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How do you know if your idea is a good one?

25 February 2010 8 CommentsBy Sarah Shaw

asktheentrepenetteDear Sarah,
I would love to know how you move pass the is this a dumb idea or should I go for it? How do you know? I have been stuck on a product idea for a couple of years but scared to bring it to life for fear of failure…fear that is a dumb idea… And you always hear people say trust yourself, believe in yourself but when it comes to something like this should you follow that instinct? And what would be the 1st step – it seems very overwhelming and daunting so that in itself can keep a person from trying!

Thank you. Michelle Morton

Michelle,
I am so glad you asked this question!  I know it can be scary to make the decision to go for it!  Here are some ideas to help you over (or under) the hump.

1. You will want to google your idea to death and see if there is anything else out there like it.  Use all the words you can think of and see what you find.

2. If you find things that are similar, or even in the same category, do more research on them.  Find out everything you can about them:  What purpose does it serve, what problem does it solve, what stores they are sold in, and what the cost of the product is.

3. If you don’t find anything similar, then find things in a similar category of problem solving and repeat #2.

4. The next step would be to figure out your target market and see if they want or need your product idea.  You can find a lot of information about these things on your local SBA website.

If you do all this research, ask friends, and anyone else you can approach……if it all seems to make sense…..then it probably is!

Let me know what you decide.

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8 Comments »

  • Kelly Robinson said:

    I never thought 4 years ago that I would be the owner of a company that makes visual schedules. But one day as a stay at home mom two things happened simultaneously and I think they are a good start to knowing you are onto something. First, the best ideas are born out of necessity. I only came up with my idea because I was trying to solve a problem with my daughter. I never went into it thinking “I am inventing something”. Secondly, it has to work. From the very first moment I put an Activity Clock up in my daughter’s bedroom her behavior transformed. I saw first hand that this thing was miraculous. It was a big aha moment. Next was to search online and see how many of them there were out there. Lucky for me, there were none.
    I started showing my mom friends and found myself getting lots of requests to make them. But there is one thing I will warn you about, EVERYONE will tell you you have a great idea b/c you cant count on anyone else to be critical. Therefore, I think it’s key to judge other people’s actions, not words. From there I just trusted my gut. I saw my daughter transform so I knew this had to be helpful for other moms. It took many years and lots of research but I finally made it to the point where I have a storefront and a product. I am still growing and marketing is my big challenge right now. But because I experienced the effect of my product in my own household, I lean on that memory and the feedback of my paying customers to keep me going forward.

  • Michelle Morton said:

    Thanks Sarah for publishing my question! Kelly I really enjoyed your response!

    I would love to check out your product and congrats to you for going for something and making it happen!

    Cheers,
    Michelle

  • Kelly Robinson said:

    Hi Michelle
    I am glad you enjoyed my response. I don’t know how to write to you directly so I will just post my reply here. My website (which is about to experience a much needed overhaul) is http://www.schkidules.com.
    Kelly

  • Sarah Shaw (author) said:

    Kelly,
    Love your product. Cute idea! When you have no competition it can be harder to market a product…..because no one is aware it can exist. Keep on truckin’ – am sure it will catch on!

  • Michelle Morton said:

    Hi Kelly!

    I did not see your response until now – thanks – I will check out your site!

    Thanks again!
    Michelle

  • Sheena Repath said:

    GREAT ADVICE Ladies!!

    I live by these 3 points, they have brought success to myself and all of our clients.

    1. Be clear and concise of your ideal client – who will you sell to and who will buy your product. Being specific will allow you to OWN your niche market

    2. Make sure you can clearly explain what makes your business unique. It only takes a couple of words and this will engage people to ask questions and learn more. Your unique position is critical for you to stand out from the crowd and people will remember you and your product/service

    3. Identify the best distribution channel for your business, there are 7 and not all of them are going to work for your business. Now its time to figure out what sales and marketing tactics will help you convert leads.

    Hope this is helpful! Be amazing & Believe anything is possible!

  • jewell said:

    Hi, I have an idea but would like to sell it. The idea is just an iprovement to an existing product on the market. It would make life easier for the users, that’s why I believe it’s a good product. The problem is I do not want to sell the product, I would just like to maybe patent it, develop the prototype then sell the idea to manufacturers. Is that possible, any advice would be helpful.

  • Sarah Shaw (author) said:

    Carol,

    This is what I would call a licensing opportunity. I would suggest you create and patent and then approach companies to license it. You will make more money over the long run vs. selling the patent.

    Good luck – Sarah

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