People always think that their online business has to be some big huge world changing idea. If I hear one more person say how their idea is going to be the next Facebook I am going to punch them in the face.

The sad truth is that most ideas aren’t very good. Ramit Sethi is a leading personal finance blogger, NYTimes bestselling author, and runs one of the most successful online business courses out there (Earn1K, which I am a member of). Ramit states that despite how good his team is at marketing – 7 or 8 out of 10 ideas they have for a new product or service will fail. If the best people in business have 70%-80% of their new business ideas fail, what does that mean for you?

People have this big hang up about failure. It’s just like when guys are afraid to approach a pretty girl and talk to her for fear of getting rejected. People hate putting their egos on the line and so they will make all of these wild ass assumptions about what people want (some totally off base) and then when it comes time to sell their “great idea” they are puzzled as to why no one is interested.

You want to know what your target market wants? Go Ask Them.

Get off your ass and go talk to some people in your target market. Ask without selling. You aren’t trying to get them to buy anything, this is strictly research. Find out what are their pain points? What have they tried already that hasn’t worked? What piece of information do they wish they had which would get them to the next step?

When developing my current successful muse (strategy guide for a college business simulation) I was constantly hearing complaints from students about the difficulty of the simulation. So I dug deeper. I wanted to find out what specific problem areas were and what type of help students wished they had.

So I asked one of my friends a series of questions about the simulation. He said his biggest problem was that he didn’t have the needed amount of finance knowledge. Bingo! Now I knew what to look for. I repeated this process with several other students. Over time I was able to figure out the profile of my ideal customer and could cater my product to what they wanted.

That first step of just talking to people in my target market eventually developed into over $2000 a month in revenue. Not bad for a few conversations.

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Key points:

  • Don’t get married to any one particular idea
  • Making assumptions about what your customers should want is dangerous
  • Talk to people in your target market – Ask Without Selling

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Filed under: Online Business

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