Before learning the benefits of beta-testing your business idea, I recommend reading my last blog to learn how you can bring your business idea to life. Part of this process involves confirming if your idea will work. To verify your idea, you will need to run a beta test on your beta client(s). The benefits of beta testing your idea with real clients before you launch will help you achieve two things: first, identify what works for your business and second, what needs improvement before starting.
What is Beta Testing?
Beta testing is when you test your Minimal Viable Product (MVP) in your target market. This process helps you learn firsthand how your ideal customer will respond to your idea. And a Beta Client is who you test your sample product on – before launching. This sample is the minimal version of your product you try with your beta clients.
Think, for example, creating a sampler platter of your best nibbles (if you think of opening a food business) and sampling them with a small group of people that have already mentioned they would be willing to pay for it. Sampling your product with a friendly audience.
What is a Minimal Viable Product? Your MVP.
A Minimal Viable Product (MVP) is a prototype of your want to produce – aka a sample of your product. Your MVP is a work-in-progress sample you test in your target market. This sample is the first stage of introducing your business to your customer.
Remember that sampling platter? It should contain the bare bones of what you want to offer – your top choices. However, the important thing is to think that this platter can (and should) change, based on the recommendations that your beta testing clients provide.
Why is this viable product minimal?
The cost of producing your MVP is usually a fraction of what it will cost you to make the final product. Developing this sample helps confirm what you need and what you don’t. It also gives you a clear idea of certain things;
- how much it will cost to produce the final product
- how many products you will need as the first few batches
- how you need to batch your reorder process
- and if your idea will work in the Canadian market
Before developing your products, first test your sample on your beta clients.
Who exactly is a Beta Test Client?
A beta test client is someone or a group of people who represents your ideal customer. Your beta clients can come from your immediate network – think friends and family who would be willing to pay for your final version. Remember, your business idea usually comes from problems you notice around you. Usually, issues that affect you or other people around you. These groups could be family members, friends, associates or acquaintances. Please note, your beta-clients should not be your fans or hype mates. This way, you receive authentic and unbiased feedback to move forward on your business idea.
Testing a sample of your product on real people with real needs (or tastebuds!) gives you actual results in real-time. You learn firsthand what your ideal customer needs and what they want. You identify how relevant your business idea is to their needs. And what they wish to experience when using your product, instead of what you assumed.
Let’s go back to that food sampler example. If you want to start a food business in Canada, you should test a few samples of the food you intend to place on your menu. Pre-Covid, you would host a sampling event by inviting people to try your menu within your local area. In the case of social distancing, you could invite selected people that come to mind to try out a dish. Of course, following the guiding laws related to social distancing.
Or, if you intend to start a dry cleaning business, you could offer your service at a low-cost entry strategy. This strategy will help you observe how your clients respond to your business. You will be able to identify what works or not from contactless drop-off to delivery or pick-up.
Now you know what beta testing is – what you are testing and who participates in this process. The big question is – What is the benefit of beta testing your business idea as an immigrant entrepreneur in Canada? Why should you try a sample of your product or service before launching your business?
Well, I’m glad you asked, my friend! This is why:
- You learn who your Ideal Customer is – not the assumed demographic report you listed when you had the idea. You now have a face to who you intend to serve.
- You build a communication bridge between your business and your customers. You know their voice as they know yours through engaging in conversations.
- Your ideal customer puts a face to your business. They might not know you in person, but they now know why you wish to solve their problems. They appreciate you seeing them as people in need of a solution rather than numbers. Your business becomes more of a connection to them. Remember, Business is Human.
- You build your tribe of community and expand your business network and relationships.
So what’s in it for you to run a beta-test?
It saves you time and money from doing trial and error. And, you will avoid making the mistakes most Immigrants make when starting a business in Canada. It guides you on decisions you need to make to foster the growth of your business. Going back to my previous examples: is the food product too spicy for a Canadian demographic? Beta testing it BEFORE you invest in producing a large batch will help you get it just right so you are not left in a situation of too much supply, but not enough demand. Beta-testing of your business before launching is like a pilot using a takeoff checklist before flying a plane. Following this process stops you from running into avoidable problems.
I am sure your business idea is a gem, and the world can’t wait to experience what you have to offer. We all can’t be perfect but growing a business involves planning and strategy. Missing out on one step or the other will not benefit your business in the long run. If you need help and want to avoid wasting time building the right business as I did, feel free to connect with me.
If you have questions on how you can test your business idea, leave a comment below. Remember, Business Is Human. Gosh, I love this line!