.

Launch your business with pre-orders to your loyal followers.

Of course this there something pretty much impossible if you are really starting out your business and you do not already have loyal followers, but I need to remind you that you have friends, and on your own social media you already have some followers.

This is a common misconception, a lot of people think that when they're starting out their business, they have no one supporting them. This is not entirely true.

The people who will always support your business first tends to be the people closest to you.

They happen to be your family and friends, even if they don't need it, they will do their best to support you. And if they cannot purchase, they will be more than happy to share and tell other people about what you do.

I've done this so many times, so I will be able to tell you that it actually works.

Offering pre-orders for your business really helps, especially when it comes to at a time where you have to decide how much quantity of products do you need to bring in before you actually ship the items into your office.

And it also helps service-based business to know whether or not the service that they're offering is gathering enough attention.

So for service-based business, go through your contacts and ask them if they'd be willing to engage your service at a low rate to build your portfolio.

It honestly sucks at first, but it will help you get bookings.

So when I first started what was my signature offering, I was offering the exact package that I want that to offer at a full price — only that I offered it at a 75% discounted rate.

As part of my introductory offer, I made it really interesting.

I only offered the services and the packages for the first 20 clients who signed up. So if the numbers go beyond the 20, then you would have to pay the full price. So of course, because of the scarcity in place, there was a higher demand and it moved off really fast.

Not only that — I told my family about this same thing as well, and they recommended a real estate agent to us. So with their recommendation, this real estate agent immediately paid upfront in fullfor the service package that we were offering.

Now, if you are in the product based business, think about this: consider doing a Kickstarter crowdfunding of any form or if you would like to, you could also consider putting your products up on sale by mentioning that it is up for pre-order.

Products will only be disbursed on a certain date, but on your end you have to honour that date.

So let's say that it takes three to four weeks for the production to be completed. It takes an additional two to three weeks for it to be shipped to your location. So that means it takes up to a total of six to seven weeks for the products to reach your clients hence, you will need to add at least one to two weeks buffer time so that it ensures a smooth process for your business.

People hate it when what has been promised has not been delivered, especially when it comes to product based business.

If you are really doing pre-orders, please make it clear to your customers from the very beginning that this is a pre-order and it will take up to 8 weeks for it to be delivered straight to the client's address. Make it clear for them because this ensures that you have smooth communication with them.

When you are able to communicate with them honestly and authentically telling them the truth from the very beginning, keeping them in the loop, in the process, it makes them feel good.

It makes them feel that you are someone that they can trust, and because of that trust they will come back, and that is the most important thing that you would want for a product based business.

So we've tried this before for a few of our clients in the eCommerce space.

Even for myself when I was doing my handmade stationery business, we did the same thing.

Our business was based on pre-orders and it has always been based on pre-orders, so if you wanted a specific design, we have customization of your name onto the stationery itself. It will take up to one week for it to be produced and then another three to five days to issue depending on where you are located.

While we adhere to make sure that all the products and orders will be delivered in a timely and prompt manner, those things like the postal service speed is not something we can control. So when you put this disclaimer clearly on your orders and making sure that your customers understand what they have just purchased, it makes your business seem professional because you put their needs above anyone else's.

If you are starting out in a product based business, and this is the first time that you are ordering your products, it will be a good gesture for you to keep everyone who ordered in the loop. Tell them that their products will be served to them once it reaches your warehouse, or once it reaches your office.

And one more thing, when you are dealing with online purchases, it is critical for you to have an SSL certificate or use someone who is offering those services like Shopify.

Starting out with Shopify really helps lift off the headache of having to figure out security and even to the littlest of things like making sure that your privacy policy is correct.

Pay a little bit for your eCommerce platform, but it helps you go a long way.

But the thing here that I wanted to stress on is that this strategy is a way for you to recognize whether or not you are on the right track, and whether or not what you are offering is really what people need.

So creating pre-orders or allowing for your services to be offered at pre-order or introductory pricing, really helps your business — especially if you are really to own some initial losses so that you can have a better portfolio and eventually get higher performing clients.

So that pretty much sums up the five-part series on how to raise capital for your business. I'm so happy to be able to cover these simple tips on how to raise capital for your business, including strategies on how to make it work.

Keep learning and keep believing in yourself because the world needs an inspiration just like you.

I'll see you in the next episode of Fempreneur Secrets.

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Hello, My name is Huda. It means guidancein Arabic. I help women entrepreneurs uncover secrets in business, branding & marketing knowledge. I host my own podcast show, Fempreneur Secrets. I also educate and support women entrepreneurs who are looking to launch and grow their business. Listen and Subscribe at www.FempreneurSecrets.com

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