What product should I make? I'm frequently asked this question, whether privately, on forums, or expert platforms. Those asking usually but not always have some technical expertise. They can make something. But they're just not sure what.
Know why they have this problem? They're not close enough to their target market.
They're thinking too much about themselves.
What needs to be created is not in them. It's in their target market. And to find out what that is, you have to get real close and listen to what that niche is saying.
Guessing is not okay.
Creating a better mousetrap is not okay.
Do not work in isolation.
Do not rush out and make a product as fast as you can because you feel you must.
Take some time.
Go speak with your target customers. Hear what they have to say. Yes, this will slow your time to market; however, you will end up with a product people actually want rather than a dud.
Don't Ask Yourself 'What Product Should I Make?'
My first "product" was a 30-minute phone sales training call. It was later expanded into a 3-hour conversation and a membership site format. Now it's a four-figure program with two supporting membership sites.
I did not run out and create it as soon as I began interacting with the marketplace in the fall of 2011. Instead, I first interacted with that audience for three full months. I answered forum questions that demonstrated I knew my topic.
In fact, one of the big issues was how to package what I knew into a bite-sized format! Operations management, coypwriting and sales training were all competency areas, and I did not know which one would take off. If I had pushed out a product as soon as possible in 2011, it very likely would have been off the mark. What actually happened is by January 2012 I was recognized as an expert in the sales training field by this marketplace, and there was pent-up demand for something from me.
By simply casually reviewing the interactions I had had with my customer base over the past three months, it was simple to pick out two facts: only one other phone sales trainer was selling his services there, and nobody else was talking about the consultative approach. There was a need for someone to teach a straightforward, friendly, ethical way to start great sales conversations by phone.
If I had not spent the time interacting with my marketplace beforehand, I would have gone off the trail and created something nobody wanted. Talking with my target market allowed me to niche down. It gave me the boundaries to package part of what I knew into something they wanted. It also let them "try before you buy"--they got to see my expertise before having to make the decision about whether to invest in it or not.
Rush in and you'll get neither of these vital results.
How You Can Answer 'What Product Should I Make?'
Now the good news is you don't have to spend three months working with your target niche before coming up with something profitable. I had copywriting work during those months that allowed me to take my time. But you may only have a few weeks, and that's all right. You just need to talk to people. Not try to sell them anything. Just talk to them.
In my last post, I discussed how you can conduct information interviews with decision makers in your chosen niche. In these interviews, you will learn what key problems they have and how critical it is for your potential customers to get them solved. Just call, say you're doing some research, and set up a time for a 15-to-20-minute interview. You'll be amazed how easy these are to get, and how informative they are. You may find you were headed down the wrong path and a much more profitable idea was hidden from view.
When one decision maker in a niche tells you about a problem, you can be sure many decision makers in that niche are experiencing the same issue.
When two or more decision makers in a niche share the same difficulty with you, especially when using the same wording, you have a winner.
Then you have a strong answer to 'What product should I make?' and can go create the solution.
But hear it from your target market first.
Other Sources of Answers to 'What Product Should I Make?'
A couple other really good sources of problems your market is experiencing are:
Go to magazines.com and see if there are magazines for your niche.
If there is even one title for your topic, you know there is a market.
Now read the headlines. What are they talking about? What problems are they highlighting, that they're using as hooks to encourage readers to open to Page Whatever to find the solution for?
Head over to Amazon and search for books in your niche. Now look at the reviews. Read them. You'll run across things like "I bought this book because..." and "It really helped me to...". These sentences tell you exactly what was going on in your target customer's head. A bunch of customers are saying the same thing? Great! Now can you fix that problem?
Maybe you should buy the book, if there are several reviews discussing a problem and solution you can have an effect on.
But nothing takes the place of genuine conversations with real members of your target market. Don't chicken out. You could be missing a fortune in exchange for a simple task if you do.
ADVANCED PRICING IDEA: look for problems the size of which lets you set a price at 5-10% of that value...and also allows you to hit your monthly revenue target with a reasonable number of sales.
If you're interested in a framework or roadmap that builds a business for you around what I've been sharing here, check out Jeff Steinmann's How To Quit Working.
>> Jason Kanigan is a business development expert. Did this information help you? Please Like or Share to let others know! And if you have a question about "What Product Should I Make?", comment below! <<