|I coined this term and acronym. The idea reached me from Tim Ferriss's The 4-Hour Workweek. This is a must-read book for success.
The basics of this principle are that you should market your product before building it.
Too many people do the opposite, Build then Market (BTM). You could spend thousands of dollars and many hours trying to create your great idea. But what if there isn't a market for it?
How is it possible to market a product that doesn't exist? With a few web pages and dollars, the information can easily be yours.
There is a subtle difficulty in this method.
That is finding out that your idea is a flop can be painful. But the money and time you will save to identify this as soon as possible has lots of value. You may find out what small changes are needed to make it successful.
So take an idea of yours and start writing the marketing. A good place to start is via Google (Adwords), Facebook, Twitter's advertising platforms, paid email lists. Your goal is to see if it's worth your valuable time to pursue this.
If this idea is something you want, you have the skills and will learn lots of great lessons in building it. Then it's a no-brainer. Go ahead and build it in your spare time.
You need to create a number of sales pages that sell your idea. You can use Doug Hall's 3 Laws of Marketing Physics to write the ad. This is from one of my favorite books Jump Start Your Business Brain. Then start with an amount of money you're willing to lose. I'd try $100 as starting amount. Note to look for free places to analyze the idea before spending your hard-earned cash. But don't be afraid to spend money to make money. Be careful to not place ads that are too expensive. You want at least 100 trials, which means your ad needs to be $1.00 or less.
While you're advertising you should also be A-B Testing to see if a different version or messaging helps sell it.
When someone clicks your ad, you will display an out of stock page and ask for an email to contact the user when the item is back in stock. You will consider getting the email as a successful "sale" to use for your determination of whether to proceed or stop funding or building the idea.
You can try a crowdsourced Crowdfunding type project and see if there is a demand and you can get funding.
Whatever your idea is, the hard part will be selling it. So the more knowledge you have on its potential, the better off you are.