OK, you’ve got your niche, now you can do one of 3 things:
1) develop the worlds GREATEST product that you yourself feel the world needs
2) allow your NICHE to tell you what they want in a product, then develop it
3) do a little research and see what a combination of 1 and 2 does for you?
Now obviously MOST entrepreneurs feel that they have the pulse of their market, know exactly what everyone needs and even what color,shape and size, so they will proceed on with product development, and find themselves rather frustrated in about 6 months. But at least they will have a lot of company!
Which one do you think I would recommend?
This is one that you can NOT be lazy on, I don’t care if you determine that you are going to make up an excuse for everything else in your life, please do NOT make one up now. Because this excuse could cost you, not just in time or embarrassment, but in thousands if not millions of dollars. So how do you make sure you get the right product for the right folks at the right time? Those of you looking for a long drawn out complicate answer are going to hate this but, the easiest way I have found?
See told you, you’d be mad, I know I was when it was told to me for the first time. But you know something’s you can’t change and in this case the truth is the truth. Now if you have a retail store, that pretty easy, you can print a hard copy of your survey or you could create one online. I have seen multimillion dollar companies use Survey Monkey; because it’s quick it’s easy and best of all its free!
So once you have your survey site, what do you ask them and how do you get folks to fill them out, without them feeling like your trying to figure out a way into their wallet? I know I know you ARE looking for a way into their wallet, but folks feel much better about it if they feel you’re asking for an opinion not selling them something. One of the most effective ways that I have found is through online forums. Whether its guitars or Smart phones, there are probably dozens of websites out there devoted to your niche and they offer forums as a way for their visitors stick around and ask questions. You will be asking the same thing except your doing it for a different purpose than most folks.
Lets say your back to guitars, you have played pub gigs for decades and you feel that unless your customer has been doing the same there is no way they would know how to do THIS: Now you need to find out of there is a market for this. Assuming that you got your very first computer yesterday, you may not be a member of a guitar forum yet, the easiest way to find one , go to Google, type in “guitar” + “forum” and you will probably get somewhere in the neighborhood of 21 million results. Which is GREAT, but also tough to choose among, so here’s what I would do, pick 4 from page 1, register with them, find at least 1 area of interest to folks looking for THIS and read and leave comments to a few posts. On Google page 2 choose 3 different sites, and repeat until you get to page 4 when you have nothing you can choose. THEN go to the VERY LAST PAGE in the Google search and repeat, but this time going forward. You will find some amazing sites that way that no one ever goes to.
What happens if you DON’T have a THIS that pulls up 21 million pages? Well then you need to find a new THIS or refine your search. Before we throw out what could be a good idea, let’s refine our search terms. This time type in “tele” + “guitar” + “forum. See what you get. By the way the same works on the chance that 21 million is just too darn confusing. In this case you get 1 million 7 hundred thousand. Still pretty respectable.
So, now you are registered with and have commented on about 2 dozen guitar forums, you have read a few messages on each and replied (respectfully) in each case. Now you post YOUR question. Something with a title like “Hey Guys I need you OPINION on something”, people LOVE to give their opinion. Then they open the message and your post says something like, “I’m doing research for a paper at work, if you would take 2 minutes and answer the 10 question on my survey I’d really appreciate it.” After all you are doing research and it’s for YOUR Company, and that’s like work, right? Post this on a few dozen forums and 2 things will happen.
First off you will get a lot of folks filling in your survey, and if you cam create an email capture page that would be a huge benefit to your business. The other thing is some of the folks who read more than one place, will recognize your message and call you out on it. Ignore them, in the rare odd case you may get some moderators complaining about your cross: posting, but for the most pat you will now know exactly what it is that you customer is searching for! Now it’s up to YOU to determine what to do with this information!
Which is a GREAT segue into marketing.,,