Are you thinking of starting a business? Or maybe you’re thinking of creating a product or a service that you want to offer to the world, but you’re not quite sure whether or not it’s a profitable idea that you have in mind?
Well, today I’m going to deep dive for you and give you four strategies that I share with clients and use myself to be able to determine whether or not it’s worth investing money and time in an idea.
The first thing you need to be really clear about before you can even get into the four strategies is who you want to sell to.
Who is your target market? If you don’t have that nailed, you don’t even need to move forward. This is an important part in starting your online business.
Click play on the video to find out how to figure out if you have a profitable idea.
4 WAYS TO DETERMINE IF YOU HAVE A PROFITABLE BUSINESS IDEA
STRATEGY 1: AMAZON BOOKS
Head over to amazon.com. Yes, Amazon. You’re going to head over to specifically the books section on Amazon.
Take a look at the categories, and find the one that is most closely related to the niche that you have. Focus on the top-selling books.
What are people buying? What books are people buying around your niche?
You can even cheat a little bit, and take a look at the chapters inside that book. What are the chapters about? These are actually topics that can even help you when you get into the creation process for whatever it is that you want to sell.
STRATEGY 2: FACEBOOK GROUPS
The next thing that you can do to get even more clearer about what people want and whether or not it’s profitable is to listen in groups. Yes, Facebook groups are still around.
I know tons of people have closed Facebook groups down, but they’re still around. The wonderful thing about them is it’s free marketing research for you.
People gladly share in groups what they’re struggling with or what their desires are. You can even do polls. Make sure you find out from the group owner whether or not it’s okay to do polls or what you’re allowed to post, whether or not you can post polls, questions in the group.
But basically, people are in those groups to share and get support. This is a wonderful way for you to just listen to what people want.
STRATEGY 3: YAHOO ANSWERS
The third way that you can figure out whether or not you have a profitable idea is Yahoo Answers. People actually go on Yahoo Answers and ask questions about what they’re struggling with.
All you have to do, again, is be super clear on what your niche is and do a search in Yahoo Answers for questions around that particular topic. That way, people are actually asking in their words, and they’re being very specific.
It’s very easy for you to determine whether or not your idea is profitable but also to come up with an idea to be able to deep dive in a more selective way and decide whether or not you have something hot on your hands.
STRATEGY 4: BECOME A SPY
The last way I’m going to share with you today is for you to spy on the competition. Who is in your industry that is killing it? Who is making epic steps in your niche area?
Listen, we don’t always want to reinvent the wheel, and we don’t want to copy. But paying attention to what your competitors are doing, especially people who have already taken strides ahead of where you are, and looking at what kinds of products they’re producing, looking at what types of content they’re putting out.
Take a look at the blog posts they have. Sign up for their email list. That’s a really, really good way for you to be able to spy.
BONUS STRATEGY: ASK YOUR AUDIENCE
Ask your audience. If you are just starting out and you don’t necessarily have a huge audience, you can use other people’s groups or platforms to be able to leverage this.
But if you have some presence online in some social media form, ask people what they want. That’s a really easy way for you to figure out whether or not your idea is profitable. It’s real simple.
You can simply say something like, “Hey, guys. I’m thinking about creating something around this topic. Do you think you’d be interested?”
Or, “Hey, I have four ideas that I’m thinking about. Which one do you think you’d be interested in?”
Or lastly, if you have somewhat of an email list, you can simply send out an email and ask people, “Do you think that you’d be interested in whatever this is?”
All right, so those are just a couple of ways for you to determine if you have a profitable idea.
Do you have a tried and true way to test an idea? Share it with us below.
Saying you want to start your online business is the easy part. Deciding what kind on online business you want to create is where it gets tricky, especially if you don’t sell products.
I don’t know about you but I don’t have a crafty bone in my body, and I can guarantee if I tried to draw, paint, or make something crafty for profit I would starve.
If you can relate, keep on reading.
To make the process of starting an online business when you don’t sell products easier, I created a thirty day action guide to help you go from idea to income.
The guide will take you through the 30 steps you need to go from zero to launch in a month!
And yes, anyone can use the guide (even my crafty creatives) but, it is definitely more geared toward those of us who can’t just create a beautiful design and sell it on Etsy.
Want a step-by-step guide on how to start your online business?
When finally start your online business you will likely be a little stressed because there are so many moving parts and honestly, you may not always be sure what they all are, which are important or what to do first.
Come along, let me make it easier for you!
STEP ONE: GET CLEAR ON YOUR WHY!
Your why is your lighthouse. It’s the reason you have decided to go into business.
Your why is the fire that will keep you going when you feel like giving up.
Trust me, this has to be the foundation of creating your business.
MAKE IT COUNT: Write your why down on a sticky note and place it somewhere in front of you.
STEP TWO: DECIDE WHAT KIND OF BUSINESS YOU WANT
There are so many ways to make a living online. In order to get things started the right way you need to decide whether you want to be a blogger, a coach, a consultant, a service-based business owner, or become an infopreneur.
MAKE IT COUNT: Take a moment to consider what type of business you want and write it down.
STEP THREE: FOLLOW PEOPLE YOUR ADMIRE
This step is all about taking a look at your industry. Refer back to step two (above) when you decided what kind of business you wanted.
Is there another business/person you admire that does what you want to do?
MAKE IT COUNT: Find two to three people and see how their business is set up. Make notes about what you like about it.
STEP FOUR: WHAT IS YOUR SPECIAL SAUCE?
Now that you’ve decided what you want to do (see step two), your next step is to become super clear about how you can stand out doing it.
Choosing a specialty area will allow you to increase your earnings and building your business will become easier.
MAKE IT COUNT: Decide how you can focus on being super focused on one area. For instance, if you bake/sell cookies you can choose to specialize in gluten-free cookies. Or you may be a coach but your area of specialty is a new parent coach.
STEP FIVE: KNOW YOUR WHO
If you don’t nail this you will likely struggle to build a sustainable business. Who in the world will you create products for, provide services to, speak to or coach?
I can’t stress this enough. In fact, I recommend rethinking this twice a year.
The more you evolve and the more your business evolves, you may find that your “who” may change.
Be very specific when deciding this. Take a listen to more about this.
MAKE IT COUNT: Narrow down one specific customer you have in mind. Close your eyes and imagine what they look like, where they live, their income level, what they do for fun and what they’re biggest struggles are.
Write down the details about your one specific customer.
STEP SIX: FIND OUT IF PEOPLE WANT IT
Before you begin building a business that nobody cares about, you need to do some research to find out if people want what you’re offering.
The easiest way to do this is to listen to what people are saying in groups, forums and researching places online like Amazon to see what people are buying and reading.
MAKE IT COUNT: Do a search on Google for the types of questions people might type in when looking for the solution you have. Visit Amazon and check the top selling books and/or items in your chosen field.
Make note of whether or not the product/solution /service is one that is being purchased.
Erin Johnstone, CPA is a Profit First Professional, wife, mom and small business believer. After working in government, private and public accounting, she took the entrepreneurial leap back in 2012 and started her own accounting firm, Vivid Numbers. She is a conditional pet lover and an Okie at heart. She doesn’t take herself too seriously, revels in the details, loves to laugh and actually likes accounting and taxes.
On this episode Erin Johnstone, CPA shares important foundational tips for getting the numbers part of your business set up right. She also breaks down the difference between booked and banked money and so much more.
Thanks so much for joining me for this episode of the Spark and Profit Podcast.
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