I went so long in the past without money, its so scary to actually spend money.
The answer is "it depends". It depends on the following:
1) Your current 'runway': [How much money you have saved + Your current recurring income - Your current expenses].
2) How much money it would take to develop a 'minimal viable product' (MVP) that would allow you to test your idea. (i.e. would it require 0.1% of your savings + income, or would it by 50%)
3) How much potential you think your idea has.
Usually, the cost of #2 is something that can be made _much_ cheaper than you might initially imagine. This can be done by truly understanding what the core 'value proposition' is that you want to test, and understanding very affordable, minimalist techniques that will allow you to develop a product capable of testing it with potential customers. I've done this many times in the past, and it has allowed me to rapidly test out and iterate many ideas with very small capital investment needed.
Again, the answer depends on understanding the details of the previously listed issues #1, #2, and #3 above. If you'd like to discuss the specifics of your idea and whether an MVP could possibly be quickly and cheaply created and tested, either do some online research on potentially cheap and easy tools that might help out, or let me know, I'd be happy to help,
My personal Sunset Rule might be handy.
If I can't make a sale by sunset, I figure my idea is worthless + I get a new idea.
You can scale this also... so if I can't make several $1000s of sales for a few hours work, then I get a new idea also.
Tip: If you make sales for $0 investment, you can never go upside down + your idea will scale forever.
It depends on how you define 'test'. I've never been an advocate of fledgling businesses front-loading expenses. Money should be spent where and when necessary to support business development.
Well yes & no.
Yes, coz if you've identified a gap in the market you wish to serve and if you feel your potential idea may fill the gap, you should test it out. However testing would include the following:
1. Understanding the need for such an idea - you might have to do a market research to heat map your audience and demographics.
2. Product / Service benefits & Configuring a pricing system for your business service or product - it is inevitable to put together the right value proposition to your audience along with the appropriate price point.
3. Outline the go to market strategy to reach out to your target market.
There are plenty of cost effective methods to execute the pointers above.
No, if you're the only one excited with the idea and planning to invest time and money without proper focus or plan.
1 cost-effective tip for testing a potential idea is to start a mastermind group with a close group of family and friends where you can bounce your ideas and test responses initially.
If you have further questions, feel free to schedule a call.
I think if you have used the word 'potential' with your idea, I am assuming that you have done the basic market research for feasibility of the idea. I would say, you must spend a small amount of money to test that idea, otherwise how would you know if it actually has the potential or not.
If you are in the idea stage, yes you should absolutely test your business idea, but the testing should not cost you any money. If you are planning to start a business you want to make sure your customers want what you are trying to sell, or there is no point in building the product or service.
The reason it should not cost you anything is because at this stage you should be able to talk to 30-50 potential target customers to get a sense of how interested they are in your idea. If you see consistent interest by 70 - 80% of the people interviewed,then your idea has merit and you should think about building an MVP.
As has been described by other answers here, you need to know the following
1. Know who your target customer is
2. Know how to clearly communicate your idea
Happy to talk if you'd like to brainstorm about how to test your idea.
All the best!
If you don't feel comfortable about spending money for that matter than don't do it or at least do it in a limited manner and on a specific goal.
I don't do it personnally and I am currently developping BtoC sales for an innovative technology on the field of housing water treatment. For business it means that I have to spend sometimes on my own for that matter. And anyway this is the best way to understand where are the bottlenecks in my offer !
Hope this can help you.