How much of this story describes your path? Because of your background you have a unique perspective that sparked an idea that you’re sure will take off with consumers. It might be a new product or maybe it’s a new and more cost effective way to provide a service that consumers need. You can’t believe that other entrepreneurs haven’t thought of it but their loss is your gain.
You’ve thought it through and even put together the beginnings of a business plan and that plan looks really good to you. You showed it to a few friends and family members and they gave you the thumbs up. They found the brilliance in your idea as well.
As of now you’ve either opened your new business startup or you’re getting close. It won’t be long now.
There’s no doubt that your idea might be what consumers needed but if you don’t know that before investing money in to your idea, that’s a very dangerous path. Before you go much past the idea phase, you have to conduct market research. It’s not hard to do and it may save you a lot of money later on. Here’s how.
When you think of market research, you’re probably thinking of surveys. This can be a great first step but beware. Family and friends want to be supportive of you so their responses are likely to be skewed. The key to a successful survey is to find a large cross section of respondents that don’t know you and would have no problem telling you that your idea needs work.
If you really want to get quality market research, talk to people. Instead of limiting their responses to prewritten questions on a survey, prepare some open ended questions that allow them to talk about their needs in the area. You might get a lot of long, sometimes vague answers but think of the insight you’ll gain.
First, watch their body language. You can tell if you hit on something important by watching how they react instead of just what they say. Second, within their answer you might find that your original idea wasn’t quite right but with some minor changes you would have a strong business model.
Finally, remember that any feedback is good feedback. If your market research reveals that your idea isn’t that great after all, you just saved yourself a lot time and money. Go on to another idea. It only takes one great idea to be a successful entrepreneur.