Test Your New Product Idea with These 4 Questions

Just because you can do something doesn’t mean it’s a great idea. Many online marketers, whether they’re new or experienced, tend to jump into building their latest product or project without asking themselves a crucial question: “Is my product idea any good?”

I get asked this question all the time, and I never give a yes or no answer. Frankly, what I think really doesn’t matter, which is why instead I’ll ask them, “What makes you think your idea is good?”

Exciting Ideas vs. Must-Have Products

The graveyard of failed products and businesses is filled with ideas pursued solely because the founders fell in love with the concept.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with being excited about a startup idea or falling head over heels for it before you get started. But before you dive too deep into bringing your idea to life, you need to take time to validate it beyond your own feelings.

This presents a tricky situation. You can’t just go around asking random people what they think of your idea because opinions don’t really matter. When asking the question, you are exposing your unfinished idea to people who might not understand it, offer unhelpful suggestions, or even steal it.

On the other hand, relying solely on your own judgment is a trap. Think of an idea as being like a baby – You might think your own baby is utter perfection while everyone else sees a screaming, sticky, wrinkled, red-faced pooping machine. Same baby but two entirely different perspectives.

That’s why, the next time you come up with what you believe is a brilliant and revolutionary new idea, ask yourself why you think it’s good. If you can’t fit the answer into one of the following four categories, then it’s best to let go of the idea.


Are You Creating a New Product Category?

This is one of the most common sources of inspiration for product ideas, but be warned: It also contributes to the majority of failed products in the graveyard.

For example, your traffic generation product doesn’t just drive traffic to an offer, it eliminates the need for traffic by doing something totally new and radically different than anything else out there. It’s the ‘anti-traffic-generation-product.’

Here’s the problem: Marketers think in terms of driving traffic, and like most people, they generally dislike change. “New” isn’t always a benefit—it can actually work against you.

Instead of, “Here’s a great method to drive traffic,” you’re now having to first educate your prospects that they don’t need traffic as they know it, that there’s a better/different way from anything else they’ve done before, that this method does not cause legal problems or make prospects mad, that it’s something they can do, that it’s something they want to do, and so forth.

It’s exhausting. When air cleaners were first introduced, very few people jumped up and said, “I want to buy one!” Instead, the companies that made the new air cleaners spent years and a ton of money educating people that indoor air is bad before their products finally became a somewhat acceptable and common household item.

To start proving the viability of your idea, ask yourself, “Why doesn’t it already exist?” If the success of your product seems obvious once it exists, there are likely numerous reasons why no one has attempted to turn it into a business. Or perhaps they did try and failed. Understand the reasons it hasn’t been done before and figure out how to overcome them before moving forward.


Are You Seizing a Massive Market Shift?

Imagine your idea caters to a small market right now, but there’s tremendous potential for it to grow rapidly. This is where entrepreneurship comes into play – spotting trends and being the first to offer the perfect solution for those early adopters. By doing so, you position yourself to reap the benefits when the mainstream eventually catches up.

Of course, it involves making educated but daring guesses about market trends related to your product. Remember, it’s easy to look back and see how streaming movies became a hit, but there was also a time when everyone believed 3D movies were the future and video rental stores would never go away.

To succeed in this venture, it’s essential to have an intimate understanding of the market you’re targeting. Whether that comes from personal experience, previous sales in that market, or spending significant time talking to potential customers, this knowledge will prove incredibly helpful in shaping your strategy.


Are You Disrupting an Outdated Industry?

If the industry you’re targeting is in desperate need of change and modernization, you might be on to something.

For example, people have never enjoyed shopping for a used car or selling one, either. But today we have virtual services that will show you the cars for sale in your area and have someone deliver one to you, as well as buying your car from you over the internet. Add in virtual test drives and it’s entirely possible that automobile dealerships as we know them will soon disappear.

Banks used to be something we had to drive to and enter during ‘banking’ hours to cash a check or get our money out. ATMs were a real disrupter in their time because they were accessible 24/7, and now most banking can be done online without going near a bank or an ATM.

If you’re aiming for high-growth, then disrupting an outdated industry is the best way to achieve it. Timing is also crucial. If you’re too early or too late, you will fail.

Watch for things that annoy people and then see if you can find an industry disrupting solution that is a major leap forward. If so, you might have a million dollar idea.


Are You Leveraging Talent?

What if we bring smart people together to see what they can create?

This one usually works better for experienced entrepreneurs. While teamwork is never a bad idea, it shouldn’t be the sole reason to start a business.

But let’s say you encounter someone who has a skill or method of doing something that could be an industry disrupter. You’ve got the marketing skills, they’ve got the product or service skills and together you might be able to create something much greater than the sum of your individual efforts. This happens all the time online when a marketer teams up with an expert and together they create and promote an outstanding information product that sells thousands of copies.

Whenever possible, surround yourself with people who are smarter than you and more experienced than you, whether they’re in your mastermind group, your outsourcers or your partners and affiliates. But don’t think that assembling a dream team is enough to create a truly revolutionary new product idea. Sometimes it works and other times you simply have the wrong people or poor timing.


It’s Not Just One Idea

You’ve seen the cartoon of the lightbulb going off over someone’s head. They’ve had the brilliant idea and now they go on to make millions with it.

If only real life were a cartoon. Product ideas almost never originate from a single moment of inspiration, despite what many new marketers think. School might teach you that you get an idea, make a plan, hire people and find customers. But in the real world, a good idea is simply the foundation to dozens more additional and even better ideas that expand on the original concept.

Your success will come from continuous innovation and evolution rather than relying solely on your single initial idea.


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