Photo Credit: Massimo Barbieri
For most people the biggest barrier to getting started with an online business is that they either don’t have an idea or they have way too many ideas.
Contrary to popular belief, your online business idea doesn’t need to be revolutionary. You just have to be able to deliver value that customers will pay for.
There are so many potential markets out there – how do you pick the right market to target?
First Step – Figure out what you are good at.
Start with what you know.
What markets do you belong to already?
Example: You are a student, you worked in real estate, etc.
What hobbies do you have?
Example: Fishing, karate, etc.
Here is a helpful exercise: (borrowed from Ramit Sethi’s very useful Idea Generator Tool)
Write down your top 5 skills – This is resume type stuff. What could you teach people?
The skills don’t have to be unique, they just have to be marketable.
Example: You know how to program in PHP.
Write down your top 5 strengths – what do other people tell you you’re good at?
For more help on this check out the book: Now, Discover You Strengths.
Example: You are good at organizing.
Write down your top 5 interests – What do you read for fun? What do you do on a Saturday afternoon?
Example: You like to practice martial arts.
Second Step – Figure out what people will pay for.
Don’t swim upstream.
Don’t try to change peoples’ behavior, it is very difficult. Trying to convince someone that they should be saving X$ extra each month by not drinking coffee is damn near impossible. Instead go to where your customers are.
Put yourself in the mind of your potential customer.
- What problems are they actively trying to find solutions for?
- What have they already tried to fix it?
- How can you solve their problems?
Keep in mind that you don’t have to be an uber-expert to provide value and help people. You just have to know more than your customers. Your abilities and service will improve over time.
For any potential market it is critical to ask yourself the following questions:
- Do they have the ability to pay me?
- Do they have the willingness to pay me?
Bad market example: Designing websites for a non-profit organizations. They probably don’t have the ability to pay you well.
Good market example: Designing websites for real estate agents looking to gain more clients. They are willing to pay you to increase their client base, and they are able to pay you well.
You are looking for the intersection of your interests/skills/strengths and market demand.
If the target market doesn’t care about your product, you can be the best in the world and you still won’t make any money.
Pick 3 marketable ideas that match up with your abilities and in Find Your Niche Market Part 2 you will narrow down your market to a profitable niche.