You’d think coming up with a great idea for a product or service from your hobby, past time or years of business experience would be the one to implement as it is.
It may be fine to do this in very fortunate or unusual circumstances but most times it could be a dumb thing to do.
Here’s a simple example:
A model train collector could have done the obvious thing by buying trains and selling them.
Stop for a moment.
What would you do?
I know it’s an unusual example. If you want to substitute the train collector for a pet lover, or the person who makes delicious home baked bread, a hairdresser who knows about luxury hair-care products and how to make them or an amateur photographer who has an idea for a professional service.
Back to the train collector. How would you make the imaginative leap from hobbyist to small business start-up?
Would you decide to start an online store? What about being a distributor to toy shops? Birthday gifts for children could be a possibility if you have a database or mailing list. What about train sets for the mature, connoisseur collector?
The model train collector didn’t go for any of these new business ideas.
Because he looked at the marketplace and found what prospective customers wanted. He discovered an unmet need.
Too often those who come up with business ideas believe that customers will beat a path to their door. But they need to do just the opposite – first find out what customers need, want, desire and then provide what they are looking for and will pay for.
Markets, local and national, are crowded with me-two products and services. For goodness sake, down the road from where I live one mattress shop opened; another two followed and now there are three in less than a year. All three slugging it out against each other with the same products and services.
Chris Cameron, the train collector, discovered that hobbyists want to know how much train sets and the parts sell for because selling prices fluctuate wildly. He designed a program to track pricing for the model train market.
Do your market research first before you come up with ideas for products and services.
Find the gap, the unmet need and serve a hungry market.