I’ve seen this time and time again with my clients, regardless of size or industry. Someone has a “hunch” about a new product or service idea, and they rush in with guns blazing. Resources are allocated, lots of time is consumed, and a brand-new product or service is launched.
It seems, alas, that nobody is actually interested in purchasing your new product or service (or maybe you get a handful of takers, but far too few to boost your bottom line).
What went wrong? It’s all well and good to get excited about a new way to serve your customers, but it’s important to temper that enthusiasm with some good old-fashioned research.
And by “research” I don’t mean hopping onto Google. You can do that, but actually talking to prospective customers for this new product or service is a far better bet. And not just one or two (you know, the one or two existing customers who sparked this idea in the first place) but a whole bunch of them.
You’ll know you’re on to something if a lot of folks sound just as excited as you are, or maybe even more so. They’ll say things like:
- “We would pay anything for that.”
- “When can you have it ready?”
- “How do we sign up?”
Don’t be fooled by semi-positive responses like these:
- “Maybe we’ll look into it when it’s up and running.”
- “I’ll think about it.”
- “I suppose that might potentially be something we’re interested in.”
The bottom line is that customers (like the rest of us) would like to have all sorts of things – but you only want to spend your time and efforts on things they are actually willing to pay for.
An even better test, which is possible with certain products and services, is to see if people are willing to pay upfront – a deposit, say, or an early-bird price before development is complete. That way, you not only have some indisputable evidence that they are willing to pay for your idea – because they already have – but also some extra cash to help set it in motion.