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Is your idea marketable?

marketImage by dcJohn via Flickr

Here is a hard truth for most first time entrepreneurs.  There are a lot of great ideas out there and many of them  are not original.  A great idea is a beginning to the entrepreneurial road, but it is not even a full first step.  The first full step is determining if your great idea is marketable. 

So what does it mean to be marketable? Here are a few starting points.  Keep in mind this is by no means a complete list.  Bookshelves have been filled with volumes on what it means to be marketable!

  1. Can I reach my potential market at a cost I can afford?
  2. Am I solving a problem my customers believe they have?
  3. Can I deliver my product at a cost that leaves room to make money?
  4. Who are my competitors and how do I compare?  Keep in mind there are always competitors including those favorites of mine, excel spreadsheets and apathy. 
  5. Will customers pay for what I have to sell.

Inc Magazine had a great post titled "How to Assess the Market Potential of Your Idea"  It is worth the read. They listed five ideas on how to asses the market potential:

  1. Ask the right questions
  2. Google it
  3. Collect Feedback
  4. Sell something, anything
  5. Just Do It

I have to say you must be careful with the "Just Do It" idea.  I think that is great when your investment in "Just Do It" is something you can afford to loose.  Those who blindly launch into the market are often the first to fail.  On the other hand, Sell something, anything is great advice.  The vast majority of entrepreneurs are not good sales people yet they will spend their days selling their products and their ideas.  Selling is the education most entrepreneurs need. 

What would you add to these lists?

- Mike Colwell

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