Use a landing page to validate your idea

As a budding entrepreneur there may well be nothing more exciting than coming up with an idea and making the bold decision to pursue it. Once you know what you want your business to be, the urge to jump in and start building it as soon as you can is a powerful one. This feeling is often accompanied by a sense of urgency that tells us, "If I don't build this now, someone else will!" or "I'm not sharing my idea with anyone, they might steal it!". The result of which finds us squirrelling away in silence until our product is built and ready to be unleashed on the world. There is just one little problem... we haven't validated our idea.

Your marketplace product idea is one of the most important elements of your business plan so it is extremely important to validate it as best you can before you jump to invest time and money building the final product. Validating an idea means sharing and testing with others to prove that there is both a market and a need for it. Without a market for your product, your business won't last very long.

Despite the ease and low cost of getting set up, a single page website can be a powerful tool in helping you validate your business idea and potentially secure your first customers or suppliers. You should aim to keep your website as simple as possible. Begin by outlining the problem that your business will solve, then quickly jump into the 'how' you will solve it. As a marketplace your business will need to be solving a problem for either your supplier or your customers, but ideally both. Outline how your business will help people on both sides of the transaction.

The main reason it is so important to validate your business before you start building is to ensure that the problem you're hoping to solve is actually a problem people need to have solved. By sharing your idea and inviting feedback, you'll quickly learn whether or not your idea is worth pursuing, which, in the case that it isn't, will save you a lot of time and money by not building something people don't need or need. An added bonus to receiving feedback is that people may help you identify another problem they have that would make more business sense to solve than your original idea would have.

An added bonus to collecting feedback is that you start to build your future audience. Your single page website exists to create a conversation around your idea and ultimately to get people excited about it. So in addition to inviting feedback, it can be highly advantageous to also use your page to start collecting email addresses of potential future users. Use the email list to create a newsletter updating them on your progress. If you're solving a real problem for customers and or suppliers, they'll be keen to stay up-to-date so they can be among the first to benefit from your product once you launch. Waiting until after you've launched to start trying to attract customers and suppliers to your marketplace can be one of the biggest hurdles new businesses face. Starting to grow an engaged audience early on in the idea validation process and having that audience become your earliest adopters can be a real benefit to your new business.

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Fiona Burns

UX/UI Designer for Marketplaces

With over eight years of product experience, Fiona designs beautiful, yet easy-to-use marketplace websites. What makes her unique? Well, she's an ex-marketplace founder and has previously worked for a Venture Capital firm so she has experienced life on both sides of the deal! Fiona is based in the UK and has clients all over the world.

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