The majority of entrepreneurs go about things completely backwards. And this is exactly why most businesses - especially online ventures - flop miserably.
Consider this scenario:
You find a hot product. You're sure it's the best thing since sliced bread so you invest time, money, and soul into building a business around this super widget, and then you go out looking for people to sell it to.
The above is exactly what 95% of people would do when starting their online business. And the above is a perfect example of how to lose money, become frustrated, and completely fail to get your venture off the ground.
You should never find your product or service idea first and then look for your market. The market of real people who are looking for a very specific solution should always be your first priority.
It doesn't matter how great you think a product or service is. If nobody agrees with you the end result will be you sitting alone with your wonder product and not having a dollar to your name.
While that may be a tad dramatic the core premise is sound. You should never invest time, money, or energy into a business venture until you are completely certain there is a valid demand for the products and services you'll be selling.
Large corporations spend millions of dollars on market research for this very reason. They understand how important it is to verify demand before creating a supply.
Fortunately you don't have to spend a fortune on your research. You can find out quite a bit for free, or for a small investment.
Using online keyword research tools you can find out what Internet users are actually looking for with engines like Yahoo and Google. This incredible but simple technology will give you a staggering amount of data regarding what is being searched for and even in what quantity and time frames the searches are being performed.
And you can easily do quite a bit of informal research by just browsing a number of online marketplaces. You'll know what people are buying by the number of advertisements and offers being made for specific products and services.
As a general rule, businesses don't continue to offer things long-term unless they have proven to sell. So if you can find offers for products and services that have been in place for a long time you are on the trail!
And thanks to the Web 2.0 nature of many sites at this time, you can browse a good deal of customer feedback. The questions and comments left by surfers and buyers alike will help you zero in on what people are actively looking for and spending their money on.
Online forums and company blogs are also great research tools. Again you can find a lot of user input at these sites, which will indicate what real people are interested in from a consumer point of view.
A little research combined with a small amount of creativity and work can result in a business idea that is built on a solid foundation of real market demand. And this sort of operation will always outperform a venture based on a product concept alone.
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