Launching a product or business under the wrong auspices could be a disaster.  While most entrepreneurs are excited to introduce their offering, the majority fail after the first year or two.  These businesses fail to meet sales expectations for numerous reasons, including upset or confused customers, a crowded competitive marketplace, or a negative return on investment.

It’s important to understand the current offering, which areas are entrenched, and the opportunity areas that the existing competitors are ignoring.  The barriers are just as important; there may be a reason why the other companies are avoiding certain areas or maybe you can develop a way to reduce the barrier?  Study the competition before you finalize your product features and benefits.  

A great idea is one thing, but it won’t monetize unless you can verify that the idea is a need among your target consumers and represents a white space versus the competitive offerings.  The best launches delight the target audience by being better, newer, and solving a meaningful problem for your audience. The only way to discern this is to identify and measure your target’s needs and wants, prior to launch.

Is the audience larger than your friends and family?  Can you project a target size that is interested in your product that is large enough to provide the sales necessary to cover your fixed costs and provide the profit that is warranted for your time?  Then after you have validated your target size, you need to understand where your consumer wants to buy and at what price.  I’ve seen several amazing product ideas launched earlier than when consumers were ready to adopt them in their home.  

Focus on the development of the base product and not the features.   The best practice is to get a product a third of the way ready and then share and test it with your partners.  This includes three key audiences: your consumers, your distribution and retailers, and your manufacturing reps.  Your goal is to glean the most amount of insights in order to refine the product to meet all three needs.  By testing before the product is fully ready, you save time and money in the long run.

There are multiple ways to acquire the necessary insights for your business venture, and it doesn’t have to be a large scale research project.  Before you embark on your research, you need to succinctly define the problem you are trying to solve and what action you will embark post the insights.  Then you can match the insight needed with the research methodology.  Whether it’s a beta program, a quick focus group, survey, or an in person interview, make sure that you partner with someone who has market research experience.  

Once you understand the value that your business can bring to consumers, then you need to continue your research efforts as you design your messaging, marketing, and portfolio expansion.  Just because you gathered insights at the beginning, does not mean that you will have a successful business long term.  You should update your research needs and questions as you progress along your business launch. Every business finds pain points as they move along the product life cycle.  Only the successful ones continue to conduct research to ensure they are delivering a promising value and a financially feasible business for their stakeholders.

Start Something Solutions helps you understand your competitive marketplace and consumer needs through analytics of your current metrics, researching the potential, and making sense of the right strategy to meet your objectives.  Contact us today so we can aid your business development process.