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:

Google Trends, Google Correlate, Google Shopping Insights, Google Patents, and Ahref's.

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.

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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.

voting trends in the USA for president

The Google Trends link is here.

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.

Google trends comic book

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.

Google shopping insights for emoji joggers

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...​

5. Ahrefs

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.

ahrefs search bar

Analyze how they're doing with Google rankings, find the most shared pages on their site, and where they spend their advertising dollars.

Amazing right?

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.

1. Windbreakers

Protect Yourself from the Elements - in Style!

What's this chart representing?

google trends wind breaker

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.

dope windbreaker trends

What does a search for "Tommy Hilfiger windbreakers" come up with?

tommy hilfiger windbreaker trends

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.

2. Nootropics

Become Limitless with these Cognitive Enhancers

nootropics and smart drugs trends

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.

nootropics definition

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.

nootropics search results in Google

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.

ben greenfield business model


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.

nootropics diversity training and working memory

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.

smart drug smarts ecommerce store

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.

reddit nootropic trends

3. Kimono

High Fashion, Deep History, and A Kick Ass Trend

This chart is one of my favorites.

kimono trends in sport and fashion

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...

related trends for kimonos

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...

google correlate search for kimono

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.

kimonos and Birkenstocks trends

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.

teak wood google trends

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:

related searches for teak wood

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...

teak wood at pepperfry

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.

pepperfry ecommerce research

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.

teak wood bed google trends


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.

shopping trends for wooden bed frames
top cities for wooden bed frames

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.

5. Matcha

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.

matcha search trend

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.

trends related to matcha

What's "Miss Moter Matcha"?

I knew it would be a brand and...

After a quick Google search, it looks to be Hand Wax.

miss moter matcha google results

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.

matcha trend in australia

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:

Cool right?

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.

6. eBikes

Recharging While on Your Everyday Commute

Bicycles that can be either powered by a motor or through peddling.

ebikes seasonal trend

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.

trends related to ebikes

Let's use another tool for finding search volume within Google:

search volume for ebikes

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.

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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:

electric bike kit trend

And here are the Related Queries:

electric bike kit related trends

I'm really interested in what this breakout trend search is - I've never heard of it.

I googled it and landed here:

bionx ebike trend

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.

electric bike ecommerce map
top cities for electric bikes

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.

7. Pomade

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.

pomade trend

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...

pomade related trends

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:

dipbrow pomade youtube ad

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:

dipbrow amazon 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!

scratch map trend

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".

related trends for 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.

luckies original scratch map google result

First, I checked one important thing - the patent.

There was one that I found in Google's Patent Search here:

patent search for scratch map

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.

advertising sales funnel research

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

smartphone projector sales funnel research

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.

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Kelvin Mah

Hi, I'm Kelvin - join me as we explore the side hustle, every growth hack imaginable, and all that's in-between. If you've enjoyed reading the content - a share is worth a thousand thank you's.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 15 comments
James - November 29, 2016

Hey there! I’m coming from tmba 🙂
That article is really helpfull – thank you a lot!

After realising my current idea has not the right product-founder fit, I’m back at the drawing board. And once again overthinking and assuming market needs..

Those tools, combined with real life feedback (talking to the potential customers via phone or face to face), will help me a lot in this process! Thanks again for writing this up and adding really helpfull examples.

I don’t want to spend too much time consuming, but if I have some spare time I will give your other articles a closer look. Keep the good work up!

    Kelvin Mah - November 29, 2016

    Thanks for the feedback. I’m glad it helped out. I think Google Correlate and Shopping Insights isn’t as well known as Google trends so it was fun highlighting those.

    Nothing wrong with overthinking since it’s presumable you’ll be spending a couple years working at it. But deadlines can be our best friend too.

Lu - March 21, 2017

Thanks a lot for such an indepth infor, it was worth reading.


Sky - April 27, 2017

Very helpful article, helped me alot.
Question, How do you find out that for example Windbreakers or kimonos are trending?
I mean do you look around and get ideas and then check it out on google trends?

I’m just curious because I would never thought to look up Windbreakers or Kimono etc in google trends.


    Kelvin Mah - May 1, 2017

    Thanks Sky.

    For the examples and how I thought of them? Personally, I’m always collecting product ideas and general business ideas on Evernote. So I can’t pinpoint exactly when I thought about that but it must have come up while doing product research.

Beginner Tuts - March 18, 2018

That article is really helpfull – thank you a lot!

Henry Karani - May 11, 2018

This is a well written article. I have a passion to one day discover the best and most profitable products to sell in our African market which has a very huge and unlimited potential. But my greatest challenge and handicapp is the product research. I wish someone can lecture /educate me on how i can approach product research for this specific market inorder to come up with winning and profitable products.

Henry Karani

    Kelvin Mah - May 11, 2018

    Thanks! One thing I can say to you is “get out of the building”.

    This is just a saying used to say that it’s always better to talk to the actual users of your product. I’m not sure if your product idea is a nice to have or a need to have, but you’ll find that out in the customer feedback stage.

    Also, if you can find a very cheap way to present something to people and they actually buy it. The feedback provided from actual customers is the only direction to go. Hope that helps!

Abhi - September 4, 2018

Hi Kelvin, I am so glad I found your blog. It’s really wonderful how clear you are with all the explanation part. I am a new re and i know nothing about growing a business or looking in a right direction to guaze the probable market trends, but I could imbibe each word you spoke. And thanks for those tiny notes that you used to simplify those big terms. I totally loved it. Thanks

Caryl Tunstall - September 8, 2018

Hi! My name is Ms. Caryl Tunstall. I create gift baskets. I first notice that the Hi-Heel is beautiful, for example the single chair in the shape of a stiletto, simply beautiful. I then thought how all other pictures-not-whats etc. don’t seem to function as usable but look pictuous and collect dust setting on a table or a dresser. I felt there should be some need satisfied. So I created stiletto, tennis sneakers, and shapely items like a communion table, antique car and their functionality is to end the need of buying aerosol sprays to deodorize ones home. My what’s are now usable objects. I fear writing a business plan, I don’t know how. I fear writing a brochure, anything dealing with writing/writing a legal promise of any kind. Please Help!

Thank You,

    Kelvin Mah - February 17, 2019

    Do what you can to prove your concept first 🙂 The faster you figure out whether you are wrong or not, the better.

Danny Lew - November 15, 2018

Great article, I have been planning on launching a business blog for quite some time now. This info really helps. Thanks!

Kathy Shifflett - January 13, 2019

Hey Kevin… I found your article, quite by accident, while surfing through Pinterest looking for on-line information of a profession I will be going back into within a few months. I read ALL of the article and took notes too, then remembered I should have used Evernote to Web Clip your advice and amazing information. I have been semi-retired for about 10 years. I will be going back to work in the profession of on-line services in the field of TRANSCRIPTION; medical, general, freelance proofreading and other types of documents needing to be transferred into the written word from dictation. There is a huge market for these services still in spite of automated printing programs from your own dictation into your media devices and such. There are hundreds of hits on the advertised sites that sound great but many turn out to be scams.

I absolutely loved your article. It was so kind of you to take your time and write this process in such a detailed presentation. I have never come across such an article in all of the hundreds of articles I have opened and studied in the last 2 years about on-line work out of your home or any other on-line profession. What amazing information and education I received from your piece. I will use all of your tips and direction of research for my information gathering. I believe this process will be the single most important information I will use in helping guide me through a highly competitive market so I don’t waste my time applying for companies that will not be legit or worth my time. I understand the process and I will use every single suggestion you stated.

I want to thank again you for this article. It is time to rejoin the work force and your information has given me the confidence to get back into my search, with full force and conviction, so I can get back into this competitive profession without delay.

    Kelvin Mah - February 17, 2019

    Congrats on what you’ve been doing so far Kathy. Upwork and Rev.com may be good resources for you to check out 🙂


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