If this is your first business, now is the time to be unoriginal. That’s not to say copy someone else’s idea, but if you are entering a market which already has similar products or services, you already know that a market exists for your product or service.
When you enter a market where competition already exists, your product or service needs to be better than those businesses already in the marketplace, which means that it’s either got to be cheaper, better quality or offer some other sustainable benefit over and above the competition.
When you enter a new market with a new product or service, you’ve got to spend time educating people about what your product or services does/offers. In a downturn, if there is no compelling need for your product, i.e. it doesn’t scratch your potential customer’s itch, then you won’t sell it and you won’t make any money.
So unless it’s immediately obvious what your product or service does, then you’re going to be spending a lot of time (and money) educating potential customers, which will burn your cash and make it much harder for you to make a return.
Blockbusters come later
If you have an idea for a new blockbuster product, then make this your second or third product launch as your early products will provide you with the cash flow to fund the development of your blockbuster idea.
What are you good at?
Not sure you know what you’re good at? Well, everyone is good at something and you’d be surprised what skills you have.
Start with a blank sheet of paper and fold it down the middle. On one side list all the things you think you’re good at and like to do; e.g. working with people, coming up with innovative ideas, good at sales etc. On the other side list all the things you aren’t so good at or don’t like doing, for example, coming up with ideas, working with others, working with children etc.
The key here is not to over think it, just jot down the things that immediately spring to mind.
What’s your problem?
Taking another sheet of paper, fold that down the middle and on the left side, think about all the problems in your personal life, what would make your life easier? What frustrates you?
After you’ve listed down these items on the right hand side of the page turn your attention to your business life. And list down all the items which would make your business life easier. If you’re already in work think about what you like and dislike about your current job.
Get the juices flowing
Now think about the lists you’ve created above of the things you’ve written down on your personal life list and think of 4/5 products or services which would make your life easier. Then do the same with the business list so you’ve got around 10 potential opportunities in total.
Finally go back to your skills list. Are there any products or services you’d like to offer and have the skills to do?
Think about this:
In 1999 Reed Hastings got a $40 fine for returning his video late. Most people would be pretty annoyed at this. But instead of getting mad, Reed got inspired. He thought why can’t the video rental market be more like the health club market where you pay a monthly fee? Out of his frustration bore Netflix.