Hi everybody, my name is Naomi Burgess, and this post is about ideas.
Ideas are the cornerstones of all businesses. But no matter how many businesses there are in the world, the number of ideas people have every day is much higher. Some of them are good, some are even great. But how can you tell if your idea has what it takes to serve as a foundation of a company?
Answer – you can’t.
While I absolutely understand believing that your idea is completely unique and that it has the potential to change the world, you don’t know that the others would feel the same way about it. And by “others”, I don’t mean friends and family. Chances are, 95% of them would be biased and their view of the idea would be unreliable. Unless one of them is an investor and/or a major player in your chosen industry, they’re unlikely to have a way of telling if your idea is a money-maker. It may sound harsh, but if you’re serious about starting a business, you need to be as realistic as possible about your entrepreneurial plans and if your friends and family are the only people who’d looked over them, you might not get an accurate estimate of your idea’s potential.
So what can you do?
You can get an objective, outside opinion from someone who’s not a friend or a family member – preferably a member of your potential target audience. This is your chance to learn to think like a client and take in all the feedback you get about any potential adjustments you’d need to make to your proposed product. This is an opportunity to carry out your market research and gather the data, based on which you can decide whether your idea actually has merit.
Market research, as I stressed earlier, doesn’t equal simply asking opinions of friends and family. It’s a lengthy process that requires careful observation of the current industry trends, consumer behaviors, compiling the profile of your target audience, and many other activities. It is not an easy task, but it’s doable and absolutely vital. The unbiased points of view you’d receive as a result, coupled with facts and figures, would serve as an excellent source of information and inspiration for a great business plan that you would be pitching to the investors. People who are going to read your business plan would want to see everything I mentioned – facts, figures, statistics, research analysis – opinions of friends and family are distorted by their desire to support you and your enthusiasm, and they mean little to the investors.
So how can you get started on market research?
Read your chosen industry’s latest news, look up the statistics on the usage of the newest products in the industry, carry out product surveys – thankfully, social media today makes all of the above much simpler than it used to be. Read the threads on forums to find out what consumers want – is it the product that you’ve come up with? If not, what can you do to your idea that would make it a money-maker? At the age of the Internet, there are a lot of approaches to market research that you can take. If you focus on the facts and analyse them carefully, you never know – your idea might truly turn out to be amazing!