Thanks to the show Shark Tank (@ABCSharktank), people with ideas have been looking for a way to make it big. So many great ideas arise every day and, while not every one of them will succeed, you can be sure that a few will. Knowing that a handful will find success gives us hope that our ideas might too!
1. WHAT makes my product unique?
Why does someone want it? Because it’s typically a want over a need. Don’t believe me? Did you need a new iPhone (or Android), or was the old one working well enough?
2. WHO is my customer?
- Male or female?
- Adult or child?
- How old are they?
- How much money do they make?
- Where do they live?
- What is their education level?
You must quantify the real market opportunity. Not “if I could just get 1% of the US population…” It doesn’t work that way.
3. HOW will the customer react to my product?
- Will they want it?
- Where will they buy it (online or in a store)?
- How much will they really pay for it?
- Will they buy it just once?
- What drives their decision to buy?
Spend a few bucks now or ask your network for HONEST feedback about your idea (it’s ok to be general if you're concerned about protecting your idea at this point).
4. HOW MUCH money will I need?
- How much to start?
- How much to operate a business?
Plan ahead so you don’t fail coming out of the starting blocks. By fail, I mean simply run out of cash.
5. WHERE will the money come from?
- Will you self-fund?
- Ask family and friends?
- Borrow from the bank?
- Refinance your house?
- Ask the Small Business Association for loans?
- Seek Venture or Angel Capital? Will they even be interested?
- Maybe crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter or Indiegogo?
So there you go – a little homework as you stare at that back-of-napkin idea which might just change the world. Looking for more information at this stage of the game? These resources might help too:
- 15 Killer Resources Every Inventor Should Know About
- From Invention to Production: The Only Thing You Need is...
- Shark Tank: What Manufacturers See That You Don't
- Quiz: Are You Ready for a Contract Manufacturer?