5 Tools For Validating Your Next Business Idea
There are two reasons why business start ups fail:
First, their founders assume the business will be a success without actually verifying demand.
Second, they acknowledge demand only by asking friends, family, and other people immediately around them.
I'm going to show you 5 tools today that will help validate your business start up ideas on a global scale.
You might know a few of these tools:
And you may have already started a successful business, but there is a better way to begin validating your start up idea.
I promise you.
It took me a few years to discover and really utilize these tools succinctly, but today you'll learn my end-to-end validation process.
Just because we're using digital tools, doesn't mean you don't have to get outside. To take your business to the next level you need talk to potential customers and subject matter experts whenever possible.
Test your idea in the wild because often times we disconnect the fact that a credit card, PayPal account and email belong to an actual person - not just a number.
But with the help of these Google tools and a bit of chart analysis, I'll show you which ideas will hold extra weight.
Market Demand Tools
1. Google Trends
Google trends displays a line chart of what people are searching for in Google over time. We're on the lookout for charts that are trending upwards.
This is a chart of the 2016 election between people searching for how to vote for each candidate. Based on what's represented by the red line - "vote trump" was the most searched.
But I'm going to show you some other techniques too:
We're going to explore patterns such as "bottoming out", "breakouts", and "pennants".
2. Google Correlate
Google Correlate allows us to find and match similar patterns amongst a specific phrase (or keyword) that you enter.
Search one time events or a continuous trend.
For example, you might find that searches for "new car" and "leather seats" have a high correlation. Meaning that if people are searching for "new car" more in the summer, the term "leather seats" will also get searched more because they have a positive correlation.
A negative correlation means they are moving in opposite directions but still correlated in their patterns.
As you can see, Google Correlate is VERY powerful.
3. Google Shopping Insights
This handy tool gives us an idea of where buyer search engine traffic is coming from. Unfortunately, it only works in the United States but it's still a wicked tool for finding hot spots of demand.
Honestly, just coming to this page every day could inspire you for hundreds of hot ideas.
High demand products and brands will be reflected by heavily solid colours.
Here's a look on the homepage where this tool is telling us "Emoji Joggers" is in high demand.
4. Google Patents
We won't be using this tool very much, but it's a good idea to have it in our arsenal as we get closer and closer to a business idea that's calling us more and more.
I'm definitely not a patent lawyer by any means, so if you decide to use this tool solely - DON'T!
Ask a lawyer, get their opinion, and move forward with their best advice.
We run into a product that has a patent and I'm going to show you how to get around this...
Ahref's is a suite of tool's that allows us to scope out the competitors. I'd say it's one of my favourite marketing tools for small business and solopreneurs alike.
Analyze how they're doing with Google rankings, find the most shared pages on their site, and where they spend their advertising dollars.
Unlike the tools prior, this one is a paid tool but it's worth it for initial research.
You can also use Google's own Keyword Planner Tool but it's actually limited compared to Ahrefs.
high demand products & ideas
Whether you're looking for a side gig or the next hot start up idea,
I'm going to show you how I found 9 business idea's using these tools.
These tools should be essential for any business strategy template. You can validate trending product ideas, test your assumptions, and most importantly - start your business with less risk.
Protect Yourself from the Elements - in Style!
What's this chart representing?
As you can tell overall the low parts of the chart are trending up. This is a good sign.
What I don't like about this chart:
Is how the peaks and troughs are getting bigger and bigger. Personally, this product would be on my watch list since it seems unstable.
At the bottom of every Google Trends search, there is a table of "Related Queries".
The Related Queries are:
Other search terms that have the same search patterns as your initial "keyword."
You can organize them by Top Searches or Breakouts.
I've chosen to show Breakout's because they represent a higher percentage of searches happening right now.
These look interesting:
Dope Windbreakers and Tommy Hilfiger Windbreakers.
Because they seem to represent a brand and it would give us a good opportunity to see what trends are occurring in windbreakers today.
The search for "dope windbreakers" came up with images that mostly retro.
What does a search for "Tommy Hilfiger windbreakers" come up with?
Now I really like this one!
Because ad's are showing up. Which mean's Mr. Hifiger has enough profit built into his business to spend on ads and when people are looking for Hilfiger windbreakers...
What is being advertised?
The black windbreakers ONLY.
What I would do next?
Look up "dark retro windbreakers" and see if there are any opportunities to create my own brand or become a wholesaler of an existing one.
Then test with running digital ad's - a small investment.
Become Limitless with these Cognitive Enhancers
If you aren't familiar with nootropics:
They're stimulants people are using to increase their memory, creativity, and motivation.
From my very little knowledge of this space, "smart drugs" as they otherwise known as, can contain both pharmaceutical and natural ingredients.
A quick disclaimer:
I'm not condoning the use of these in any way. I've never used them nor do I intend on using them at any point in the future.
But from this Wikipedia research:
Nootropics sales topped over $1B in sales for 2015.
I searched "Nootropics and smart drugs" in Google and these guys came up.
Let's take a deep dive into their business model:
If we head over to Ben Greenfield's site, we see that he's offering some coaching and the "lock" icon on the far right gives me an indication that this is some sort of membership site.
I jumped over to Ahref's and typed in "Nootropics" into the Keyword Explorer tool and filter out the results...
Apparently, people are searching for training with Nootropics. I know that a lot of the terms are very confusing for someone who isn't familiar with science (like me.)
So there might be a market for this.
Who Else is Making Money in this Niche?
Introducing Jesse Lawler's site Smart Drug Smarts. I've actually listened to his podcast before and would recommend the "hypnosis" episode. It was super interesting and made a lot of sense.
Especially since I've been hypnotized myself before.
As you can see from Jesse's website, he's got the podcast plus a shop. Just like Ben Greenfield's example from earlier.
Podcasts are a big thing now and I can see a lot of potential in them still. Even though shows are getting saturated. It's still a great marketing arm and there is an opportunity to monetize a show through advertising.
Here's an example of how much you could earn podcasting.
Smart Drug Smarts has their own shop and he's monetizing it with advertising as well. Sometimes he'll advertise his own shop as the sponsor, but there are other sponsors for the show too.
At this point there are a few different avenues to pursue...
But the one thing I would do first is:
Head over to Reddit.
Especially if you aren't familiar with this stuff at all. Get to know what people are talking about, become a subject matter expert, and see what needs are unmet.
High Fashion, Deep History, and A Kick Ass Trend
This chart is one of my favorites.
It's the perfect Headrush setup (aka. a Pennant or Bull flag setup)
It's called a headrush setup because it usually points to sky high more than anything.
This was one of the most dependable patterns and 9 times out of 10 - it's going to take off.
If we take a look at the related queries...
We see a few common elements:
One, people are always looking for up-to-date looks and...
Two, people are looking for a fashion statement or to use in sport.
All this information is good, but where do we go from here?
Having two choices in terms of Sport vs. Fashion could be hard to narrow down which niche to pursue, however looking at Google Correlate - we can determine the best path to follow.
As we can see...
People that are searching for "Kimono" in Google are also looking for "Birkenstocks".
And if you are following fashion trends at all, it's actually not surprising but it's great to actually see verification that the two correlate online.
I also love the fact that Google is telling us that "pregnant mothers" are also highly correlated with Kimono's and Birkenstocks.
Again not surprising, but this DEFINITELY helps to gather real world data about who your ideal customer is and create the best customer avatar possible.
4. Teak Wood
Furniture Made to Stand the Test of Time
I like this chart because it's different than the others. It's not as clean.
Google Trends only tracks data starting in 2004 and something that's a commodity like Teak Wood would have tons of searches prior to that.
From the chart, you can tell there has been a dramatic decrease in a number of searches but...
It has bottomed out between 2007 and 2011. Going from very high peaks and steady bottoms - to new highs in 2012.
Generally, this points to a steady but slow climb back up.
This would require "the long game" mentality.
Where to go next:
The related queries are telling us that eCommerce stores are pretty popular right now. That's a REALLY good indication.
It means the "transactional gravity" is strong for that search term. Think of transactional gravity as how much intent a buyer has right at that moment.
From the breakouts...
It looks like people are shopping around.
I wasn't sure what "Pepperfry" was so I looked it up first...
It looks to be an Indian eCommerce site... Let's type "Teak" into the search bar and see what they are going to recommend to us.
The entire search comes up with mostly beds. After looking through Pepperfry for a bit - it looks to be venture backed.
It's most likely that:
They've optimized their e-commerce site and either Teak Bed Frames are one of their most profitable items or most popular.
What would I do now?
Let's get a bit more granular. I checked the trend for "teak wood bed" into Google Trends to verify demand again.
Since I'm based in North America, I searched for "Wooden Bed Frames" within Google Shopping Insights.
I want to see where people are searching teak wood beds the most. As soon as I started typing, Google Shopping Insights suggested I use "wooden bed frames" instead of "teak wood bed".
I'm guessing because it's not as specific, but also still relevant for us.
Here's a look at what I found:
You can clearly see a few hot spots around New York, L.A., Chicago, Houston and San Francisco.
From this information, see if those markets are being served well locally or possibly become a middleman and supply to the stores already there...
But offer a better price or higher quality.
Health Benefits with Explosive Growth
This is another EPIC upward pattern waiting to explode and at the end, you'll see one of my favourite up and coming business ideas.
I recently visited Japan and this stuff is pretty much ingrained into their society, but when I came back home - I started noticing how popular it was...
How much matcha can you use?
There's matcha face washes, ice cream, tea, cakes - all super popular stuff.
Funny enough, I didn't see any of the stuff I thought I would see in the related queries section.
What's "Miss Moter Matcha"?
I knew it would be a brand and...
After a quick Google search, it looks to be Hand Wax.
Something women (and I'm sure some men), dip their hands into in order to preserve their skin.
It's small and a consumable, meaning you'll have plenty of returning customers if your products good.
What's "Matcha Mylkbar"?
At first, I thought it was going to be some Candy bar or a Protein bar... Nope!
It's a plant-based restaurant in Australia that specializes in Matcha-everything. A wicked concept and with a little digging - I came up with this picture from Google Maps:
Where should we go next:
Look for places with high concentrations of Vegetarians and test the market lightly. A local market would be a good place to start.
Recharging While on Your Everyday Commute
Bicycles that can be either powered by a motor or through peddling.
I actually think they're a bit annoying since they can be quite loud. But people are obviously loving them more and more every year.
The highs and lows are very consistent. Which makes me believe that the trend is about to climb steadily. But if the industry fails, I can see it being hard to jump back up. Lot's of people will have jumped onto this trend over the years.
The breakouts have all been very season. If you were to enter into this business - it would be a good idea to find something that correlates negatively to this business cycle.
Let's use another tool for finding search volume within Google:
This is a snapshot from Ahref's. If I type in the term "ebikes" into one of its tools, it'll give me back some related words and search volume.
How difficult it would be to get yourself on the first page of Google for "ebikes".
I wanted to highlight that the term "electric bike kit" is searched nearly as much (per month) as "ebikes" but the difficulty of getting on that first page is much easier than the other terms.
Here is the chart for "electric bike kit:
And here are the Related Queries:
I'm really interested in what this breakout trend search is - I've never heard of it.
I googled it and landed here:
Snazzy ebike kits. Really cool stuff.
At this point, I thought it would make sense to actually become the wholesaler for this product BUT then...
I thought I'd introduce "dropshipping" into the mix.
Dropshipping is an ecommerce business model that allows you to take advantage of sales, without holding the physical goods yourself.
For dropshipping, you'd take the order and the money from a customer, then purchase the ebike from the wholesaler or manufacturer.
The profit margins are much smaller but since these bikes are fairly expensive - it could actually work out for you if you're able to create a unique selling proposition.
How can you sell ebikes relatively easy?
By opening up Google Shopping Insights and finding the hot spots where people are buying ebikes the most.
Then I would test the market by running ads. Not to sell them an ebike right away. But to introduce the concept of owning an ebike into their heads first...
If lots of people are buying bikes there, then the concept of owning one themselves isn't that far off - especially if their neighbour has one.
You won't get someone to buy a $2,500 ebike right away without buying them a drink first.
Warm them up first. Introduce yourself to them with a piece of content - a how-to video would work well. Better yet, try and get a spot on local television about the benefits of this edgy trend. Use that video as your ad.
Always think about marketing to the right people. That's what these tools are good for.
A New Hair Trend - or So I Thought!
I thought about this because it's new hair product I've started using recently and I love it. The only catch is that it can be quite expensive.
So I thought this might be a great product idea since the margins could be high.
I followed the exact same steps as we've been using but found something unexpected...
Whatever Dip Brow is - it's DOMINATING.
I Googled it and found out it has something to with eyebrows. Makes sense now right?
In any case, just because I don't really know what this product is about - does not mean I can't improve on it.
To find out ways to improve a product:
Head over to Amazon, find the product, open the reviews and filter by only the 3 star reviews.
Look at what people are saying, identify potential defects, and recognize shortcomings early on.
I like 3 star reviews because they fall in between good and bad, plus are less likely to be fake.
Here look what I found in these reviews:
Just looking at the first review, I can see someone has complained about the product being dry and easy to rub off.
This person was expecting one thing, but got another. I bet there's a lot more people like this review - just dig a little bit deeper and see what else others are seeing.
Find a pattern in what the customers are saying.
8. Scratch Map
Keeping Track of Your Worldly Travels
This infamous product is useful for wanderlust travellers. After arriving home - they can "scratch" it off their last location. Like a lottery ticket!
You can tell it's very seasonal, but also demand is growing more each year.
Let's look at the related queries. Right off the bat, we can tell it's related to "travel gifts".
We should take a new twist this time:
Let's reverse engineer other PROFITABLE high demand products from this one business.
When a business runs advertising for something, generally it means that whatever they are putting into advertising - they're getting right back, plus more.
So given that rule of thumb:
Find the products being advertised by your competitors and copy their exact steps - but do it better.
If we look in Google, we can see this company produces the real version of the Scratch Map - Luckies of London.
First, I checked one important thing - the patent.
There was one that I found in Google's Patent Search here:
Then I thought - "wait, what else are these guys selling?"
This product's pretty cool to me.
Luckily, Ahref's has the ability to see the top landing pages for any website.
Hmm... What's this "Smartphone Projector"? It's got decent volume and ranks number one for that exact term.
I suspect this business is selling a ton of these...
9. Smartphone Projector
Date Night with Your Smart Phone
I thought it would be fun to turn the table and turn to you now:
Combine these tools, strategies, your wit, and intuition together and verify if a "smartphone projector" would be a viable product idea.
If you need a small push, try starting with the reviews. If that doesn't garner any results, just use any of the other strategies I showed you above.
Thank you for letting me share these tools and business ideas with you. I put this list together to help as many people as possible and especially those with big resource constraints. Whether you can't waste time or money - don't dive into any business without checking these tools first.