Jul 8, 2024 | Growth & Scale

How do I decide if my idea for a new offering is a good idea?

Q. Dear Zenagos,
I’ve been running my company for several years, and things are going well. Now, I have an idea for a new service that’s pretty different from my current service. How do I decide if my new idea is a good one?
–Lydia

We find that our clients resist validating their new business ideas, preferring to trust their gut and plow ahead. However, markets change quickly, and your personal feelings may not truly represent your market. Remember, what matters isn’t whether you have a great offering – what matters is whether your target market is willing to pay for that product or service. The only way to figure that out is to talk to potential customers.

Here are some practical steps to consider as you validate your market.

Identify Your Target Market
If you haven’t made a Customer Persona for your new market, we recommend that you create one. There are quite a few articles about how to make a persona, and many of them include examples and downloadable templates. Choose one that you like and think through the details of your target customer. This is especially important if the new customer will be different from your existing customers.

Ask Questions
Identify people who are in your target market by networking. Once you have found a few potential customers to interview, we recommend that you create an interview guide, so you ask the same questions of each prospect. Ask them about features, but also ask them some marketing questions – what name would appeal to them? What marketing messages would convey the value that you are creating?

Thank Your Participants
After you interview a potential customer, be sure to send a thank you note. If you can, also send a small gift card. Everyone loves a gift, and it will leave them with a good impression of you.

Create a Mailing List
The people you have interviewed about your idea will be terrific candidates to be your first and best customers. They will have a vested interest in your success. At the very least, they will be curious to hear what you ultimately do and will talk about you to their friends. Keep them informed about your progress.

Test the Idea
If at all possible, test your idea on a small scale before pouring in a lot of investment. This could involve creating a prototype or a pilot program. Testing allows for real-world feedback and helps to fine-tune the idea. It is rare that a new offering is exactly right out of the gate. You usually need to pivot in some fashion.

Yes, even if you talk to your market, you still might get it wrong. Every new launch is a risk. However, you will increase your chances of success if you take the time to truly validate your idea. Test before you invest!

Related Blog Articles
Can a consultant help me, and if so, how should I choose one?
I need to come up with a new product. What’s my next step?
I don’t have an amazing idea. Can I still start a business?
When can I expect my new business to become profitable?
How can I be sure my business will make enough money?

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