Start your own business by finding a profitable market
Go where there are hungry customers
A lot of people start their own business because they think they have the next million dollar idea. They spend all their time, energy and money trying to develop and bring this idea to the market. They start a business based on something that they like, enjoy and are passionate about.
Unfortunately, that's the worst way in the world to start a business. Just because you and your friends happen to think the product is great, that doesn't mean the world is going to embrace and buy your product.
To drive home the point, let me ask you a question. What's the most important factor for success when you go fishing: the tackle, the bait or the location? Well, you may have the latest and greatest tackle and the most alluring bait in the world, but if you happen to go to a spot where there are no fish, are you likely to catch any? Of course not! If you want a successful fishing trip, the most important factor is being where the fish are.
The same concept applies to business. If you want to start a successful business, you need to offer a product or service that the market already wants. Unless you have financial resources to waste, you won't have enough time or money to develop a product and then create a market for it; you need to be certain that the market for the product or service is already there, waiting to be tapped.
Now I am not for a minute suggesting that you copy someone's product or service exactly. Find a need and then develop your product that fills that need. But in doing so, make your product unique - develop your niche- fill the need in a unique manner. You will need to add your own unique twist to the product or service. If you are simply delivering the same thing that everyone else in the market is delivering, then you will be reduced to competing on price. And if you are competing on price you are setting yourself up to go out of business. You need a unique value proposition. Add something extra to the product or service. Fill the existing need but at the same time make your product or service distinct.
A few simple tips to find a market
- Are there books and magazines that are currently center around your product or service?
- Are your target customers easy to reach? Do they have some common demographics?
- Does your target market have the means to buy? You could create a market for people that were maxed out on credit cards but many may not be in a position to buy.
- Can you describe the benefits of your product or service in 20 seconds or less? Can you clearly articulate your ideal customer/client? If your product or service fits everybody, you do not have a target market or ideal client.
- There are numerous methods of identifying markets using Google. Put in some key words and see how many advertisers are paying for clicks.
Evaluate and test to ensure your business idea will be successful
You may be thinking that your idea for the new product is so unique and has so many advantages that it is sure to be a huge success. You probably have even ask some friends, relatives and employees to evaluate your idea. They probably all gave you glowing endorsements. Armed with this support, you may be tempted to plunge ahead. Don't!
First, your friends, relatives and employees will not, in fact probably can't give you an objective assessment of your new product. They more than likely think a lot like you, otherwise you would not spend a lot of time with them. More than likely, they see the world through the same narrow lens that you do. It is extremely difficult for creators of product to let go of their own thoughts and think like their target market. But if you are going to be successful, that is exactly what you need to do. Figure out what the market wants and supply that. Do not seek validation from those who are close to you. Their opinions are rarely totally objective. They will, often subconsciously, tell you what they think you want to hear. That does you no good.
Learn to test your product and test on a small scale. Do not have a few thousand products made only to find there is no market. There are a number of ways to test the viability of a product before you spend all the money and energy to bring it to the market. This is time, energy and money well spent. You must listen to what the market is telling you. If you ignore what the market is telling you, you will be making a huge mistake.
© 2008 John Chancellor