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We have a business idea, what would be the best way to test if idea will work?

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JohnFuture

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Hi guys!

My teammate and I have a startup idea related to IoT, which will be targeted to B2B.

We know that we have to execute and test the idea with business straight away, to avoid waste of the time (we know that nowadays everything is about the speed of execution).

Unfortunately, we are struggling to figure out what would be the best way to test the idea before developing a prototype.

We are also doing research and also studying cold-call and will try to pitch the concept via phone. Is this a good idea?

What is your experience on this, should we follow some cold-call template, make some landing page or prototype and then approach businesses?
 

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RazorCut

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If it's business to business then hone in on the sector of the market that you feel is the best fit and reach out to those running such businesses. To start with you just need to know there is a market for your product (i.e. provides a solution to a genuine pain point) You don't really need us to tell you that though surely?

We are also doing research and also studying cold-call and will try to pitch the concept via phone. Is this a good idea?

What is your experience on this, should we follow some cold-call template, make some landing page or prototype and then approach businesses?
Why do you want to make it so complex? Reach out to small to medium businesses. Explain that you would like some help or advice about a new product you are developing. Most people would probably be flattered that you were seeking their advice. Just be respectful of their time and have a list of questions so you don't go too far off track. You can refine as you go.

Linkedin is probably your best resource.
 

Envision

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I dont know what IoT is or what you're doing but if Im trying to test an idea and see if it will sell Ill create a report/book on a problem and within that document show how my product/service fixes that problem. Run traffic to it and give it away for free, collect emails and follow up.

This can be done over the phone too
 

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I dont know what IoT is.....
The internet of things, or IoT, is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers (UIDs) and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.

Think intelligent lighting, fridges that can reorder food when stock gets low, autonomous cars that reroute automatically to avoid congestion etc..
 

Thomas Baptiste

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If it's profitable, business owners / managers will most likely go for it. Nothing beats a trial.

The internet of things, or IoT, is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers (UIDs) and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.

Think intelligent lighting, fridges that can reorder food when stock gets low, autonomous cars that reroute automatically to avoid congestion etc..
So IoT is borderline artificial intelligence?
 

RazorCut

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So IoT is borderline artificial intelligence?
It's basically a digital communication network of 'smart' devices. Like any network you need to be able to differentiate between each device and be able to send data in two directions (at bare minimum a command and an acknowledgement).

If every electronic from a toaster up has a unique identifier and has a way to communicate it would be deemed part of the Internet of Things. There are lots of practical uses. In the consumer world your phone becomes THE ideal controller. It's free (because you already own one). They are abundant and are already connected to a network. All the manufacture needs to do is create a software app to link to their smart device.

Things that you can already do via IoT:

Whilst from the comfort of your chair at your downtown office you can see who just rang your door bell at home and speak to them. Maybe open the porch door for them so they can leave the parcel you were expecting. Later that day turn your oven on and check what's in your fridge in case you need to drop by a store on the way home. Adjust the time your heating is due to come on. And, for security, put the kitchen and porch lights on as you are going to be working a little later than usual. You might then preheat your car and defrost your windows before you head to the carpark as it's -6 outside. In an idle moment you might check how much electricity your home consumed that day and compare that with how much electricity your solar panels produced and sold back to the National Grid.

In a decade from now those sorts of things will seem as mundane as a pocket calculator.
 

Andy Black

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Hi guys!

My teammate and I have a startup idea related to IoT, which will be targeted to B2B.

We know that we have to execute and test the idea with business straight away, to avoid waste of the time (we know that nowadays everything is about the speed of execution).

Unfortunately, we are struggling to figure out what would be the best way to test the idea before developing a prototype.

We are also doing research and also studying cold-call and will try to pitch the concept via phone. Is this a good idea?

What is your experience on this, should we follow some cold-call template, make some landing page or prototype and then approach businesses?
How soon can you help someone?


Some of the worrying phrases I see are:

1) “startup idea”

I’m allergic to the startup word. It conjures up images of people trying to grow big tech startups, maybe getting investment, and often forgetting their job is to help people, and then at scale. When people say it’s an idea for a startup and they’ve not helped one person yet, or made a sale, then I worry they’re focused on the wrong thing.


2) “everything is about speed of execution”

To get to market quickest because you’re worried someone else will implement your idea? Or because you believe moving fast is better than navel gazing?


3) “pitch the concept”

I wouldn’t want to pitch a concept. That sounds like an uphill battle of educating people in what your product does and how it can help them. Can you find a starving crowd instead?

And why “pitch” in your first contact with someone? Would you do better to build relationships and find out what their needs, wants, hopes, and fears are? Would you do better listening rather than pitching?


Overall, my worry is that you (appear to be) trying to “build a startup”, rather than trying to help people with a problem they’re willing to pay for (and then scale the heck out of that).
 

RazorCut

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And why “pitch” in your first contact with someone? Would you do better to build relationships and find out what their needs, wants, hopes, and fears are? Would you do better listening rather than pitching?
Yes you need to have a very open mind in the early stages which can be very difficult as we always think we have the perfect baby. You have identified a need but you have to be totally consumer focused. This is why listening to your target sector is all important and why I said to ask for help and advice.

Your product may be bang on the money or a million miles off (but probably somewhere in-between) but don't get stubborn if the market doesn't get 'your vision' of your baby. Your job is to view it dispassionately take the vision of the masses and make that vision a reality as it has to fulfil their needs not yours.

Here is a great thread on utilising Linkedin by @EarlOfChina in case you haven't read it.

And @Timmy1990 just posted this which has some great info on an Australian business:

The story of Sharlene Barns
 

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