I have written in a previous blog article about the so called ‘gap in the market’. Spotting a gap in the market is a key challenge for any business that wants to stay competitive. But proposing a new offer is one challenge, taking it successfully to market presents another.
The world of business is littered with products and services that seemed like great ideas at the time, but for which there was actually no sustainable market.
Whether you have a modest business idea or a new golden ‘widget’ about to set the world alight, what should you do if you have an idea for a new business venture?
1. Research the market
‘No one plans to fail, they fail to plan’. Launching a new product or service without proper planning could seriously undermine both your venture and credibility. If you are seen as a business that plunges into new schemes without thinking them through, customers will doubt your professionalism and drift away.
Test your idea first. Chances are your idea (or a variation) is already being supplied by an existing competitor. Talk to your potential and competitors’ customers and ask them what they think of your idea. Be really clear about your offer and ascertain who is your product/service aimed at? You need to ascertain your potential customers wants and needs.
2. Run a pilot
Running a low-key pilot will help you test demand and iron out problems. Getting some valuable customer feedback will help you identify what works well and whether any changes need to be made. This period of time is invaluable in terms of tackling issues early before they become too onerous.
A lot of our buying decisions are based on the understanding that a product or service has been properly tested or is selling well in another market. If you can tell a potential customer, ‘I can put you in touch with these people who are delighted with it’, puts you in a stronger position.
Also ensure that you manage your customer’s expectations. Do not oversell and under-deliver. Do you have the capacity to meet your potential customer demand?
3. Knowing when a product/service is not viable
Letting go of something that is not working is as important as knowing when to push something that is. If your potential customers are struggling to understand your offer, chances are you either have to change something or forget it completely.
Learn from your mistakes and to embrace failure. The world of commerce is full of very successful business owners and entrepreneurs who have experienced their fair share of failure. The key here is to learn from this and use it to move on.