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Validating anew idea, product or service………………………

“I just know it’s going to work.” That is one of the most common answers I get when I am asked to help a new client or existing client introduce a new product or service. Nothing else is needed, they are ready to develop a marketing plan, fund it and immediately sell their product /service.

When I ask, “How do you know your target market will accept you new product/service?” the answer is the same, “I just know they need it”. My follow-up suggestion is to do some market research and validate the need and price point that the company needs to make a reasonable profit.

For many small businesses market research or “validation” of a new product appears to be a task that they don’t want to tackle. Excuses range from, “It takes too long.” To, “I don’t have the knowhow.”

Understanding that it’s important to “strike while the iron is hot”, especially when the enthusiasm is high, time is of the essence, or quick cash flow is a major need, we designed a short validation process. No, it’s not going to be completed in an afternoon; and yes, time and effort are still requirements needed to obtain credible results.

The steps are as follows:

  • Write a brief description of the idea, product or service and why you think it is a viable endeavor.
  • Describe your target market:
    • Who it is?
    • Where is it?
    • How many prospects in that target market?
    • What benefits will you provide to your target market that they can’t get anywhere else?
    • Are there any similar products or services on the market?
    • From your target market select ten prospects (have an additional 10 as back-up) for a personal presentation.
    • Prepare for the presentation:
      • Have a personal story to share (includes both you and your company)
      • Write a short narrative on the specific benefits that can be obtained: increased profit, time savings, ease of use, etc….
      • Write down the following:
        • The initial greeting
        • Prepare the presentation format (visual, brochures, etc.).  Allow 20 minutes for the presentation and then open to questions.
  • Write down the appointment setting approach: why should time be taken to listen to another “sales pitch”?
  • Pick up the phone and set up ten appointments in the next two weeks.
  • During the appointment, listen more than you talk and take notes.
  • At the end of two weeks review the results of your meetings. List the good and bad comments, and any other concerns that were expressed.

Carefully evaluate the results with your support team and either go full speed ahead; tweak the just completed process and spend another two weeks in the field or drop it altogether.

Validate your actions before implementing them to greatly increase your chances for success.

Nick J. Petra CFP    When conducting this research method other operational and marketing ideas surface.  Let us help you through this process.  

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