Do As I Say…

by Matthew on January 20, 2012

I trust everyone had a great holiday season and happy New Year. I decided to take a break from blogging for the last several weeks as I worked through some business ideas and came up with some 2012 initiatives.

I’m wholeheartedly behind the idea that you should go out and find customers before you start investing lots of time and effort into something that perhaps no one is interested in. I’ve said this a number of times and it’s particularly apt advice for the software field. However, near the end of the year, I came up with a business idea that I’ve chosen to pursue and I’m deviating a bit from my recommended business method. I’m not exactly just running out to “build it and they will come,” but I am keeping the product confidential, sharing only with select folks who somewhat represent my target market. Why? Because I genuinely suspect that I’ve stumbled upon a “hole” in the market. That is, a noticeable gap between what certain consumers want and what is available to them in a particular area.

I’ll be spending the next several months developing this product and learning from the experience. I don’t expect this to be a full quit-my-job type business product, but I do expect to learn a lot and perhaps generate some interest in the type of product I’m working on.

If you’re searching for your own niche product to work on, consider the following factors, which my current project fits into for me:

  • Your interests (passions…things you do even when someone is not directing you on what to do)
  • Your friends’ interests (what do people you associate with enjoy doing, working, studying, etc.?)
  • Troubles or challenges you encounter when pursuing these interests.

If you can solve a problem for people regarding something they are passionate about, you have something to start working on that will pique their interest. Brainstorm passions and challenges together. For example, if you love golf but can’t seem to improve your golf swing, brainstorm ways you might be able to help others improve. Maybe it’s writing a book, creating a mobile application, creating a website of resources relating to golf swings, etc. This is a super short list, though, so try to brainstorm through and consider every angle you can come up with.

More info to come and my product will definitely be announced here when it’s ready! :)

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jason H February 17, 2012 at 2:44 pm

While there certainly is value in the LEAN startup methods, I think there is also value in the competing train of thought if researched well.
It probably isn’t always necessary to hit a problem head on. Researching around the edges can have value, and just exploring a solution, but willing to morph completely, could lead to significant things.
I would think the key is not to rush into, and invest a lot of resources into ideas blindly, but have well thought out and researched concepts behind your approach to an idea, and ways to test the market by degrees, even if you don’t expose your main concept initially.

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Matthew February 17, 2012 at 5:07 pm

True. One concept I think is useful to keep in mind though is the goal of failing as fast as possible. At least, failing in the sense of getting feedback that will allow you to direct efforts to where they are most valuable.

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