You have just thought of a brilliant business idea, and it sounds great, maybe too good to be true. Your family and friends are even more excited than you are, and have encouraged you to implement your business plans immediately. Well, you need to pump the brakes right there. You have done a great job, and it is commendable, but a successful business doesn’t start and end with a plan. You still have a lot of work to do to bring your idea to fruition.
The truth is, many businesses have started this way and weren’t able to survive the past few years. Before investing time and resources into your business plan, you must test its validity. But how can you do this?
Simple. You pitch your business plans or plans to investors or potential customers and get some feedback. This way, your business plan is evaluated thoroughly by several people before being presented to your potential investors. It makes it easier to identify errors, and ambiguity and cover any biases in your pitch.
It is often not enough to rely solely on the feedback and support of your family and friends. You will also need to reach out to people who can give unbiased and neutral feedback about your business plan. There are several places, people, or platforms you can get this feedback from. In this article, we would share some ways to get the feedback you need to fine-tune your business plan.
Where Can You Pitch Your Business Idea And Get Feedback?
What could be better than practicing pitching to the potential investors you hope to invest in your business idea? Your potential investors are one of the significant determinants of your business plan’s authenticity and validity. When you pitch to them, they help you identify loopholes in your data, numbers, and any other errors you may need to correct. In addition to this, you can present your business pitch to investors outside your industry. They help to give feedback from a different perspective and can also identify any errors that were formerly missed.
Presenting business pitches to potential investors and those outside your industry is a great way to get authentic and unbiased feedback on your business plan. This way, you can get professional advice and stand a higher chance of building a successful and long-lasting business.
Business Plan and Pitching Competitions
Although most business plans and pitching competitions come with monetary prices, they offer you another significant benefit – feedback. Participating in this type of competition guarantees you targeted, unbiased, specific, and undiluted feedback. You also get some advice where needed and personal guidance. You should take part in at least one pitching competition to help polish your business ideas. If your pitching is good enough, you can also win some of these competitions.
Note that the quality of these competitions may vary, as well as the monetary prizes attached. However, it would be best if you still gave it a try. If you get to win, you can invest your reward in your business.
Surveys are a great way to get neutral feedback from your potential customers. These surveys can be created using survey tools. There are several free tools you can use to achieve this, such as Surveymonkey. Surveys with these free tools are easy to make and can be sent to several people within a few minutes.
You can reach a wider audience by posting your survey on blogs, social media pages, newsletters, and forums and encouraging individuals who fill it in to share it with friends. To motivate people to respond, you can attach a prize to the survey, or a money-off voucher for interested buyers when you finally launch your product or service.
While you may not run your whole business pitch for your audience or potential customers in this survey, you can get their feedback through questions. Ensure that your survey contains critical questions aimed at getting an idea of their problems and how willing they are to bring practical solutions.
Based on this feedback, you can create and present an informed business pitch. Also, you can improve your products or services to meet your potential customer’s needs effectively.
University Entrepreneurship Centers
Several universities provide a lot of helpful resources that can come in handy for you. The majority of them have business or entrepreneurship schools that train and encourage new business owners. Some of these platforms also allow the members to participate in competitions that help fine-tune their business ideas/plans.
Although this is primarily made available to students, non-students can also participate. If you aren’t a student, you can reach out to your alma mater or check local universities close to you. Some universities allow non-students to access some resources and programs.
Through University Entrepreneurship Centers, you get to communicate, share ideas, and learn from newbies and business owners. You also get to know the Dos and Don’ts of pitching from people’s mistakes, training, and competitions.
Angel investors are high net-worth private investors who invest in start-up businesses. Pitching your business plans to angel investors is a great way to get authentic evaluation and feedback.
If you have problems finding an Angel investor, several platforms can help you find local or regional angel investors. Some of these platforms include Gust, AngelList, and so on. You can find investors who may be willing to hear you out on these platforms and give you feedback. If you are lucky enough, you can even get one to invest in your plan.
Pitch To Your Family And Friends
Pitching your ideas or plans to family and friends unfamiliar with your industry is a great way to access its simplicity. How simple and straightforward your plan is, goes a long way in determining your investors’ and prospects’ interests.
Presenting your plan to this group of people is an easy way to identify loopholes in your business description. To ensure that you carry everyone along, you must make your plan and ideas all-inclusive. This way, you can attract investors and potential customers, even outside your industry.
Why Do You Need Feedback?
- To fine-tune your business idea/plan
No matter how good a business plan appears, it can always be better. One way you can make a good business plan better is to get feedback on it. If you were left to access your business plan by yourself, you might likely find it perfect just because it’s yours. It is difficult for many individuals to spot their flaws. This, coupled with the excitement of starting something new, may make it difficult to review your business plan without a touch of bias. For this reason, you will need neutral and objective people to review your business plan and give you feedback.
- To understand your potential customers
Getting feedback from industrial professionals alone isn’t enough. Feedback from potential customers is highly instrumental in delivering a great business plan. Avoid assumptions as much as possible and do all you can to know your customers well. Reaching out to your potential customers, and finding out their problems, thoughts, and needs is a great way to get feedback. If you can successfully do this, you can present a better business plan and satisfy your potential customers.
- Make your product/service better
Neutral and unbiased feedbacks aren’t just right for your business plan, but also for your products/service. They help you to identify areas in your business plan that you need to modify. Receiving and implementing feedback can make your product or service even better. By acting on them, you can improve your product and serve your potential customers even better. This, although instrumental to start-up businesses, is also applicable to every other business. Ensure that you discern carefully what feedback to act on. Not all feedbacks are beneficial to you or your business.
The importance and benefits of pitching your proposed plans, and getting feedback on them cannot be overemphasized. Without feedback, you can make minor errors in numbers, data, or both that can cost you a lot in the long run. If you can, make sure you apply two or more options listed above to get well-rounded and neutral feedback.
When pitching your plan, ensure that you limit the details you give out. You wouldn’t want to see a miniature version of your business compete with and beat you in the marketplace. Ensure that you keep the intricate details of your plan protected and share only your business idea’s general ideas and concepts. This way, you can keep your thoughts protected. Also, develop some thick skin; you will need it. Don’t expect the feedback to be completely lovely or soothing; prepare your mind to receive some not-so-nice comments. Try not to take comments personally. If the criticism is genuine and constructive, accept it, and use it to improve your business plan and your product/services too. As you apply the advice and feedback you are given, you are sure to come out with a better business plan.