Is There a Market for your Product or Service?

Market ResearchBy Mariana Park

Before you dive in and offer a new service or product, it’s essential to validate that you’ll have paying customers. I’ll be sharing three low-cost ways that you can use to assess the potential of your new idea.

Ask Around:

A very low-tech approach to determine the viability of an idea is to interview potential customers. Without trying to sell anything, you can ask questions and assess whether they have a problem or a desire that your product/service could satisfy. For example, you might say, “Other moms like yourself have expressed that X is a problem, but I’m not sure if that would be the case for you?”. Once you have enough conversations you should be able to gauge whether there is a market for your offering.

Google Search:

A second method is to scope out the competition. A quick Google search will give you an idea of the type and quality of the competition. More important than organic search results are the paid ads, shown at the top and along the right side of the search results. These ads can be quite expensive, costing well over a dollar per click (or much more), so if you see an advertiser that is there week after week, it’s a good hint that the ad is bringing in enough customers to cover the ad spend.

Test Run:

Finally, a “trial run” in selling your product or service, even a pared down version, can tell you a lot about what people want. You can use online sites with built in traffic to test your offer. For example, eBay or Etsy can be great for selling physical products, and Craigslist or Elance are great for offering services. You can even cold call or email potential customers. If you simply can’t get people to part with their money, your offering is probably not a good fit for your market. You might try tweaking your offer before giving it up altogether, but you should set a time limit for yourself.

With these techniques you can quickly gather the data you need to support your idea. Once you have the green light, you can invest more energy and funds into fleshing out your offer and acquiring customers.

Mariana Park is the owner of Pre-K Shop, offering nap mats and backpacks for toddlers and preschoolers. You can also connect with her on Facebook or Pinterest .

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