You’ve probably heard it a thousand times before: when it comes to business success, a good idea alone isn’t enough. In fact, many entrepreneurs have come up with fantastic, innovative ideas that simply haven’t translated into business success. The reason? There was no market for the product they were selling.

How to tell if your product invention will sell

The bottom line is that once you have come up with a truly fantastic idea, you need to make sure that there is a market for that product idea. Here’s how you can accurately ascertain whether or not there is a market for your product.

Conduct personal interviews

Before you start manufacturing a product, it’s a good idea to actually conduct interviews with consumers to see if this product will really meet an unmet consumer need. “It’s a big red flag when someone outlines the size of the market — multibillion dollars — but doesn’t clearly articulate a plan for how the idea will meet an unmet need in the marketplace,” explains Aaron Keller, a managing principal of Capsule, a Minneapolis-based brand development firm. The bottom line is that you need to be absolutely sure that your product can meet an unmet need better than other products out on the market — otherwise, your product is unlikely to succeed, no matter how good the idea.

Carefully analyze competitor products

There is no getting around it: before you put a product on the market, you need to know how it compares to any competitor products that are also currently out on the market. There are three different groups you’ll need to keep in mind: primary, secondary and tertiary. A competitor’s placement within each level largely depends on how directly your business would compete with the business or organization. You will need to carefully evaluate these competitors, especially your primary competitors.

“Visit their Web site [sic] and put yourself on their list,” explains Nancy A. Shenker, the president of the New York-based full service marketing firm ONswitch LLC. “Talk to your competitor’s customers, too — ask them what they like or don’t like about your competitor’s product or service. If you conduct formal research, include a question like ‘Where do you currently go for that product or service? Why?'” This research will help you figure out whether there is enough space in the current market for your product, as well as how you can differentiate your product from those of competitors.

Acknowledge problems

The bottom line is that throughout this whole process you need to be honest with yourself. If your idea or plan has holes, acknowledge them and objectively evaluate if and how these holes can be fixed. There is no shame in reworking or retooling a plan. While this might seem frustrating, it’s worth it in the long run. “No entrepreneur wants to hear that his ‘baby’ is flawed, but only by listening and reacting to feedback can he give his idea a chance for success,” Shenker explains. “Ask yourself, ‘Is this a weakness that can be overcome?’ If you can’t create true value for your customer and your business, then it’s time to pick another idea to pursue.”

Pivot International is a product design, development, and manufacturing firm with extensive experience in the medtech industry. If you are interested in engineering a new product or updating an existing product, contact us at 1-877-206-5001 or request your free consultation today.