Thinking of moving into a new market or selling a new product? Read this first

If you’re thinking of moving into a new market area or starting up a new product/service line, here are a few tips to help you avoid poor results.

Would you buy the product?

Is the price, quality and general offering something that you would go for yourself?

Who else would buy it?

Don’t rely on your own thoughts on this one, go out and ask strangers (not family and friends…).  Regardless of whether they say yes or no go one stage further and ask they why they would/would not buy.

Is the product/service already offered elsewhere?

If so then compare their offering with what you intend to provide.  How do they differ?  Also, which of the other suppliers does it best?  Why are they the best, what discriminates them?  Do you need to copy that or can you provide another discriminator?  Whatever you don’t just think you can offer the same at a lower price – that’s just the fast route to bankruptcy.

If no-one else is providing it, does that mean there isn’t a market?

Think carefully, if someone isn’t already selling it there may be a good reason!  First mover advantage can be great but it can also be a long, hard struggle.  If you’ve carried out the steps above and are getting only mild interest then you may want to re-consider.  Also, if you’re new in business be wary about taking on a product/service that you have to educate the market about – doing that and getting to grips with your new career can be too much to do at once.

Talk to suppliers

They will know what does/doesn’t sell so speak to as many as you can to see what the feeling in the market is.  There could be a very obvious reason why the product doesn’t sell and you may have overlooked it in your excitement.

Talk to other retailers

This can be done openly or more surreptitiously – “hi, I’ve been looking for a widget everywhere but no-one seems to sell them, any idea why?”.  If someone else has tried to sell the product before and failed you will be surprised at how many people will be keen to tell you all about the failure (human nature, I guess).

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