If you are an entrepreneur, you’ve probably had the experience of being struck with a “bright idea” that you’re certain will make you money. Hopefully, lots of money. Maybe it’s a new business, a new way to deliver something you already offer, a new joint venture opportunity, or an idea for something you know needs to be invented.
Many of the entrepreneurs I coach have incredibly creative minds and constantly come up with new ideas for their businesses.. That’s part of the thrill of being an entrepreneur. After all, it’s not often when you’re working for someone else that your ideas are valued as much as you’d like them to be. When you are your own boss, you have the opportunity to turn your great ideas into actual products and services you can sell.
But how do you know if your idea will make you money? Or to put it another way, what if nobody else thinks your idea is so great? How much time, money, and energy can you afford to put into a business or a new product or service that doesn’t sell?
Well, I’ll be honest with you. I don’t have a crystal ball and am not able to tell my coaching clients how to predict what the market will like or not like. I wish I could. But there are some easy, cheap (or free) steps you can take to be sure that you create a business, product or service the market will buy.
One of the first steps is to clarify your niche and clearly define what your target market needs. When you have a great idea, it’s hard not to fall in love with it. And when you get attached to an idea, it can cause you to lose a valuable perspective on how viable your idea is. Ask yourself this: “What problem does my idea solve?” It’s much easier to sell solutions to problems than it is to sell really great ideas that are fun and interesting. People will pay to make their problems go away.
Secondly, embrace the awesome, powerful technology we have available to us entrepreneurs and do a bit of market research before you spend money bringing your idea to reality. This research will save you time, energy, money and stress, so it is definitely worth doing beforehand! You can ask questions on Twitter and Facebook to get opinions on your idea, offer a survey to your email list, or create a poll on your blog to get some feedback. And all of these ideas are free, require very little technical ability, and give you an opportunity to engage with your network to get some valuable insight. Some low-cost advertising via Facebook Ads or Google Adwords could also give you exactly what you need to make the right decision about your great idea.
So, if you have a great idea you’d like to bring to market, what information do you need to help you make the right choices going forward? Can you request some feedback and opinions on your idea from your network before you commit more resources? And if you’ve done market research in the past, how did the feedback you received affect your decisions?