How many times have you seen a product and thought, I know how to make that better?
Or not seen a product and thought, How is it that no one has invented this yet? And when
havenít you thought, I need to be my own boss? Youíre thinking the right things. Now, the
next step is to take action - and thatís exactly what
One Simple Idea for Startups and Entrepreneurs is all about.
Most people invent backwards. They create a product and then they try to find
a market for it, rather than identifying a market opportunity and creating a
product to fill it. That is especially true of inventor-entrepreneurs, who tend to
create products they personally want, need, or like, giving little or no thought
to who will buy them, where they'll be purchased, and why someone would buy
the product. Some go so far as to bring their ideas to market - prototyping,
patenting, producing, and promoting them - without first identifying and testing
the market, or even confirming there is one for their products.
Creating a product you would buy is one thing; creating a product you can sell
is another. When you're investing all your blood, sweat, and tears into bringing a
product to market, you want assurance that stores will carry it and consumers will
buy it. You can't rely on guesses and assumptions, nor on what your family, friends,
and colleagues think. You need current, real-world information. You need market research.
With a simple idea, you don't need to hire a hotshot (and expensive) marketing
consultant, buy professionally compiled (and expensive) market data, or conduct
fancy (and expensive) market research, analysis, and testing. There are faster,
simpler ways to study and test the market that you can do yourself - and most are free!
Study the Marketplace
Before you get into the game, you have to understand it and have a strategy
to win it. You need to know who your potential customers are, what they are buying,
where they are buying it, and why they are buying it. You also need to know what's
going on in your industry: where the opportunities and growth are, what the barriers
to entry are, who the major players are, and which companies and products you'll
be competing with.
You can learn everything you need to know about your industry, your market, and
your competition by studying the marketplace. Here are some ways to study the market:
To get a handle on the industry and determine how your idea fits into it, you'll
need to answer the following questions:
• What are the hot and emerging market trends in your industry
and product category?
• Is the industry in a period of growth, decline, or stability?
• Are sales in your product category increasing, decreasing, or holding steady?
• Who are the major players in your product category?
• How many players are in your product category?
• Where and how is your product category sold?
• What is the range of products within your category?
• Are there products comparable to yours?