I know from the title you might be thinking this is a common sense topic that you already know a ton about, but time and time again people throw all their chips in on their startup without checking if there’s even a market for their product. They get a good idea, their friends agree it’s a good idea, and before you know it they’ve quit their job and gone in debt up to their eyeballs trying to get their little idea off the ground only to discover it wasn’t that original to begin with.
There’s nothing new under the sun! If there’s one thing you take away from this post, please let it be that! I don’t care how innovative you think your idea is, there is a 99.9% likelihood that someone has thought of it before and tried to do something about it. The iPhone wasn’t the first smartphone and Facebook wasn’t the first social media site to ever exist.
The aforementioned examples weren’t successful because they were the first. They were successful because they popularized their respective concepts. They made it shiny and attractive to the masses, and that’s what your goal behind market research should be.
Market research should be conducted before you start your business! I don’t care what anyone else says, you need to have some sort of a business plan before you actually start your own business. Don’t be ashamed of working at McDonald’s while you pursue your business idea. It may slow you down, but it’s always smarter to have another job lined up before you quit the one you have.
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How to Conduct Market Research
Researching your idea’s marketability isn’t just using Google to see if your specific idea exists already or posting your idea to a forum and seeing how many people flock to it. You can’t just spend half a day researching the topic and expect to truly understand how well your idea will sell.
You have to research anything that’s even remotely similar to your idea and use your findings to realistically extrapolate the demand your product can expect to receive once it’s on the open market. While doing this, you need to delve deep into the reasons similar ideas succeeded or failed and critically look at your product in the same light.
Don’t be afraid or too cheap to hire some outside help. There are a ton of market research companies out there that are professionals at what they do. They’ll be able to look at your idea in a more objective and critical light than anyone else will.
All in all, if you really have faith in your idea then you shouldn’t be afraid to put the time and money into making sure you do things right.