How to test startup business idea without product

Have an idea for a new startup or want to grow your business with a new product? Learn how to cheaply test your startup business concept and get evidence and traction without actually needing a team and building a real product.



7/15/2021 4 min read

It's a natural thing to do to seek for a development agency or look for a CTO or hire a developer whenever you want to build a website or launch a new startup.

But before you will invest so much time and money in doing so, ask yourself next three questions:

1) Who am I going to sell to and can I close a deal?
2) Do I have target audience of total strangers who don't care about me and who will be potential customers already or is it 0 and I will have to do marketing from scratch as well?
3) What end goal am I trying to achieve with new startup or product? Is it to sell physical products, course online? Is it to grow and exit? Is it to build a new innovative technology or standard features might be enough?

Having some friends or people you know liking your idea or already using your prototype or service is nothing. Apart from testing your new startup from functional perspective and seeing if you can build it, you also need to test if you can a) attract strangers who don't know you and don't care about you and b) sell and close a deal.

Some founders can sell but can't build.

Some can build but can't sell.

Some can market, but can't sell.

You have to do all three and you have to test each new concept with can you market it, is it something people want, can you sell it, and can you actually build it?

If you are not aware how basic sales, marketing and funnels work, let's use basic funnel (customer's journey) where user visits your home page, then clicks on sign up button, then uses main feature of your product and then makes an online order as an example.

So, you will have to start from marketing and sales no matter what.

And your future customers will have to go though entire funnel and customer journey every time, which means they can not checkout without main feature or product page, they can't access this feature without signing up and they can't sign up without a home page and home page is unknown to the world until it is promoted on Google and social networks like Facebook, Instagram for B2C/D2C and LinkedIn for B2B.

It makes sense, doesn't it?

Also the way funnels work is that people drop-off at each step, meaning that you might have 100 people visited your home page, then only 20 people signed up and only 1 person purchased your product or subscribed to your SaaS.

Which brings us at the end to a situation where majority of people will never even try to go further and will never even see and use your so many beautiful features, animations, cool, fun stuff you want to build.

And you want to save money, risk less, don't you? You want to learn as much as possible by investing as little as possible in order to build a profitable business as soon as possible.

So now ask yourself a question, if I would need a basic landing page anyway in order for people to click main CTA (call-to-action) button and they don't know that I don't have anything further down the road and statistically speaking most of them won't even go there, maybe I could simply start by building my new startup using funnel steps as a milestones in a roadmap and maybe I could just build a landing page to see if I could force strangers to leave their emails to me in order for me to reach out to them and learn more about their needs and close?

"Pirate metrics" and pirate funnel come from AARRR acronym and is a most common framework used by top product leaders and companies, because it is general and industry-independent.

If you want to learn more or need help with testing your new business ideas for each one of viability (can you sell?), desirability (can you market, do people want it?), and feasibility (can you actually build entire product well?) and also crafting winning strategies years ahead with minimum amount of investment, risk and maximizing ROI, then click the button bellow to go to contact page and reach out to me using your preferred method, and all that with guaranteed results.

"If you don't have sales, you don't have a business. You have a hobby or a charity."

That way you will be testing all 3 questions from the top of this story, marketing, sales and building for your end-goal at the same time. And all that doesn't require much resources, doesn't it?

This is called "fake door test" or "smoke test" and is most common way greatest product leaders and marketers use to not only test new ideas, but also test different options, offerings, pricing using A/B tests with nothing more than just a couple of landing pages.

The goal of the landing page is to convert and build your own LIST.

LIST means list of your potential users you could do UX research with and eventually who will become your customers. It could be simply Google Spreadsheet with emails, it could be database/table in Notion, it could be HubSpot CRM or anything else.

What matters is that you understand the "essence of the business", which is in close, warm relationships, in a network, in that LIST you either have or don't have.

Without a LIST and a machine which successfully attracts new strangers and adds them into this LIST, everything else is totally worthless. You might invest hundreds of thousands of dollars, but without a LIST, it is just another hobby.

If you don't have sales, you don't have a business. You have a hobby or a charity.

You can use many landing pages / website builders and marketing automation tools to build landing pages and A/B test with Google Analytics, Tag Manager, Data Studio.

"I could simply start by building my new startup using funnel steps as a milestones in a roadmap"