Each year more & more individuals and businesses have great ideas that they feel could create value in the marketplace and in the world. This is great, but at some point, they each have to be able to step back and ask themselves if this idea just that, a great idea, or is this truly an opportunity to do something worthwhile. The ability to do this is what separates strong businesses & brands from the rest of the pack.
You may be asking yourself, “Well how do I know if it’s truly an opportunity worthwhile?” Let’s take a look at the one overarching question that should serve as an identifier of whether or not you should move your idea forward or whether you should just let it go.
“Does the idea/business you have in mind alleviate the frustration experienced by a large enough group of consumers to make it with your while?”
This may seem like a simple question on the surface, but by answering this you’ll answer the two important questions that are essential to the formation and maturation of any business.
What type of business are you in?
It’s easy to say, “Oh I sell clothes/style hair/do make-up/etc…” While that may be the good or service you want to push, that is not the business that you are going into. Throughout most industries there are already multiple other players in the exact market you plan to enter, so if you’re going into this with only a product to push your time there will be short-lived. In order to truly succeed over a long period of time, your focus has to focus on user experience. When people do business with you they want to be left with a great feeling. These feelings can range from power and beauty to sex appeal and fantasy, and everything in between. Whether your business provides at least one feeling that gives the user a sense of being accepted into society could be the difference between life & death for the business.
Who is your ideal customer?
Once you know what type of business you are in that has helped to vastly narrow down and identify your ideal customer demographic. Businesses need customers to survive and the hunter that best knows his prey is bound to be the most successful. You should be able to readily identify both the demographic and psychographics of the customers most essential to your business. Demographics such as age, sex, income, education, family status, and so forth are easier to see. The true test lies in the psychographics. Psychographics answer the question “Why does your customer buy?”.
This is perhaps the most important question as to whether your idea is worth pursuing. Does your idea meet a perceived need for your prospective customers? Your selling opportunities will be greatly limited if your product doesn’t meet the perceived needs of the customer. Most customers don’t know the reason behind why they buy, but if you can figure that out and speak to that need then you’re in a much better position to succeed.
The important thing when answering these three questions is to be 100% honest and realistic with yourself. Taking the time to figure these things out will both save time and energy whether or not you decide that it’s an opportunity worth pursuing. To learn more about this concept and others that are essential to starting, growing, and maintaining a business the right way read The E Myth by Michael E. Gerber.