Is Your Business Concept Unique Enough?
:: By Ilan Nass, Fueled ::
At some point, between sitting in your garage scribbling ideas and actually getting your business started, you're going to have to determine whether or not your idea is credible (and viable).
For some, coming up with ideas and 'big pictures' is the easy part. It's actually applying those ideas in a way which will lead to success which is the area most struggle with.
Thoroughly researching your business idea takes work, time and effort, but it's not something you can afford to skip. Otherwise, you might risk your idea falling at the first hurdle or crashing and burning at a slightly later date.
The information below will help to ensure those situations don't occur with your business.
Can you be sure your idea meets an unmet need in the market place?
Alarm bells to ring upon hearing someone mention the size of their potential market share and how many millions they are going to make, without fully articulating a plan on exactly how and why their idea fills a gap or solves a big enough problem. The only way you can know this is by first carrying out extensive market research.
You'll have heard the need for businesses to carry out market research time and time again, no doubt. Entrepreneurs are often so passionate and forthcoming with their ideas, however, that they lose their objectivity. It's vital not to just blindly execute an idea that you're convinced will work in your mind, without first ensuring there's a real space for it in the marketplace.
You can get invaluable information to help determine the potential of your idea by obtaining information from other associations in your industry, studying periodicals, federal and state agencies. You can also carry out simple Web searches (including keyword research where appropriate).
You need to truly understand your market and the potential place your product or service could theoretically take within it, so it's advised to seek out experts to help you when conducting market research. They can advise you on exactly which kind of research is most appropriate, and can assist you in developing questionnaires and finding objectives.
Your research plan needs to clearly state the objectives of the research. The goal is to provide the information to allow you to a) continue with your idea b) tweak it and iron out any problems or c) start over again.
Analyzing your idea
When analyzing your idea, you need to look at it from the following four different perspectives:
1. The Company - Does your product or service fit with the personality you wish your company to have? Does it send the right key messages?
2. The Customer – First consider the purchasers (who will actually buy your product),then the influencers (people who can influence the buying decision) and finally the end users (people who will be in direct contact with your product or service).
3. The Competition – Think about your primary, secondary and tertiary competitors. Their status depends on how frequently your business will be in direct competition with them.
4. The Collaborators – These could be media organizations, or other associations which might benefit directly or indirectly from the success of your company.
Does your idea still make sense after considering all these different perspectives? Ensure that it fits the criteria, or your idea may not be a watertight as you’d hoped.
Who is your competition?
Carrying out your market research will lead you to discovering who your competitors are, but then you need to go one step further and check out exactly what those competitors are up to. The best way to do this is to become one of their customers, or to contact previous customers of theirs. Find out what they're doing right, what they're doing wrong, and why people are choosing that particular competitor over others. The goal is to find the shortcomings and weaknesses of your competition, and offer a solution to customers.
If you are confident that your product or service can solve the needs of your competitors’ customers, then your idea could well be on the path to awesomeness. However, if you determine that your idea doesn’t offer customers a clear advantage in some way, it could mean you idea isn't unique enough and ultimately won’t prove profitable.
Ilan Nass is the head of marketing at Fueled, the leading iPhone app builder in New York City, renowned for its award winning mobile design and strategy.