Today I’m going to talk about a common beginners’ mistake when starting a new business. It’s one that’s derailed many an early-stage entrepreneur, including me.
Will people actually want my business idea?
I’m also going to give you some tips on how to avoid wasting time and money on this pitfall.
You’d be amazed at how many people launch a new business just because they think it’s a great idea.
But this is a rookie mistake. First, you need to be reasonably confident that people will actually want whatever you’re selling.
It’s an understandable mistake to make. As an entrepreneur, you’re naturally creative and full of business ideas. You get excited about your latest business idea and assume that everyone else will be excited about it too.
In reality, that’s not always the case. You should make sure that your audience actually wants, or even better, needs this idea.
If you can establish a firm want or need, then chances are your business idea will succeed.
It’s really as basic as that.
So how do you go about figuring out if people actually want your business idea?
Is someone already successful with my business idea?
This might sound counterintuitive at first. Aren’t we meant to come up with original stuff?
Market research is an essential way to check if your idea is likely to work.
Spend some time searching on Google, looking on LinkedIn, and examining Amazon. Are people already selling things similar to your business idea?
You should also go where your target audience hangs out online. Interact with them. Find out what their main problems are. Look at popular topics of discussion and comments they’ve made. If any of these relate to your business idea, then you’re probably onto a winner.
It doesn’t even matter if someone is selling the exact same thing. There’s always room for another interpretation.
Just the fact that other people are selling it means that there’s market demand for that product or service.
After all, there is nothing truly original under the sun. Your business idea doesn’t have to be original to succeed.
Many people fall into the trap of thinking that it HAS TO BE ORIGINAL. I’ve struggled with this in my own business endeavours.
In the past, I had a tendency to come up with complex ideas, blending different things to create something unique and exciting. Or at least, I thought it was.
The problem was, I hadn’t taken the time to figure out if people actually wanted it.
In this scenario, sometimes you can still make a success of your idea. But it takes so much more effort to constantly explain to people how your idea can benefit them. For a better chance of success, your idea should be simple and immediately obvious.
I think some of this problem stems from a lack of confidence in ourselves and our ideas. We think that if we’re not 100% original, somebody’s going to call us out.
Or, we think that if everyone else is doing a similar thing, then there won’t be any room left for us.
By doing market research to establish that people actually want what you’re selling, you can move forward with confidence.
Does my idea speak to a key human desire?
Another useful way to find a great business idea is to sell something that fulfils one of the central human desires.
NB: This tends to be a lot easier when you’re selling directly to consumers, rather than to businesses. Consumers can decide instantly if they want to buy, often due to a knee-jerk emotional reaction to your product or service.
Relating to people on an emotional level is an extremely powerful selling device.
So let’s take a look at those central desires and see how we could hang an online business idea around them.
Here are the seven key desires that people will pay for:
- Making more money (e.g. a course on how to charge more for your consulting services)
- Improving their relationships (e.g. marriage coaching or an app that helps people find dates)
- Saving time or improving performance (the Get Things Done (GTD) concept is wildly popular, as are many other productivity hacks)
- Improving their personal appearance (e.g. selling cosmetics, other grooming products/services, or courses teaching how to apply makeup or create a certain hairstyle)
- Improving their personal health and well-being (e.g. online fitness training, weight-lifting tips, diet coaching)
- Maintaining their safety and security (e.g. cybersecurity training, online self-defence classes)
- Having meaningful experiences (e.g. this could relate to all kinds of travel products or services, or online educational services such as learning a new language)
On the psychological side, these key desires relate closely to Maslow’s famous Hierarchy of Needs, which is worth considering for further reinforcement of the above points.
The hierarchy of needs is universal. They’re the key drivers behind our motivation to get things done.
So think carefully about the seven key desires when developing your business idea.
Tap into one (or more) of them, then back it up with solid market research, and you’re far more likely to create a business idea that people actually want.
Have you fallen into the ‘originality trap’ when developing your online business idea?
Tell us more about it in the comments!