Starting Your Online Business: Finding a Viable Market

One of the most common mistakes entrepreneurs make when starting an online business is to begin by developing a product.

People often discover a great idea, and they fall a bit in love with it. They spend weeks or months researching and perfecting the product. Then when they put it out there for sale, they get few or no buyers.

What went wrong?

Well, it might be that your sales page needs tweaking, or that nobody can find your sales page so they don’t even know you have a product for sale. These issues are relatively easy to fix.

But an equally common reason for this result is that there isn’t a viable market for the product. Creating a market where none exists can be an insurmountable task — and the attempt to do so is certainly not a good use of your time, energy and money.

Identify Your Market First

This experience is often enough to discourage new online entrepreneurs from continuing to build their online business.

If you are just getting started online, or are looking for a new niche to enter, we recommend that you first identify a hungry market. This involves a bit more research than simply finding keywords that lots of people are typing into search engines each day.

When we talk about a hungry market, these are some of the characteristics you want to look for:

  1. People who are actively searching for a product or service (and the more urgently they are searching, the better. Do they really want or need the information right now, or are they just curious?)
  2. You have a way to find these searchers (or for them to find you) that is relatively easy and inexpensive.
  3. The product or service they are searching for isn’t already available free on the internet or somewhere else that is easily accessible.
  4. The searchers are willing to pay money for the product or service.
  5. If there is competition (and you want some competition, as this is proof that this is a commercially viable market), you have a way of standing out in the crowd. You have a reason to believe that you can distinguish yourself from others who are offering the same or similar products or services.

After you identify a market that meets most if not all of the above criteria, then take some time to get involved with the people in the market. Visit the forums they frequent. Ask questions. Give good answers to the questions of others. Read comments on related blogs.

See if there is a trend to these comments and questions. Are lots of people asking about the same issue? Having the same types of problems? It just might be that there is a product or service that you could create to answer these concerns.

And with a group of people who are already actively searching for this information, there is a much higher likelihood that the products you create will find buyers.

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