So, you’ve got a great business idea and you just know that your product or service is needed by thousands of consumers around the globe. Going with your gut feeling – along with the support of your family and friends – you move forward vigorously to get your plan in motion so that you can start providing the “long awaited” item to the world. Unfortunately, though, after paying for an awesome website, and putting the final touches on your product, nothing happens. No sales. No customers. Uh oh….
While the business idea that you have may very well be a great item, before you rush off to quit your day job, print a stack of business cards, and commit to a hefty business loan, it is imperative that you first make sure that the business will “fly.” Just exactly what does that mean?
According to bestselling author Pat Flynn, it means that your business idea has real merit, and that it has the components for being a success in the market place, rather than being a waste of your time and resources. In other words, you may very well have a viable offering, but if it isn’t something that fits the needs of your target customer – and that fits those needs better than other similar products or services that are currently available to them – then you won’t likely be a contenstant on Shark Tank any time soon.
When you’ve got an idea that you really believe in, it can be difficult not to act on it quickly – especially if there could be someone else out there with the same idea who could get to the market first. But the reality is that it is imperative to first test your idea in order to determine if it has real validity. For example, you should ideally have hard evidence that the product or service will be in demand. This can be accomplished by conducting some careful market research, which can include surveying your business contacts, calling people, and even knocking on doors.
A growing market for your product can also be a good indicator that it may succeed. In this case, keep in mind that all market cycles go through certain phases: emerging, growing, mature, and decline. Given these stages, where would you categorize the demand for your offering? If it appears that it would be in the growing or emerging phase, then you may be on to something. But if the market for it seems more like it’s starting to decline, then you may need to go back to the drawing board. Even so, though, it’s much easier to know where your offering may stand before you invest a substantial amount of time and money into it.
What, if any, business ideas have you had where you did – or didn’t – first research it before moving forward?