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Microtesting: Sell it before you build it

Before you build a product, test it by offering it for sale on your website.

  • If no one responds, you’ve just saved tons of time and money.
  • If the responses include suggestions, you’ve just improved the product before you even started.
  • If people give you money — bingo!

This sort of testing is faster, cheaper, and more informative than any generic study or focus group.

From Inc. Magazine:

Consider the method used by TPGTEX Label Solutions, a Houston-based software company that specializes in bar codes and labels for manufacturers and chemical companies. Like many companies, TPGTEX rolls out new products several times a year. But instead of spending the time and money to develop products on spec, TPGTEX creates mocked-up webpages that list the features of a potential new product — such as a system for making radio-frequency identification, or RFID, labels — along with its price. Then, the company spends no more than a few hundred dollars marketing the product through search engines and to the contacts in its sales database and LinkedIn. It isn’t until a customer actually clicks or calls to place an order that TPGTEX’s developers will build the software. “We do not develop a product until we get a paying customer,” says Orit Pennington, who co-founded the six-employee company with her husband in 2002. Development time is typically no more than two to three weeks, and it generally takes just a few orders to cover development costs. (full article here)

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