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Why You Must Beta Test Your Product or Service

When I first decided that I wanted to become a business consultant I was terrified. I didn’t have an MBA and you would never catch me wearing anything fancier than my fanciest pair of jeans. I was CLEARLY not your typical consultant and yet I had started, run and sold my brick and mortar skin studio and had learned SOOOO much along the way. But was it enough to help others? Was this a viable business idea?

When we are diving into uncharted waters, it’s scary.

When you are launching your own business for the first time or even simply trying something new in your existing business, it can be terrifying. But one thing that is nice about having a small operation, is that you can easily test the waters before diving in too deep.

Unlike large businesses or product based businesses (with higher overhead), you can test your next idea with little to no cash flow and without having to rely on an angel investor that you’ll be entitled to hand your profits over to for eternity.

Beta Testing IS your angel investor!

Intrigued?

Why you must beta test your product or service/

What can beta testing be used for?

Beta testing isn’t just a fancy thing that chemists and machinists do. It’s a process that I recommend all people run through when they are creating:

  • a new business
  • a new course
  • a new service
  • or pretty much anything that you are hoping to gain more confidence around before selling it to your buyers.

What is beta testing?

Beta testing is a vetting process by which you take your idea and bring it to life all while gaining:

  • Confidence in your new creation
  • Feedback about how you can improve it (think structure, systems, flow and things that you wouldn’t ever think about if people weren’t pointing them out!)
  • Testimonials that you can use to help sell this new creation down the road
  • Clarity about whether or not you even want to pursue said idea (yep- don’t buy that new website before you do this!)

How do I beta test like a pro?

Any type of testing before you launch is recommended, but I warn you…the lazier you are on your testing, the less likely you will be to profit from your new creation (seriously, I’ve seen this time and time again!)

If you want to test to greater success, here are the 4 key areas that you should have in place to ensure a successful beta test:

  1. Pick your idea and identify its value: Most people have a lot of ideas, but for testing to be successful, I want you to pick 1 and identify its value and benefit for your target audience. Saying “I want to offer you coaching” isn’t enough.You will want to break down the nitty gritty of what you hope that your testers will achieve because believe it or not, it isn’t always easy to find people to test your stuff, so being SUPER clear is key.
  2. Set your beta testing goals: Many people go into testing with no goals other than to “try to get new clients”. While that is a great goal, you likely have a couple others (like getting feedback to improve your processes and getting testimonials to showcase when you are done).The goals that you choose will dictate the how you set up your testing process and what systems you include to lead up to you actually getting what YOU want out of the testing process. I’m amazed at how many people hope to get testimonials from their beta test, but don’t do good prep work and follow up work to make sure that their 1 goal from testing is met.
  3. Create Boundaries: If you don’t create really good parameters and boundaries around your testing, you will end up in a sticky situation where you never told your tester what to expect and they end up irritating you because they keep “crossing the line” or “asking for more help” beyond what you had included in the testing process.A few ideas of things that you will want to educate your testers on before starting are things like:
    • How long will they have access to you or your product?
    • How should they communicate with you during the testing process (email, phone, etc and how quickly will you respond)?
    • What are you charging (if anything)?
    • How and when should they pay (if you are charging)?
    • What is your cancellation policy (if you include sessions or one on one time)?
  4. Package, Price and Place your offer: Just because you are beta testing, doesn’t mean that you get to slap a sloppy Facebook post together and get a bunch of eager signups. Just because it is free or less expensive doesn’t mean that people will want to take the time out of their busy lives to partake. So if you haven’t packaged up what you are testing, it will be much harder to get signups!

So at a minimum, create a good headline and core message for your offering, speak to their problem, offer a solution and respond to their concerns. Think of this as your mini sales page!

Of course, you will still want to create a graphic to market this is you can as well as identify exactly where you want to promote your beta test. This could be done in Facebook groups or even by simply reaching out to people via email who you think might be a good fit.

In my beta testing course I also recommend that you get a mini-logistics plan in place so that you can impress testers from their very first interaction with you so that they will be more likely to want to work with you again once the testing process wraps up!

The trick is to get this together fast, remain efficient and test soon (so that you can profit sooner!)

If you have suggestions for testing or questions about the process feel free to comment below and I’ll personally answer each one!

betalabIf you’ve got amazing ideas and a brand new product or service to sell, in order to make sure it flies off the shelves and creates raving fans, you’ve gotta beta test it first! Anna Long created Beta Lab to help you do just that – create and test for success. Her course will help you never have to worry about launching to crickets (and unhappy customers) again.

Anna Long-Stokes Anna Long-Stokes is a travel addict and a Profit Strategist (with an intuitive flair). She has helped over 150 entrepreneurs grow and profit in their online and brick and mortar businesses using her signature Pivot to Profit™ system. She is a huge fan of beta testing your ideas for success and has created a popular self-paced course and community for entrepreneurs looking to create and test their ideas. When she’s not consulting or growing her brick and mortar skincare studio; you can find her being a complete and total hedonist enjoying Portland’s yummy cuisine, occasional sunshine and salsa clubs. Find her on Twitter and Facebook.

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{ 9 comments… add one }
  • Great tips and check lists, Anna. And super convenient timing. I’m bookmarking this, to pull out a few weeks from now as I gear up for another beta of my own.

    • So glad you found helpful Emily! If you check out my site I have a 6 part free training with daily testing prompts if you want those reminders (ie. a kick in the pants) as you create it!

  • This was the kick in the pants I needed; I had no idea there was so much that goes into the beta-testing process! Thanks for an awesome rundown, definitely bookmarking for my course later!

    • It’s true Trista, there is a bit that goes into it, but the good thing about it, is that once it’s done, it funnels directly into your paid offering (so less work down the road).

      Keep us in the loop as you work on your course!

  • To be honest, your step by step outline could not have come at a better time! Thanks Anna!

  • Wonderful article. Especially the How To list is comprehensive and useful. I liked the title very much, it is compelling and interesting. Tweeting.

    Sriteja.

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