The definition of a sounding board is “a person or group whose reactions to suggested ideas are used as a test of their validity or likely success before they are made public.”
So, where can you find these entrepreneurs to soundboard your idea with? If experienced business people are surrounding you, then you’re lucky. But many of us can only rely on friends and family who may not be as business savvy as needed. This is where online communities can help. You can reach out to forums or social media groups who are in line with your business interests.
Your business idea has potential. Now, you want to see what your potential customers will do. Will they be interested enough in your product/service to go through the trouble of signing up for your waiting list? To put this step into practice, you need two things:
You can create your own community or reach out to entrepreneurs one-on-one. Just make sure you’re taking advice from people who speak from experience. Just like there are a lot of armchair quarterbacks, there are probably even more armchair entrepreneurs — people who only talk the talk.
Yet now, Apple has reversed course once again. With the switch to the new Apple silicon, the various chips that usually make up a Mac (or PC) like the CPU, GPU, and yes, RAM, are now all on one chip: the M1. This chip is (once again) soldered directly to the logic board, making it impossible to upgrade after manufacturing.
Let’s say your idea has an existing market and people are actually paying money for similar products/services. And you came up with a unique offering that’s different from what’s available. Then you’ve asked fellow entrepreneurs, received good feedback and applied everything you learned.
You will always make mistakes in your business journey, but it helps to avoid the usual errors that others made before you. You can Google things and try to learn everything on your own, but a community can significantly improve your learning curve.
People love to talk, but that doesn’t mean they do what they say. Just because you see a number of people “demanding” a product on a popular social media post doesn’t mean they will actually buy it. This is cliché, but actions really speak louder than words. And an existing business with paying customers shows that people really want and need that product/service. You don’t need to spend a dime to do this type of research.
This is where you’ll convince people to sign up. It should be sending the right message and showcasing your product/service in the best possible way. You cannot mess this up. Your idea won’t reach (much less convince) anyone if your landing page sucks. There are many software solutions you can use to create a landing page for your idea.
Even for a one-man-one-company business, entrepreneurs still need other people’s input. You want to talk to people who have done something similar in the past; people who have gone through the same problems, and who can now give you practicable insights on what to do and what to avoid.
Here’s an example of the landing page for my course, digitalbusiness.school. If no one signs up for the waitlist, I know it’s a dud. But if about 10% of the visitors actually sign up for the waitlist, I know I’m heading in the right direction.
Many of the existing online communities don’t really suit me though. So I created The Sounding Board. I wanted someplace where like-minded people can connect with depth and genuine connection.
A successful business shows that there’s existing demand. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying you should just do what everybody else is doing. But it’s important to make sure that your unique solution is solving a general problem.
For the 2018 refresh, however, Apple reversed course. RAM was once again user-upgradeable. Better yet, it supported up to 64GB of RAM, four times as much as the previous Mac Mini. This was a huge boon to the device’s lifespan. “Being able to add memory to a device is one of the best ways to extend its useful life,” Kevin Purdy, repair advocate at repair organization iFixit, explained to Debugger. “Each new version of Mac OS demands a little bit more of its host computer for new features and updated apps. Not being able to use the latest OS updates also means losing access to important security and bug fixes, which also limits the useful life of a computer.”