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5 Ways to Validate a Business Idea, Right Now

Don't let your day job or lack of capital stop you from finding and testing a business idea. Here's how.
Last year, I embarked upon a personal challenge to validate a business idea in 30 days. To make it even more difficult, it was a random idea chosen by my readers. They asked me to do it without using my existing website, traffic and business connections and without spending more than 20 hours per week on the project. On top of that, I limited myself to spending no more than $500 validating this idea. The experiment was a success.In just two weeks, I built an email list of 565 subscribers without having an actual website. Then, I reached out to a handful of those subscribers and pre-sold 12 copies of a book that didn't even exist yet, all in less than 30 days. I wrote about the experiment in real-time with in-depth weekly updates, successes, failures and lessons learned along the way, right here in my validation challenge. Today, I want to share with you the five most effect…

Business: 20 Mind-Boggling Facts Every Business Leader Must Reflect On Now

Business as we know it is changing.  But some business leaders aren’t convinced that it will affect them or their business.
But the truth is, business is changing at a fundamental level. Some of the key leadership challenges of today include the advent of big data, data becoming a major business asset, AI taking over, platform businesses challenge traditional suppliers, the sharing economy, 3 D printing, robots becoming more intelligent, and more.
These eye-opening facts show the importance of all the things I continue to write about here, capturing the key tech trends and business challenges every leader should reflect on…
  1. More data has been created in the past two years than in the entire previous history of the human race.
  2. By the year 2020, about 1.7 megabytes of new information will be created every second for every human being on the planet.
  3. Within five years there will be over 50 billion smart connected devices in the world, all developed to collect, analyze and share data.
  4. For a typical Fortune 1000 company, just a 10% increase in data accessibility will result in more than $65 million additional net income.
  5. Retailers who leverage the full power of big data could increase their operating margins by as much as 60%.
  6. In Aug 2015, over 1 billion people used Facebook in a single day.
  7. By 2020, we will have over 6.1 billion smartphone users globally. That’s more than traditional landline phone accounts.
  8. Still skeptical about the sharing economy? Airbnb is valued at around $25.5 billion, which is more than hotel giants Marriott ($20.90 billion), Starwood ($14 billion), and Wyndham ($10.01 billion). Hilton Worldwide is valued at $27.7 billion. What’s more, Airbnb don’t own a single hotel room.
  9. 72% of Americans have participated in the sharing economy according to a Pew research study.
  10. But 73% of Americans are not familiar with the term “sharing economy,” and 89% are not familiar with the “gig economy.”
  11. The sharing economy is most popular with people who have incomes over $100,000 and under the age of 45.
  12. The number of photos taken each year has tripled since 2010 and is projected to grow to 1.3 trillion by 2017.
  13. Seventy-five percent of all photos are now taken with some kind of phone, up from 40 percent in 2010.
  14. On a year-over-year basis, funding to AI startups jumped 302% in 2014, which include companies working in natural language processing, machine learning, deep learning and predictive APIs among other applications.
  15. According to Wikipedia, Pinterest has 500 employees, while Kodak still employs more than 6,500. Pinterest is valued at $11 billion, while the most recent valuation of Kodak we could find put it at around $900 million.
  16. Gartner projects 6.4 billion internet connected things in 2016, up 30% from 2015.
  17. The first 3D printed drug was approved by the FDA in 2015. 3D-printed human tissues have also been successfully implanted into animals, and the tissues continued to function after several months.
  18. As of writing this article, there are almost 16 million Bitcoins in circulation, and the value of a bitcoin is $672.
  19. Despite concerns and bad press, as of this writing, there are more than 225,000 Bitcoin transactions per day.
  20. Less than 0.5% of all data is ever analyzed and used, just imagine the potential here.
  21. I hope that these facts make it very clear that things are changing, and changing fast. Every business leader needs to reflect on these trends and create strategies to thrive in this fundamentally new business context.
    - Bernard Marr 
    Bernard Marr is a best-selling author & keynote speaker. His new book: 'Big Data in Practice: How 45 Successful Companies Used Big Data Analytics to Deliver Extraordinary Results'