yourself success by finding a good market"
There is a single most important component that has the most
significant influence on the success or failure of any business.
It is the initial business idea. It consists of your product,
your target market niche, and your unique selling proposition
(USP). If you have a good business idea, and apply the proper
techniques to develop your business, then your success is almost
guaranteed. We'll teach you how to find good business ideas -
that is the mission of our Niche Marketing Research Center.
What makes a good business idea
Let's look closer at the three parts of what we call a business
idea. The "product" term is self-explanatory,
"target market niche" is also widely used, "USP"
is somewhat less known, but we want to make some comments on each
of those terms, regardless of their popularity.
Your product is, pretty obviously, what you
are trying to sell. It can be a tangible item, like a book or
a brick of soap. It can be an electronic item, like an e-book,
or downloadable software. At last, it can be an online community
membership, your professional service, or anything else you are
going to charge your customers for. We call all those things "a
product". The most important attribute of a product is its
value. Your product must be valuable for your
customers, solve their problems, fulfill their wishes, and generally
make them happy.
Your target market niche is your audience, your
potential customers. Your target niche should have a reasonable
size - large enough to make a good profit, small enough
to fit the resources of a small business and avoid competing the
large corporations. And your target audience should be easy
to reach online through the specialized web sites, online
forums, mailing lists, etc.
Your unique selling proposition (USP) is what
connects your product with the target audience. It is the heart
of your business idea. It can be defined as your marketing strategy,
or your business mission. It is the concept that
makes your product something more than one of the items on the
shelf for sale. It must make your product stand out of
the crowd and persuade your prospects that your product
is the only perfect solution to their problems.
If all three parts of your business idea meet the above criteria,
your chances to succeed are quite good. But how can you find such
an idea? Read on, and you'll learn several ways to do it.
Find a niche that matches your knowledge and skills
The best policy when determining your product and target market
is to do what you enjoy doing. You'll achieve
the best results if you love your work. So, first of all, think
about the things you like to do most of all. It may be your current
job, one of your previous ones, your hobby, your favorite kind
of sports, or anything else you like.
Write down all those possible areas of interest,
and then think about each one of them separately. Try to answer
the following questions:
- Would you be glad to choose it as a daily job?
- Do you have some unique skills or knowledge in that field?
- Who would be interested in your proposition?
- Would you like to work with those people?
After that, you should have a list of areas of interest that
have the best chances to bring you the success.
Now, you can pick one of those areas and start structuring
your knowledge. Write down the list of all the basic
things one needs to learn to reach your level of success in that
area. Then put them in a logical order, so that your customer
could learn them in sequence. Then, do the same for each item
in your list - break it into smaller parts, and then arrange those
small parts in a logical order.
When you finish such two-level lists for several areas of interest,
you'll have some ideas about what you can offer to other people.
Look through your lists, and think over each item.
- Do you know anything special about it?
- Do you have any related skills?
- Can you try and create some product to help people solve
- Can you offer something outstanding, not present anywhere
else in the market?
Write down your ideas and try to imagine and
describe a business built on every of those ideas. Some of them
might look weird, but some may be quite viable.
Show your lists and ideas to your friends, listen
to their opinion. They'll surely tell you what ideas they like
most, and maybe they'll even give you some more ideas. They can
also point out some logical mistakes you might have made. Ask
your friends what products they might need, or what they would
be willing to learn. Think how you can help them. Many other people
could have the same problems as your friends. Again, write down
all new ideas and imagine developing a business.
Do some research in the Internet. Find the web
sites related to your areas of interest and your specific ideas.
Learn what other people say about those things. Find some related
online forums, or newsgroups. Listen to what people say, especially
to what they need. If you notice any problems that many people
tend to experience, think how you can help them. See if there
is some serious competition in your field. As always, write down
and think over your new ideas.
And, besides of conducting your research intentionally,
always write down the "incidental" ideas that
come to you during a walk in the park, or during your lunch. The
best ideas often appear at the moments like that, so make sure
you don't forget them. Just make a small note, and then think
it over when you have more time.
If you do all of the above, you'll soon have a ton of ideas.
Of course, they will be of different quality. Pick those that
you like most, and research them more thoroughly. Try to invent
your own products, or find someone else's products that could
make those ideas work. Why consider someone else's products? Because
you can form a joint venture with the product's owner, and take
a commission for selling that product in your specific market
Estimate your chances before the big work
No matter how much you like your idea, don't be in a
hurry. Don't invest your time and money into a new business
until you make sure you'll be able to profit from it. It would
be very disappointing to spend half a year and thousands of dollars
into a new product, and then to be unable to sell it to anyone.
First of all, think, would you buy such a product yourself?
If you feel doubted, then you should probably work on another
Ask your friends if they would find your product
valuable. Maybe they would, but with some changes - write them
Try to estimate your market niche size. Internet
can be useful here. Look at the search engine statistics, try
to find information about the size of mailing lists devoted to
your problem, find your potential competitors and think what will
make you different. Make sure your target niche will be not too
large and not too small.
Make sure your target audience is easily reachable online.
Find and collect the addresses of web sites, online forums, and
other Internet resources related to your product. Those are the
places where you'll want to advertise and seek for joint ventures.
When you have the addresses of the related online resources,
conduct some research in target audience. Place
some announces on the Internet and see how people react. If someone
follows the links in your ads, or writes you email showing some
interest, then your product will definitely be worth something
to someone. You can even estimate the price by simply asking people
how much they would pay for the solution to their problems, and
how much they usually pay for similar products.
Automating the research to save your valuable time
As you have probably noticed, the process of finding business
ideas and estimating their potential is rather time-consuming.
You probably don't want to spend several months just searching
for ideas and evaluating them. You may be late by the time your
research is over, because someone else can take up your target
niche with his or her product at that time.
Salamakha and Val Danilchuk have created a nice software for locating
your Niche Market on the Internet. Click here for more details:
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