You have a tremendous idea, one that you think the market needs. You pitch the idea and map it into your business plans. But wait. First, you need to determine if the market wants what you are proposing. If the response is mediocre, then being adaptive when your ideas fall short is the smart business decision. Let me give you some insights.
I’m an ideas gal. My mind is always going. Julie says she can hear the wheels turning in my head as they never stop. [insert laugh here] I’m scanning for opportunities, those pain points that eat away at productivity or inhibitors which limit progress. When I lock onto one, the chess game begins in my mind. Moving the pieces around, the combinations show me the possibilities and strategy.
It’s a risk to create a vision. It’s even more risky to set a path and begin the process of bringing the vision to reality. It’s time consuming and expensive. You are creating something that doesn’t exist today. The market may not be able to see how your vision will help make their lives better. Think about it. If it doesn’t exist today, then how can you expect others to see what you see?
You need a way to position and present the how. How will it help the market? Why should they want this thing you are creating for them? Smart marketers know how to create early buzz, build a community, and create the want. That “want” translates into early bird sales, yes. But that’s putting the cart before the horse.
The Hidden Power of “Want” Buzz
What does early “want” buzz do for your vision? Think about it. That positive interest from your prospective market is validating your idea. You need this. Listen to me. You need this validation in order to navigate the risks of bringing it to the marketplace. This “want” buzz is the justification. It is part of your market research. It’s a flawed strategy to invest your time into something hasn’t vetted the interest.
Aha, there’s a business term, i.e. “market research.” It’s a flawed strategy to invest your time into something that you haven’t already vetted the interest. Seriously. Why would you ever want to spend your precious time building something if you’ll struggle to get folks to want it? Even if it’s a free thing, mediocre “want” buzz means the market doesn’t see what you do.
Translating a Mediocre Response
Does that mean they don’t want it? Not necessarily.
It might be that you haven’t done a good job marketing to create that “want.”
It could be that the gap between your vision and what the market sees in their minds is too large. Remember, it doesn’t exist right now or at least not in the form you are proposing.If you ask, the market tells you what it wants. Listen, even if it’s not aligned to what you think it needs. That presents challenges for you to explain it in a way that folks can see how it will help them.
On the flip side, it could be that your assumptions of the root problem are not actualized for the market. What does that mean? You perceive there’s a pain point or limitation. And I’m sure there is. But that doesn’t mean it’s strong enough for the market to care.
The reality though is: your idea has fallen short.ProTip: Early market buzz validates your business idea. Market tells you if they want it. Click To Tweet
You’ve invested yourself into this idea. You believe in it. You see the potential. For me, it’s hard to let it go. But over the years I’ve learned to be adaptive.Stop wasting your time on ideas that the market doesn’t want. It’s the difference between building a frustrating product or business model that is a pain in the back side to grow versus moving on to the next big thing.
It’s time to let it go or, at a minimum, shelve the idea for now. Let’s move on.
Let me give you a couple of real examples to help you see what I’m talking about.
DevSchool – WP Developers’ Club
Last year, I had the idea for launching a formalized Developer School through WP Developers’ Club called DevSchool. I built a team and a board of advisors. We had an all-star group behind this idea. We were ready to begin building it. And then we did a market survey. That survey showed the market interest was mediocre and not enough to justify the cost of building and running the school. I made a huge mistake by not doing the market survey earlier in the process.
We adapted by shutting down our plans for a formal school. The team and Advisory Board disbanded.
Yet there was still the need for proper web development training. We created Know the Code, an adaptation of the formal DevSchool. Our marketing information told us that the long term investment for students was the limiting factor. Know the Code solved that problem by presenting an informal library of technical knowledge without any of the formalities of testing, guidance, or paths. Members have freedom to pick and choose what they want to learn.
The experience with DevSchool was a painful lesson. Out of that lesson, Know the Code was born.
Know the Business
I had the idea of teaching business knowledge to the community. After three decades of running mega-million dollar projects, start-ups, and building a consultancy firm, I thought maybe I could wrap up all of that experience and teach freelancers and business owners. I get a lot of requests for business advice including project management, accounting, scoping, client relations, risk assessments, and more. We called it Know the Business (thank you to Brian Gardner for the name).
The idea seemed like a good one, but [pause for a moment], this time I wanted to be smarter about it.
We created a mailing list, social media sites, and a simple landing page. Then we set out to promote it and measure the market interest. If enough people signed up and followed it on social media, then we knew there was a market for it. We did not spend money, create the content, or build a team for it. This time we do our homework first.
The results are in now. Sadly, the “want” buzz is very light. We did get some sign ups on our mailing list. Some of the folks who know me reached out to express their excitement. But overall, the market interest was far too light to warrant the time and costs to create a new website and business model.
It’s time to put it on the shelf. Today, we are dropping Know the Business and moving on.
Don’t get confused. Know the Code remains and will flourish. It is my mission-driven program to give back to the WordPress Community. Know the Code is not Know the Business. I just wanted to clear that up in your mind.
Know the Code teaches proper web development, whereas Know the Business was going to teach the business side of software solutions.
Wrap it Up
Did you do your due diligence to vet your idea before you set off to build it? Are you nursing a business, service, or product that is struggling? It might be time to take the adaptive approach and drop it. Time to move on. Go assess your product and services.