Every business knows market research is important, but is the time wasted overthinking ideas more important?

Whether you’re interested in creating a new online service for lawyers to find clients faster or your launching a new restaurant menu geared towards a hip younger crowd, all ideas need to be prototyped fast, efficiently, evaluated and adopted or nixed.

As a marketing strategist I help clients see organizational blind spots and help them launch their ideas successfully. Over the years I’ve seen many projects fail and one of things I see a lot, are ideas that become a money pit and just can’t get off the launchpad. Listed below are 5 easy steps businesses can use to test out a new service offering fast and efficiently.

1) Identify the offering

Once you come up with a great new idea. Rather than taking months trying to flesh out the idea and concept. If there is a budget set aside for innovation or R & D. Use a small portion of it to quickly identify the offering and develop a prototype. Many organizations spend too many months wrangling over ideas, to only see them go down in flames when they finally hit the market.

2) Select a small sample pool of potential customers

The small group of customers should be highly specific to the offering , and in this instance there can be multiple test groups setup to see if the offering appeals to a certain group more than others. But here it is also important not to get stuck in the process, by over -analyzing stats and digging deeply into months of analysis.

3) Scope out the offering so there is a clear understanding of what a positive test case looks like

Before entering into a test scenario, ensure that your team has a clear understanding of what a win looks like, what a failure looks like and what a near miss looks like. This is the tricky stage, because some users who are too close to the project will grade these items differently. So ensure that the grading scale is in alignment and the entire team is on one accord.

4) Don’t be myopic, clearly identify red flags and don’t make excuses

Having a myopic view may work in some scenarios but not here. During this prototype session each evaluator needs to be non-emotional and be available to clearly call out red-flags as they appear. While every project manager wants to see their idea succeed, the successful projects are those that are open to repairing flaws and not covering them up. Never make an excuse for bad planning, faulty equipment, horrible ideas and poor execution.

5) Evaluate the pool of candidates to see if the offering made sense, over stressed resources or ended up being too costly.

Once the test session is done, go through the success criteria to see how the new product offering fared. Did it appease the customer? Did it solve their problem? Was it too complicated to use or implement?

Questions like those help move the prototyping along faster, to ensure your new service offering gets to a viable option faster.

While these steps may not solve all of the pandora box of problems that may arise.They are definitely a quick way to build up inertia and get the wheel spinning, rather than tossing around an endless train of ideas for months.

About the Author : Fabian is a marketing strategist with over 20 years of marketing and creative experience working with companies in a variety of industries such as retail, finance, government, food, and the beverage industry. His strategy involves learning your business from the inside out and providing a bespoke plan to achieve your designated objectives.

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