Three in five Americans (61 percent) have had an idea for starting a business, yet 92 percent never turned their idea into reality.
We won’t let this be you.
Turning your idea into reality doesn’t have to be time-consuming or expensive. In less than 24 hours, you can launch a basic version of your idea for less than $40, test it, then decide whether to scale.
Here’s how to do it.
Get Clear on Your Idea
You’ve likely got an idea, and it’s time to put that idea on paper.
Entrepreneurs are notorious for overthinking. But at this stage of the process, don’t be concerned with getting your idea crystal clear. As long as it’s 70 percent clear, move forward.
Tip: Know Whether Your Idea is a Vitamin or a Painkiller.
Vitamins are a “nice-to-have.” Painkillers are a “need-to-have.” Vitamins improve an existing problem, while painkillers seek to solve it.
Now, your idea doesn’t have to solve world hunger to be viable. But it does need to provide a solution to a problem in order to have demand.
Ask yourself: Is it reasonable to assume there is product-market fit? Do people need this? Do people want this? If so, launch a minimum viable product (MVP) to validate it.
Launch an MVP
An MVP, or minimum viable product, is the most basic, launchable version of your product. It includes the must-have features and does away with most of the bits and bobs you hope to add in the future.
The purpose of an MVP is to get your idea in the hands of early users fast. That way, you can get their feedback, validate your idea before investing more time in it, and iterate on the product or service.
MVP Case Study: Airbnb
In 2007, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia needed help paying their rent on their San Francisco apartment. Their living room had just enough space to fit a few air mattresses, and they figured at least someone would be willing to pay to live with them.
They also found that it was difficult and expensive to find a hotel room in the city. Their bachelor pad living room just might provide a viable solution to strangers looking for a budget-friendly option.
So, they launched an MVP. They marketed strictly to the attendees of a sold-out tech conference. They promised free wifi, free breakfast, and an air mattress on their living room floor. In exchange, guests paid $80 per night, validating their assumption.
This information allowed them to formally launch what we now know as Airbnb, a multi-billion dollar company. Launching an MVP allowed them to test the idea before investing additional time, money, and energy into building the company.
Step 1: Build a Landing Page
A landing page is a simple, single-page website designed to capture information from leads as efficiently as possible. As you can see, Airbnb’s website wasn’t sophisticated by any means. But, it was enough to acquire their first users and validate their idea.
Why a landing page and not a website? The average website takes one to six months to build. A landing page takes around an hour. That’s a whole lot of time to waste on an idea you haven’t validated yet.
Platforms like Carrd make it simple to create a landing page in under an hour, without sacrificing aesthetics. Just grab a template, upload a background photo from a website like Unsplash or Pexels, then pick a free URL.
Need help writing the copy? Use free AI platforms like:
Time: 1 hour
Step 2: Connect Stripe to Carrd
Next, connect Stripe to Carrd, if it makes sense in validating your idea. In most cases, payment should be part of the process. Why? Testing pricing is just as important as testing the idea. The more data you can get, the better.
But, if you plan to offer service with a freemium model, you can hold off on this step and test the free version first.
Step 3: Add a Form
Once payment has been collected, you may want to redirect users to a booking form (depending on the type of product or service). Create the form in Carrd to keep things simple, then link it to the payment page.
Step 4: Determine Your Method of Contact
In most cases, you’ll want to follow up with customers after their purchase. Determine how you plan to do this — Mailchimp? Zapier with Twilio integration?
Step 5: Get The Landing Page in Front of Potential Users
Once your landing page is up and running, get it in front of users. Remember, this is a testing phase — it doesn’t have to be the perfect subset of users (or a gazillion people). The purpose is to determine whether there is demand for your product or service quickly.
You can spend hours, weeks, or even months perfecting a logo, designing a business card, and creating a freebie, only to discover that customers couldn’t care less about them. Sure, having a logo would be nice down the line, but it isn’t crucial at this stage — it’s a time suck.
Focus on the actions that move the needle or generate revenue.
After You’ve Validated Your Idea
Form an LLC. An LLC, or limited liability company, is a legal structure for a business. Oftentimes, entrepreneurs assume an LLC needs to come first. However, there are fees associated with forming one, so you’ll want to wait until your idea is validated.
An LLC has a variety of tax benefits though, such as the ability to take deductions for business expenses, take the S-Corp tax election, and more, so it can be useful.
Obtain Licenses and Permits. If your product or service requires a license or permit to sell, make sure your MVP doesn’t violate any laws around it. Once you’ve validated your idea though, obtain the permits you need to officially operate.
Open a Business Bank Account. A business bank account can technically come before or after launching an MVP. While it’s best practice to always have business transactions separate from personal, it isn’t 100 percent necessary (especially before you’ve even validated your idea).
Use AI To Your Advantage
Remember, we’re living in the era of AI — use it to your advantage. There’s a variety of platforms out there that can handle pretty much any aspect of your launch: