If you are an entrepreneur and are about to venture into a new business field for the first time, what do you do? Many have ideas and when they feel that their business idea is worth pursuing, they go ahead and try; but things do not turn out as they had hoped. For others, they feel that they cannot be sure that the market needs the business idea or not; therefore, they go ahead with the launching of their product or service in beta mode and then follow with marketing activities.

If this sounds familiar to you and sounds like something you would like to do, I suggest that you check out my article on pretotyping to learn more about this process.

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Pre-testing a business idea is the process of testing it out with real people before you invest in it.

Pretotyping is a method of testing out a business idea before you invest time and money into it. It’s not a new technique, but it has become more popular as the costs of starting a business have fallen dramatically in the last few decades.

The process is simple — you just show your idea to people, and ask them what they think of it. You can even do this without telling them what you’re working on — just show them a prototype of whatever you’re planning to build and get their feedback.

There are two main reasons for doing this. One is to find out if other people actually want the thing you’re thinking about building — sometimes we get so wrapped up in our own ideas that we convince ourselves that other people will want them too, when really they don’t. The second reason is to find out whether people are going to understand how your product works, or if they’re going to find it confusing and frustrating.

Pretotyping is the process of trying to find out if a business idea will work by starting with the end in mind.

Pretotyping is the process of trying to find out if a business idea will work by starting with the end in mind. The process is similar to prototyping, but is intended for business ideas and involves testing an idea with potential customers before development begins.

A “pretotype” will often involve creating a mock up or even a functioning website to see if people are interested in buying your product. This can be done even before any coding or any other expensive development work has taken place.

Pretotyping allows you to get some real data on whether or not your idea will work before you waste time and money on building something that no one wants.

Neither pre-testing or pretotyping is an exact science, but they can help you focus on what’s important and save you time and money by avoiding big mistakes early on.

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Example of the “Facade” Pretotype used by Burger King

 

 

Apply the methodology

Step 1: Isolate the Key Assumption

What is the one assumption about your idea that, if false, means it’s definitely not the right it?

Step 2: Choose a Type of Pretotype

What type of pretotype will let you to isolate and test your key assumption?

Quick Guide to Pretotype Types

Step 3: Make a Market Engagement Hypothesis

How many (and what kind of) people will do what with your pretotype? Your hypothesis can be as simple as:

X% of Y will do Z

A solid hypothesis takes the guesswork and opinion out of testing.

Step 4: Test Your Pretotype

Now put your pretotype into the real world, and see how people interact with it. Start small — one place, one time.

Step 5:Learn, Refine, Hypozoom

Evaluate your results. Refine your pretotype with your new data.

If you hypothesis held, decide what other situations you should test your pretotype in to get a complete picture (what we call “hypozooming”).

Conclusion

Testing should be a crucial part of any new business idea, and it’s an integral part of the pretotyping process. By testing a new business idea early on, you gain valuable insight into how others would respond to your product or service. This can help you tweak your business idea before you even get started, saving you time, money, and frustration in the long-run.

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