Entrepreneurship lesson: Test your concept locally

Testing your concept locally will save you money, headaches and a broken heart.


TULSA, Okla., January 20, 2015 — Entrepreneurship has become an increasingly popular alternative to working for an established company. Millennials do not want to work for one company for their entire careers, and they also want control of their own destiny.

Entrepreneurship has become much easier with the development and maturing of the Internet. The business space can now be virtual rather than brick-and-mortar. All it takes is Internet access, good sales skills and the ability to identify a market need.

One way of determining whether your product or service meets a need is to start local. For example, if you are selling t-shirts, rather than risking money on a national campaign, start selling them at local festivals, events and farmers markets. Selling locally helps you gauge demand for your product and respond to consumer likes and dislikes, generally without a massive outlay of capital.

You should begin your local foray by testing your product or service with people who do not know you. The Kauffman Foundation started the 1 Million Cups series with local chapters throughout the nation, providing accessible space where local entrepreneurs have the opportunity to see what the marketplace has to say about their products. The last thing you want is for your family members to tell you your t-shirt concept is the best in the world, and then, only later, discover that the market disagrees.

One last suggestion: Make sure your product or service is one that you yourself would buy or use. If you were selling a t-shirt that you wouldn’t wear, why would you expect others to wear it? Make sure you stand 100 percent behind what you are selling. Otherwise you will find it very difficult to sell your product to the public.

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