I’ve got this great idea … can you help me promote it?
I hear this quite a lot. My answer? Yes, I can help you promote it, there is always a way to promote a good idea. But … before we start spending money on marketing, let’s go back to the beginning and ask three questions:
1. Is there a need for this product or service idea?
2. Can you produce it profitably?
3. Is anyone else supplying the same thing?
You seriously need to consider all of these things before you go throwing money at marketing your idea.
You may well think your idea is the greatest since high heeled shoes. But does everyone agree with you? You need to find out. Determine your target audience, and speak to them. You can do this in many ways. Social media is by far the easiest and cheapest. Ask your Facebook followers a question. Start a conversation with your LinkedIn groups. Tweet your followers and ask for feedback. If you’ve got a blog, even with a few followers, you have an audience there to discuss the viability of an idea.
Just make sure you’re speaking to the people who will become your audience so your feedback is relevant. You can also employ focus groups and invest in independent surveys. Consider your outlay in comparison to your expected return, so that you don’t overspend on this stage. What you DON’T want to do is ask friends and relatives. Their opinion will be biased.
Think carefully about how much it will cost to produce your idea. Carefully. There are often hidden costs. Staff, production, admin, other overheads. You might need to patent your idea to safeguard it. Insurance might be required. Company set up charges, accountancy. Legal costs. Marketing! Stop and think about absolutely everything that might be involved and factor all the costs in when working out whether the idea will be profitable.
Who else is doing it? You might not have seen it anywhere else yet, but have you looked to see if someone has already come up with your idea? Competition is never a bad thing, but you need to make sure you can compete on price, and sales and marketing budget too. If you need to work harder to get the edge over the competition, can you afford the time and the additional budget?
You’ve had a great idea. Don’t be disillusioned – be excited! But before you run away with yourself, take some time to think. Don’t plough your life savings into something before you’ve considered all the above points. And if you’re not sure, take advice from someone who knows about developing business ideas.